David Dexter gives us his perspective on how the LEP should support small businesses.

Local Enterprise Partnerships were implemented by national government for the purpose of improving the local business environment and development at regional level, and I was proud to be a signatory to the original application for a LEP for Lincolnshire.

For much of my career I have been involved with the Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses which make up more than 5,000 self employed people and small businesses in the region.

During my time as Deputy Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP I have advocated for the LEP in all its dealings and decisions to consider and support the vast numbers of self-employed and small business owners who operate within our regional boundaries. This can be challenging when most of the projects financially supported by the LEP are larger developments initiated by the county or district authorities or large companies in the area. However, the important influence is to ensure that the major contractors utilise local small businesses and labour to carry out such projects, as this means more work and greater prosperity locally.

I also led on a one-stop shop where all support and advice on loans and grants can be identified easily to benefit the small business community, and from this seed the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub has developed which does just that.

An estimated 80,000 self employed and small business owners operate in Greater Lincolnshire, and they employ up to another quarter of a million employees at least. That’s why it is essential for an organisation like the FSB to have its voice heard through the LEP, and I am pleased to have been able to make this possible through my membership of the LEP Board.

Nominated as the Small Business Champion for the LEP, I have been proud to serve alongside local authority officials and councillors as well as company directors. I found we all had the same aim in common of making the Greater Lincolnshire LEP successful and ensuring that Greater Lincolnshire is a growing commercial environment fit for the 21st century.

That aim is certainly shared by our Chair, Ursula Lidbetter OBE, who has proved to be a first-class leader for the board and who deserves much credit for the work she has done in establishing the LEP.

I wish continued success for the LEP board and the community it serves.

David Dexter retred as Deputy Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP in September 2019.