What is a local enterprise partnership?

| Thomas Sheils

A Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a partnership between local authorities and businesses that seek to foster enterprise and innovation in their local area in the UK. Sometimes, the areas LEPs represent correspond with counties, though some represent larger regions, such as the New Anglia LEP, and some focus on smaller regions that cross official borders, such as the Humber LEP.

How do they do this? Essentially, Local Enterprise Partnerships act as coordinators within their regions, and seek to get all parties who play a part in local enterprise in a position to work together effectively and efficiently.

In an LEP, that can include companies of any size and stage of evolution. At one end of the spectrum, there are large multinationals with operations in the area or who want to expand in the area, such as Nissan, who operate a large factory in Sunderland (part of the North East LEP).

At the other, there are startups who are key in bringing new products to market and disrupting old business models, and “scaleup” businesses, who are growing fast and have proven levels of revenue and employee count growth.

Other relevant parties could include universities, whose research labs are important sources of innovation and intellectual capital, and funders and corporate financiers, who help determine flows of investment into the local region.

Partnership with local governments is key to the LEP network, as they formulate policies and decisions which could have clear implications for local business. For example, if Nissan and the University of Newcastle wanted to establish a new manufacturing R&D park on the outskirts of the city, this would require close work with local authorities. The local LEP could help facilitate this.

The job of a Local Enterprise Partnership is to ensure that coordination between these parties is conducive to a thriving economy, that can compete on larger national and regional stages.

The Beauhurst platform can form an invaluable tool to LEPs, as it allows them to assess just how welcoming their region is to high-growth businesses, including startups, scaleups and university spinouts. Importantly, Beauhurst can also act like a much more UX-focussed and detailed version of Companies House, allowing LEPs to quickly review every company in the UK.

The platform makes it easy to review the levels of investment into these companies, and which funds and accelerators are particularly active in their locality. Users can search across a wide range of factors and agents relating to high-growth business ecosystems. 

A new update to the Beauhurst product now allows users to to search across LEPs themselves. If you would like to know more about this feature, then please do get in touch.

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