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FSB’s Clive Soper appointed to South East LEP Strategic Board

As part of the recent Local Enterprise Partnership review, Clive Soper (pictured left, in Newhaven) has been appointed as one of three business representatives in East Sussex to the South East LEP (SELEP) Strategic Board.

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Clive is the FSB’s South East Policy representative and joins with SELEP Vice-Chair, Graham Peters (pictured, right) and Sussex Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Ana Christie, as the trio of ‘Team East Sussex’ business representatives.

“I have contributed to SELEP’s work over a number of years via membership of Team East Sussex and I am pleased the group nominated me for this role. It reflects the trust and esteem with which FSB are held in East Sussex.” said Clive.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership is one of many ‘LEPs’ around the country that is charged with the task to grow regional and local economies through the public (civic) and private (business) sectors working together.

SELEP is indeed the largest LEP in the country by geography, combining the economic power of Essex, Kent and East Sussex. It has a GDP equivalent to that of Belgium.

“Whilst I represent the interests of East Sussex, through the FSB volunteer and staff network, I can tap into the interests of smaller businesses across the SELEP region.” added Clive.  

SELEP draws down £millions of Government funds for projects to support economic growth in the region including transport schemes such as the duelling of the A21 in Kent, new business premises such as Pacific House in Eastbourne and skills for business, with a £37 million capital programme and a growing Careers Enterprise Network linking education and industry.

SELEP lobbies for business and consults with business on major issues such as the new Lower Thames Crossing route. Clive is particularly involved in developing a sustainable energy strategy for the region – one of the Grand Challenges of the Government’s Industrial strategy. ”Our traditional energy infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose and new technologies to transform it are emerging at pace.

The purpose of a regional energy strategy is to help identify what alternative technologies can be deployed locally that will reduce carbon emissions in a cost effective way.” Clive explained.  

#HaveyourSay now on the Lower Thames Crossing consultation, which is open to 20 December. On wider economic issues for small businesses in the south east, Clive is always keen to hear your views. Please e-mail Sussex Development Manager, Martin Searle, in the first instance.