Solent Freeport launches

Solent Freeport and the Solent LEP’s long term economic strategy was launched at The Solent Summit this week.  Establishing a freeport in the Solent is a key component of the Solent 2050 long-term economic strategy.  It will unlock billions of pounds’ worth of investment, create around 32,000 jobs, 3,500 of these in Portsmouth and play a critical role in achieving national levelling up ambitions.

As part of Solent Freeport, the Portsmouth Gateway Cluster comprises of Portsmouth International Port and Portico which will become custom sites and Dunsbury Park which is a live tax site. These sites are owned by Portsmouth City Council.

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Pioneering plastic-eating enzyme centre opens to industry

The University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) has opened its new Industrial Engagement Hub (IEH).  This pioneering research centre is creating solutions to the global plastic pollution problem.  The IEH brings together researchers and businesses to develop enzyme-enabled technologies for the recycling and upcycling of plastic waste at industrial scale.

The CEI, which launched in 2019, was established following research by the Centre’s Director Professor John McGeehan which re-engineered a naturally occurring enzyme that was able to digest polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is the most common thermoplastic, used to make single-use drinks bottles, clothing and carpets and it takes hundreds of years to break down in the environment.

The plastic-eating PETase enzyme breaks down PET back into its building blocks, creating an opportunity to recycle plastic infinitely and reduce plastic pollution and the greenhouse gases driving climate change.

The IEH will provide the Centre with new state-of-the-art Polymer Analysis, Polymer Synthesis and Biorecycling laboratories, alongside an Innovation Space and expanded Postgraduate Suite.

Professor McGeehan said:

“These new facilities will help us to bridge the gap between our current fundamental research, and the creation of practical and scalable enzyme-enabled technologies for recycling and upcycling plastic waste. In short, these facilities allow us to break, make, break and remake plastics over and over again so that we can develop true industrial recycling processes and partnerships.

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Regenerate South Conference comes to Portsmouth

Business South is holding its annual Regenerate South Conference on 16 June 2022 at Portsmouth’s Lakeside North Harbour.  This popular annual event, which is being held for the seventh time, brings together a host of investors, major developers, political representatives, and sector experts.

The Regenerate South Conference draws together stakeholders and investors from around the region to champion innovation, share success stories, and drive investment.

It follows the successful promotion of the Central South brand at MIPIM, the world’s largest property event. The business-led consortium drawn together by Business South under its Regenerate South Action Group, successfully launched the Central South branding on a global stage – and delegates will hear latest updates from the major event.

Tim Hancock, Chair of the Regenerate South Action Group, said

“Regenerate South brings together a host of regional experts and influencers under one roof, making it an opportunity not to be missed.  We are one of the most significant and successful economic regions in Britain and we firmly believe there is a great deal to gain from businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships, politicians, and investors working together to drive the area forward.”

16 June 9am – 2pm at Lakeside


Cash injection for SME business growth projects

Solent and Portsmouth based businesses can get a share of £700,000 grant funding from GetSet Solent to support business growth.  Eligible projects with costs between £4,000 up to £100,000 can access 25% grant funding.

The GetSet Solent Growth Grant is for businesses planning a step change in its operations, production, or engagement with customers. The money can be used to fund capital costs such as new machinery, equipment and other assets not funded through asset finance. The grant can also be applied to revenue investment, which includes activities like marketing consultancy, branding and website development, new performance improvement systems such as Client Relationship Management system and developing an app. All helping to increase your business turnover and create new job opportunities.

This funding is available for applications until 31 July 2022

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FREE Crowdfund 1-2-1’s to fund your next project

An “open morning” has been set up for any business or community organisation interested in learning about crowdfunding on 28 June at Portsmouth Enterprise Centre.

Portsmouth City Council and Shaping Portsmouth have teamed up with Crowdfunder to help make great ideas happen through a combination of match funding, expert crowdfunding coaching and events.

There are currently two funds available with match funding of up to £5000. They are

  • Portsmouth Small Business Fund – aimed at business start-ups and existing SMEs looking to grow
  • Portsmouth CIL Transformation Fund – which supports community projects that will benefit our wider communities in Portsmouth

All businesses and community organisations are invited to find out more about the schemes being run by Crowdfund Portsmouth.

28 June Portsmouth Enterprise Centre


Apply for Central South Business Awards

Business South, in association with Platinum Media Group are hosting the inaugural Central South Business Awards. These Awards will celebrate the remarkable businesses and their employees of the Central South region which includes Portsmouth.

Businesses can submit entries in to up to three categories for FREE. The fifteen award categories range from Company of the Year, SME Business of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year to Business Growth Award.   The awards will be presented at a special event on 28 September at the Hilton Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Whether a business is a winner, finalist or simply nominated, being part of the event can add credibility to companies, raise their profile through valuable media coverage, inspire staff and provide an exclusive networking opportunity.

Application deadline is 15 June

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Skills Support for the Workforce

The Skills Support for the Workforce programme (SSW) helps support small and medium businesses in Solent to upskill their employees with training courses and qualifications to help their business grow and boost the local economy.

Recent changes now means that bespoke training programmes can be devised with employers and as the SSW programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), a wide range of training can be accessed at no cost, subject to eligibility.  Training courses can cover range from  IT and Digital Skills, Leadership and Management, Construction to Hospitality and Health and Social care.

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