Solent Synergy

WP staff worked with Solent Synergy and project partners to prepare a major bid opportunity to SEEDA to help innovative and growing businesses.

Solent Synergy is a not-for-profit company, formed to boost the growth and success of innovative businesses in the Solent region. The company’s network includes entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, professional service providers and local universities.

A supporting role

When Solent Synergy heard that SEEDA (the South East England Development Agency) was accepting bids for a new model for sub-regional service delivery, it recognised this as an opportunity in line with its aims.

SEEDA wanted to set up a local delivery team, managed by a partnership of key stakeholders, including private and public sector support organisations. This partnership would oversee a team of high calibre experts who would deliver selective services to innovative businesses that showed huge potential.

The Board of Solent Synergy, backed by the region’s three main universities, saw this as an ideal opportunity to work more closely with various innovation support organisations. These include PUSH (Partnership for Urban South Hampshire); the Isle of Wight; and bodies such as the Enterprise Hubs and the Innovation Advisory Service.

However, a compelling tender was required to win the SEEDA proposal. Solent Synergy therefore contacted Wessex Partnerships (WP), a company recommended by several Board members. Mark Baker, Regional Development Manager, University of Portsmouth, says: “We were attracted to working with Wessex Partnerships based on their reputation and track record.” WP offers a range of specialist services, including project management and bid preparation.

A powerful proposal

WP provided a Bid Development Service in support of the Solent Synergy partnership. This developed ideas that could enhance SEEDA’s model. It also provided a Bid Writing Service to help with drafting the bid documents and the business plan. As WP is very experienced in helping organisations to bid for SEEDA projects, it understood the requirements for the funding application and the business plan.

The bid was for a three year contract, focusing on a small number of high growth companies. Robert Bentley, Managing Director of WP, says: “This was a powerful partnership bid that involved strong business leadership from local companies. Our proposal was based on compelling business principles and had an emphasis on engaging businesses and driving innovation, as well as developing new networks within Europe and the USA.
“One key aim was to identify and overcome barriers to local innovation and business growth. The new network will focus on ambitious and innovative businesses, providing the skills and knowledge they need to develop their products and services. Our tender involved building upon the existing infrastructure, network connections and goodwill. The proposed service will be easier to access and more business-focused and will provide the expertise needed to accelerate the success of the businesses.”

A successful bid

The bid (including funding of over £3 million) proved successful. The new Solent IGT has now been formed, with the aim of driving enterprise and innovation in South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight over the next three years.

Robert concludes: “It was a privilege to work with such high calibre organisations. We project managed the process and worked hard to develop a solution that matched their expertise. We were delighted with the outcome and the successful funding of the new IGT. This project tested our capabilities but we proved that we were more than equal to the task!”

Mark Baker agrees: “The WP team worked in a very professional manner and allowed us to focus on the areas of work that we were best at. Moreover, they took responsibility for leading on key sections and helped project manage the whole bid writing process. They were excellent on this complex project, exceeding our expectations.”

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