Wednesday, 29 December 2010 20:04

Concern voiced over impact of LEPs

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Concern voiced over impact of LEPs

MORE must be done to ensure Local Enterprise Partnerships have a positive impact, the government has been told.

The National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA) said events were "moving quickly" as new LEPs were established.

But it warned that much needed to be done to prevent a damaging vacuum forming following the demise of regional development agencies.

Local enterprise agencies had a huge role to play in promoting and fostering enterprise, which in turn could create jobs and growth.

But there was a danger that enterprise would be crowded out of the agenda.

People who should know better were already referring to LEPs as economic partnerships, rather than enterprise partnerships, claimed the NFEA.

The network's latest policy paper, Putting the E in LEPs, sets out how LEPs can – at a modest cost – have a hugely positive effect on local communities.

NFEA chairman Doug Scott said local enterprise agencies had a great deal of experience working with people in the process of starting a business.

"Time after time, we receive the same feedback from clients about what they value," he said.

This included independent advice that gave potential entrepreneurs the confidence that they were on the right track.

Impartial introductions to a network of trusted people in business – including customers, suppliers or professional advisers – were also highly valued.

"While there are many effective voices of business, we believe we can provide the only effective voice of enterprise," Mr Scott claimed.

Despite the rise of the Internet, people are seeking more face-to-face support, the policy paper says.

A comprehensive and flexible package of advice, training and support should be available to all who seek it, it adds.

To read the document in full, click here (pdf).

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