£10m boost for innovation valley

Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has announced a £10 million investment to accelerate the pace of development at the government-backed EZ³ Enterprise Zone. EZ³, The London and South Innovation Valley, comprises three component sites totalling 40 hectares – Basing View, in Basingstoke, Longcross Park, near Chertsey and TechForest in Whitehill & Bordon.

Commenting on the EZ³ and what it means for the LEP area, Geoff French, CBE, Chair of Enterprise M3, said: “Achieving an enterprise zone status is a significant step forward for business growth in our area. With proximity to Heathrow, London and other key transport hubs, EZ³ will strengthen our capacity to attract more businesses, create jobs and build on our sectoral strength in digital and sustainable technologies.

“The £10 million investment will be used for on-site infrastructure, including new build property, business support, skills, and technology. We will also ensure that eligible businesses have access to the 5G Innovation Center across all three sites, where they can explore the commercial viability of 5G technology.”

Companies that locate in any of the three EZ³ sites before March 31, 2022 could be eligible for 100% business rates discount – up to £275,000 over a five-year period. The Enterprise Zone also offers a range other benefits to businesses, including:

  • High quality business support services across the Enterprise Zone
  • Excellent transport links to the city of London, Heathrow and Gatwick airports, Southampton Port, as well as the M3 and M25 motorways
  • Access to a highly skilled and talented workforce
  • Exciting potential for R&D collaboration with world class institutes – The Pirbright Institute, 5G Innovation Centre at University of Surrey, and The Institute for Cyber Security Innovation at Royal Holloway University of London
  • Support to help business access the Government R&D tax credit scheme
  • Access to global markets through Department for International Trade

The launch event was also used to highlight the significance of 5G technology to businesses. Keith Robson, Chief Operating Officer of 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, spoke about the world leading capabilities in 5G technology currently available to businesses within the Enterprise Zone, as well as the Government’s new initiative to deliver end-to-end 5G technology test network in collaboration with three academic institutions.

Robson said: “5G technology offers unprecedented possibilities that will change the way we live and do business. The opportunities are enormous and we are proud to be leading the world in bringing such opportunities to life for businesses within and beyond the Enterprise Zone.”

The successful bid for a multisite Enterprise Zone, was driven by Enterprise M3 LEP in close partnership with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, East Hampshire District Council, Runnymede Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Surrey County Council, Crest Nicholson, Aviva Investors and Homes and Communities Agency.

EZ³ Enterprise Zone will create more than 10,000 jobs, and attract over 130 new businesses to Enterprise M3 area. In addition, an estimated £115 million in revenues from business rates retention, generated over a 25 year period, will be retained and invested to drive growth in the local economy.