Invest in Gloucestershire’s impressive performance set to continue as European funding ends

4 May 2023

Invest in Gloucestershire, the county’s leading inward investment programme, has recently completed a summative assessment which has identified the impressive value the project has generated for the county and local economy.

Partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the project supports international businesses looking to set up in Gloucestershire. It is a GFirst LEP driven initiative, run in collaboration with Gloucestershire County Council, the six local authorities and the Department for Business and Trade.

The ERDF funding finished at the end of March, and as part of the funding agreement a summative assessment report was commissioned by independent research consultants KADA Research. The extensive report assessed performance and impact for the county. Despite a number of external factors affecting the delivery of the project, including COVID and Brexit, the project has made a significant impact. KADA Research has estimated that the £1 million project has leveraged over £11 million of added value to the local economy.

The programme has focussed on attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Gloucestershire in four strategic sectors - agri-tech, cyber-tech, advanced engineering & manufacturing, and renewable energy - to drive economic growth. The motivation behind bidding for the ERDF funding and creating the project was to address the lack of FDI landing in Gloucestershire and the absence of a coherent offer to communicate on the global stage. Businesses did not have the information and UK Government did not have a dedicated single point of contact or proposition to promote Gloucestershire’s offer.

The proactive and versatile approach of the project team, reacting to the external challenges faced during the past four years, is reflected in the results of the report which highlighted a vibrant and coherent dialogue to the global audience and key stakeholders.

The team have focussed on building relationships with key partners, producing a suite of sector-specific collateral material and attending events in the UK and overseas. This has established a buoyant pipeline of enquiries from potential investors and led to ‘wins’ that has resulted in new job opportunities in the county.

The relationship with the Department for Business & Trade has flourished, with the project being awarded the UK’s only Cyber High Potential Opportunity and being chosen by the Department to host a delegation of 10 high growth Canadian cyber companies, along with Manchester and Belfast. The team has helped put Gloucestershire on the international map for investors, with the help of key partners in our cyber ecosystem such as Cynam.

In  addition, the Gloucestershire Agri-tech Partnership (GAPT) has been formed, further catapulting the county’s profile on the international stage.

As a result of the research, the report has outlined the following findings:

  1. Inward Investment is a key part of the local economic ecosystem.
  2. FDI is not a quick process and building partnerships and momentum is important.
  3. Flexibility is key. Expanding Invest in Gloucestershire’s remit can further enhance this.
  4. Proactive and co-ordinated activity is crucial to ongoing FDI success.
  5. Being targeted and focussed on strengths is needed to attract FDI.


As a result of the findings and the incredible impact the project is deemed to have had on the local economy financially, GFirst LEP have committed to the continuation of the Invest in Gloucestershire project. The team have a busy year ahead supporting the impressive pipeline already established and the existing investors recently landed into the county.

Dev Chakraborty, Deputy Chief Executive of GFirst LEP commented, “launching a brand-new inward investment programme 4 years ago with the uncertainty of Brexit followed by Covid made it hugely challenging, but I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved over that period. I look forward to further successes and announcements in the coming months”.

To read the full report download here

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GFirst LEP is Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership and is responsible for promoting economic growth, business and work opportunities, and infrastructure improvements around the county. To get the latest news from GFirst LEP and the Invest in Gloucestershire team, sign up for our newsletter.