Plans for a ground-breaking research and development-led Enterprise Zone (EZ) were submitted to Government by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) on Friday (18th September).

If successful, the new science and hi-tech manufacturing-themed EZ could bring nearly 25,000 new jobs and £180million over the next twenty-five years.

The proposal surrounds Leicestershire’s already excellent reputation in research, innovation and product development, brought about particularly through the three first-rate universities (Loughborough, Leicester and DeMontfort).

The pioneering idea behind the Enterprise Zone is that it will capitalise on the huge commercial market that lies between research and the commercial world, by creating an ‘area of excellence’ that would support new and growing businesses to bring their innovative ideas and products to market.

Development of such a ground-breaking Enterprise Zone would make Leicestershire extremely attractive to science, innovation and hi-tech manufacturing companies looking for research facilities and industrial and office space to base and expand their business.

Corin Crane, LLEP director said “Leicestershire sits at the very heart of the country and we are a key component in the Midlands Engine of Growth, which is a powerful partnership between business, LEPs and Local Authorities across the Midlands.

“However, we don’t just make things here – we are at the cutting edge of innovative research, design and the manufacture of goods and services that impact businesses and people across the globe and we are determined to build on these fantastic opportunities.

“We will deliver this Enterprise Zone through a unique partnership that will drive innovation and productivity through the development of new and existing business with the potential to grow in some of the UKs most important sectors.

“We have already seen this model working brilliantly at MIRA Technology Park in the automotive sector and we wholeheartedly believe we can replicate this in the science, innovation and hi-tech manufacturing sectors.

“A successful bid would certainly cement Leicestershire’s role as the R&D capital of the midlands and enable it to capitalise on its role in designing the economy of the future.”

The proposal for the new EZ - stretching from Loughborough down to Leicester City Centre has been developed in conjunction with Loughborough University, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Charnwood Borough Council and Charnwood Campus (the former Astra Zeneca site in Loughborough).

The 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships across the country were asked to submit their proposals today. The Government will now assess the applications and an outcome is at the end of November.

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