GFirst LEP is Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership whose mission it is to drive sustainable economic growth throughout the county

Promotional Business Feature. Pictured: Dr Diane Savory OBE, Chair, GFirst LEP
Diane-Savory-2019 – GFirst

Creating jobs and business opportunities for thousands of people, GFirst LEP has been tasked by Government to produce a Local Industrial Strategy for the county. We will be launching our draft Local Industrial Strategy at our Annual Review event on Thursday 19th September.

The emerging strategy revolves around rich intelligence on our economic strengths and the local capabilities of Gloucestershire’s employers, and highlights the parts of our economy that stand to make the greatest contribution to productivity as we reach 2030.

Our emerging Local Industrial Strategy draws on significant stakeholder engagement and input as well as guidance from government and learning from other LEPs. Our ‘call for evidence’ delivered nearly 300 responses from public, private and third sector partners detailing adopted and emerging strategies and responses to the questions we posed around ways to deliver greater productivity in the county.

We have also carried out extensive face-to-face engagement with councils, regional and sub-regional partners, businesses and our youth population. Engagement with over 5,000 young people (aged 14 – 25) has helped to set the ambition to be a ‘Magnet County’, concentrating on the physical and economic parts of Gloucestershire that matter most to future generations.

But that is not the end of the process. We are seeking your views once again to ensure that we have captured the essence of this place, its businesses, residents and workforce – all of whom will be central to its success. We must continue to remove the barriers to generating greater productivity and convene the necessary conversations between stakeholders to drive action. These stakeholders include our anchor institutions such as local government and the wider public and third sector, academia, research facilities, businesses and the community. Our strategy will also drive a dialogue with government to support investment in Gloucestershire and ensure that local organisations are empowered to drive the change that is needed to respond to the economic challenges and opportunities facing the area.

GFirst LEP is seeking views on this document to ensure the future direction of its business population, residents and communities is one that delivers inclusive growth and prosperity. If you would like to respond to this consultation, please submit your comments to

Our Annual Review event is on: Thursday 19th September – 2.30pm to 4.30pm The School of Business & Technology Oxstalls Campus, Gloucester GL2 9HW.

Dr Diane Savory OBE, Chair: Diane is the Chair of GFirst LEP and represents Gloucestershire as part of the Future High Streets Forum. Diane was awarded an OBE in recognition of her work with GFirst LEP and her contribution to business in 2013. With a passion for fashion, Diane rapidly progressed through the Superdry ranks to become its Chief Operating Officer, transforming the company from a small, local enterprise to the now-distinctive global fashion retailer that is Superdry.

David Owen, Chief Executive: David is Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, one of the most successful Local Enterprise Partnerships in the country. He is also a Trustee of The Summerfield Charitable Trust, on the Investment Panel for the digital services company JISC and a NonExec Director of the training and business development company, Gloucestershire Enterprise Ltd. GFirst LEP was established in 2011 to develop and support the economic well-being of Gloucestershire. David has been Chief Executive since its inception and continues to be a driving force in the economic development of an overall strategy plan for Gloucestershire.

Dev Chakraborty, Deputy Chief Executive: Dev manages a number of the teams within GFirst LEP – Business Groups, Marketing, Infrastructure Projects and the Local Industrial Strategy. So an average day can involve; chairing the LEP’s Cyber Business Group, drafting a press release, representing the LEP at strategic meetings with local authority partners or deputising for David.

Elizabeth Weaver, Business Group Manager: Elizabeth looks after our business groups, which represent over 120 companies and thousands of employees in Gloucestershire, ensuring that the business community is always heard, striving forward and delivering for the county with one voice.

Rob Jenkins, Head of Education and Skills: Rob is leading the Education and Skills Team in engaging and connecting schools and colleges with business and industry across Gloucestershire. The Education and Skills Team are seeking out new opportunities and funding streams to meet future skills needs for the county and ensuring that the business voice is heard clearly in the education and employment sectors.

Sarah Danson, Director of Strategic Growth: Sarah is working to build the capacity and capability of our Gloucestershire Growth Hub Network and business support activity within the county; she is also responsible for the newly created GFirst LEP Mentoring Services Programme and the Inward Investment Team.

Katie Jenkins, Director of Local Industrial Strategy: Katie is leading the development of the Local Industrial Strategy for Gloucestershire; the paper will become a blue print for the county when the next phase of Government funding is announced.

Chris Lau, Head of Inward Investment: Chris heads up the newly formed Inward Investment team for the county. The role of the Inward Investment team is to support both existing and new, foreign direct investment into the county by promoting the offer of Gloucestershire as a great place to set up an international business.

Jessica Gray, Marketing Manager: Jessica looks after all online and offline marketing activity for GFirst LEP, she is the custodian of the brand. The LEP website, social media, press releases and events all fall under Jess’s responsibility.

For more information on GFirst LEP please visit