The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills made the announcement at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory on the UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus.
The first ever Local Growth Deal with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership amounting to £86.2m of new Government money will accelerate economic growth and create 5,000 new jobs.
It is anticipated that this will unlock an additional £185m of investment from private sector and local delivery partners, creating an investment package totalling £400m for the West of England LEP area.
Professor Steve West said: “We are honoured and delighted that the Secretary of State has chosen to come to the Bristol Robotics Lab at UWE Bristol to make this important announcement. Last week we were thrilled to be named one of four University Enterprise Zones (https://info.uwe.ac.uk/news/uwenews/news.aspx?id=2873) which forms a significant part of this huge investment that will underpin crucial development in our region.
“The West of England is increasingly being seen as a leader in a number of sectors, such as high tech, creative and digital innovation. The Local Growth Deal recognises these strengths and provides the means to deliver a number of key projects that will secure our place at the forefront of these sectors. Having the right skills in our workforce is also key to the area’s success, therefore the funding to ensure we can provide the right skills for our industry is vital. This deal will complement the £4m just announced for the University Enterprise Zone.”
Vince Cable spent time with students on the innovative new Team Entrepreneurship course, toured the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and met with robotics and technology researchers in the BRL Technology Incubator.
Vince Cable said: “The Growth Deal will see £213m being invested in projects including the Bristol Robotics Institute of Technology, which is already the foremost centre for robotics research in the UK. The deal will also help attract additional private sector funding into Bath, South Gloucester and North Somerset, and is expected to create almost 5,000 jobs in the area.
“The West of England LEP was clear that it wanted to build on its position as a world leader in the robotics field, and they should rightly feel very proud of the Growth Deal it has secured.”