by Ian Girling, chief executive, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry

THE Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) recently announced that I have been appointed to the LEP board, representing Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and providing a voice for business on the board. The Dorset LEP is one of 38 across the UK and are essentially private sector led partnerships between businesses, local authorities and other key stakeholders to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation in the local area.

One of the roles of LEPs is to bid for government funding and through this Dorset LEP has been successful in bidding for funding for a range of key projects to support economic growth in Dorset including new facilities for Bournemouth and Poole College for engineering and advanced manufacturing students and a whole range of road improvements schemes (including the new A338, Bournemouth Airport and business park and the Port of Poole) to improve access and unlock employment land across Dorset. The work of the LEP is essential in providing an environment where our businesses across the whole of the county can prosper and thrive.

It's essential there is a voice for business on the board. I'm very much looking forward to making a positive contribution and providing feedback on the key issues that impact on businesses, both large and small, in Dorset. I will also be able to provide a platform whereby the LEP can communicate its objectives to the business community and generally help develop the dialogue between the LEP and businesses. It's also worth emphasising that whilst I am representing Dorset Chamber on the LEP board, I will be actively seeking to feedback on issues facing all businesses, not just Dorset Chamber members.

One other important step forward has been the development of the Dorset Business Alliance, a ground-breaking partnership between Dorset Chamber, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses. We held our inaugural meeting last week with the Dorset LEP and it was immediately apparent this is going to be an extremely valuable alliance. It was also clear that the Dorset Business Alliance will prove incredibly useful in terms of sharing issues and concerns between the three leading business membership organisations in Dorset. There is no doubt great progress has been made in developing links between the LEP and the Dorset business community and I very much look forward to contributing to this.