Greater Brighton leaders are working hard to ensure the region’s economy bounces back from the second coronavirus lockdown.
Organisations across the City Region are mobilising to provide crucial investment, career training, and business grants to stimulate recovery across the region.
This comes months after representatives agreed a COVID bounceback plan to lead the area’s recovery, which outlined how it could support key sectors, such as advanced tech, digital gaming and independent food retailers, to grow post-pandemic.
Cllr Daniel Humphreys, Chairman of Greater Brighton, pictured right, said: “Many businesses in the region are understandably nervous as we enter a second national lockdown. While there remain challenges, it’s clear that a number of our key sectors are proving resilient and businesses are adapting to the upheaval caused by this global pandemic.
“Rest assured Greater Brighton leaders are doing everything they can to present a united voice to obtain Government investment, support our inspiring entrepreneurs and ensure our region bounces back from this uncertain time.”
One key area council and business leaders are focusing on is funding for crucial digital infrastructure to help businesses innovate.
Brighton & Hove City Council and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), both members of the Greater Brighton City Region, are working with innovation hub Digital Catapult to create a £1.6 million Research and Innovation Fibre Ring of superfast internet accessible to hundreds of businesses in the city centre.
Meanwhile Coast to Capital and fellow City Region member Mid Sussex District Council are busy building their own £3.2 million Full Fibre network in Burgess Hill, supporting residents and businesses to benefit from ultrafast gigabit internet speeds.
On the coast, City Region members Adur & Worthing Councils are embarking on a similar project with CityFibre investing £25 million in ultrafast gigabit broadband in the area. THis is also supported by the LEP.
City Region leaders are also prioritising skills training to help Greater Brighton residents get the opportunities they need to succeed in the wake of the pandemic.
Coast to Capital has contributed £831,000 to Plumpton College for its plans to create an Advanced Skills Centre in Brighton’s Stanmer Park for horticulture and woodland and tree management. The centre will help students develop advanced skills in horticulture, a vital industry in rural Greater Brighton.
The University of Brighton has partnered with Plus X to deliver a growth and innovation programme (BRITE), pictured above, to support businesses located in Sussex and the wider south east region.
It will bring £10.5 million worth of support to more than a hundred small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to scale, accessing business growth expertise and world-class product development facilities
Looking ahead, the University of Sussex and University of Brighton, both City Region members, have committed to running fully-funded six-week internships at SMEs for graduates as part of its Step-Up training programme in summer 2021.
Councils across Greater Brighton are also stepping up to provide more than £38 million in grants for businesses affected by the second national lockdown, thanks to new Government grants.
A total of £18,145,170 will be distributed across the City Region as part of the Local Restrictions Support Grant for businesses which have been ordered to close.
Another £19,864,260 will be available through the Additional Restrictions Grant for businesses who remain open but need financial support to stay afloat. Details on how to access these will be available from local councils.
The Greater Brighton Economic Board will also continue to present a united voice to get funding for shovel-ready projects in the City Region, including those laid out in the GB10 pledges on the environment.