Somerset Chamber of Commerce has scooped £134,000 funding from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to help develop a programme of mentoring that will provide a further boost for Somerset businesses wishing to become involved in the Hinkley supply chain.
The award was announced on 30th January and is part of BIS’s competitive £1.27million Mentor Challenge Fund, which aims to demonstrate the benefits of sector specific mentoring support for micro-businesses and SMEs, and to promote sustainable, self-funding models.
The funding will enable a full mentor support supplier development programme to be set up around identified work package requirements for the proposed Hinkley Point C development. The aim is to encourage Somerset companies to collaborate and improve their capabilities as it is anticipated that, as a cluster of businesses, they have a better chance of offering the capacity and resilience required by EDF Energy and the Tier 1 contractors.
The mentor advisors will assist in developing collaboration models, improving standards, capability and competitiveness, and will make full use of existing government funded support mechanisms. They will be sourced from those registered on the Somerset Hinkley supply chain as well as from specialist mentors via partner networks and national/regional mentor networks. Over 400 mentor days are expected to be delivered as part of this programme between January 2014 and March 2015.
The proposed £16billion Hinkley Point C development is expected to provide a huge economic boost for the area. £100million per year is projected to be put into the regional economy in contracts and salaries during peak construction, with another £40million per year for the planned 60 year operation of the Hinkley Point C Project.
The Somerset Chamber of Commerce is working closely with EDF Energy and its Tier 1 contractors to identify contract opportunities. The Somerset Hinkley C Supply Chain Team, managed by the Somerset Chamber, is the first point of contact for local businesses and agencies wishing to engage in the construction of the proposed nuclear new build project. Businesses that have not yet registered on the Hinkley supply chain portal can sign up or find out more at www.hinkleysupplychain.co.uk