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Cumbria LEP Tender Specification for the Provision of Innovation Business Support


Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) is seeking to appoint an organisation or organisations to deliver intensive innovation business support and advice to businesses within Westmorland and Furness, for the remainder of the 2023/24 financial year and through to early 2025.

CLEP’s Programmes Team will co-ordinate the delivery of locally-funded business support activity in Westmorland and Furness, ensuring that this meets the needs of our businesses and supports their growth. The focus of business advice will be on supporting businesses to develop their innovative ideas. In delivering advisory sessions focused on innovation support the appointed organisation(s) will also be required to consider key themes and priorities as identified by CLEP and Government, which will include but is not limited to investment, skills, Net Zero and international trade.

In delivering support, CLEP would like to secure an organisation or range of delivery organisations that bring a strong track record in supporting innovation development, to ensure that businesses can convert ideas into income-generating products or services. CLEP is open to applications from sole traders with expertise in delivering innovation support services.

30 businesses from Westmorland and Furness will be supported through this programme with each receiving the equivalent of 4 days of support to progress their innovation activity.

The contract will operate on the basis of pricing per business supported, with the appointed organisation(s) or individuals being paid a unit price for the delivery of the contract. Payment will only be made for the number of Assists provided to businesses and subject to the provision of valid and completed paperwork. In advance of commencing the support, the appointed organisations will need to secure agreement from CLEP to ensure that the businesses are not already receiving support elsewhere.

CLEP will promote the opportunities through its extensive database but appointed organisations will need to be committed to sourcing participants.

Key to the successful delivery of this support will be the achievement of programme outcomes, specifically improving productivity levels of participating businesses as well as safeguarding jobs.

CLEP is committed to supporting businesses on a growth trajectory and with ambition to improve turnover and profitability. As such delivery partners will be expected to contribute to the full range of programme outcomes as listed below:

  • Jobs safeguarded
  • Businesses with improved productivity
  • Businesses with new to the firm technology or process
  • Businesses engaged in new markets

CLEP will administer a grant programme linked to this provision which participants will be eligible to apply for to support their innovation.

Please include an overview of how you would deliver this support within your application, including the volumes you can commit to deliver with minimum and maximum numbers indicated.

You will also need to include details of your approach to monitor and confirm outcomes with participating businesses.

The contract will run from the date of appointment until 31 January 2025, subject to the satisfaction of the parties. Any work beyond this date would be subject to a further competitive tender.

Appointed organisations will need to provide all necessary paperwork in line with contractual requirements.

Experience Required:

The successfully appointed organisation(s) or individuals will be required to have experience and expertise in:

  • Advice and Support – to businesses, with recognised expertise in innovation support and advice.
  • Strong communication skills – verbally, presentationally and in writing and confident in dealing with a range of audiences
  • Analytical skills – to rapidly assess the needs of businesses and provide advice in relation to these
  • Outcome Focus – to deliver high-quality outcomes to time and in line with work programme requirements
  • Ability to absorb large amounts of information – in order to provide the necessary advice to businesses
  • Excellent planning, organisational and project management skills – to ensure that all activity is managed and effectively recorded.
  • Well-developed IT skills – including an understanding of management information systems, diary management, e-mail and CRM databases
  • Understanding of Cumbria’s economy and business base – to ensure that the support provided is fully informed by the operating environment.
  • The ability to source participants – to ensure that the programme achieves its targets.

Recruitment and Project Management:

CLEP will promote the programme to businesses within its own wider networks in Cumbria. Delivery partners are also required to promote the programme through their own networks and encourage take up of the offer of support.

Participants will receive triage through CLEP’s Programmes Team and then be signposted to the appropriate delivery partner for support; or if recruited directly the delivery partner will need to contact CLEP’s Programme team to confirm the eligibility of the business to receive support and to log the business details with CLEP. A check will be made by CLEP to ensure that business is not already engaged with this programme of support.

A final customer satisfaction review will be conducted by CLEP at the end of each engagement as well as an opportunity to signpost to additional support that may be available to each business. All activity will be logged on a CLEP managed CRM system and delivery partners must provide all details in relation to this.

Submission Date:

Tender responses should be submitted by 11.59pm on Friday, 20 October 2023.


The LEP:

The Cumbria LEP (CLEP) is the government-endorsed body with the strategic responsibility for economic growth and productivity in Cumbria. It has responsibility for delivering on the roles and responsibilities outlined within government’s “Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships” report namely taking lead responsibility for strategy; allocation of funds; co-ordination and advocacy in relation to economic growth, prosperity and productivity.

About Cumbria:

The CLEP geography is co-terminous with the boundary of Cumbria. It is a strategically important geography, with assets that are of consequence to the nation. Our economy generates £12 billion and we are home to 500,000 people. Across England’s LEP areas we stand out in terms of our large geographical size (at 6,800 sq. miles we are the 8th largest LEP area) combined with a relatively low population (at around 500,000 the third smallest LEP area population). This means that Cumbria has by far the lowest population density and economic output density (GVA per hectare) of any LEP area. Cumbria therefore faces particular challenges from the degree to which our businesses are spread out over a large area in terms of delivery of services, linkages between businesses and travel to work and learn distances.

Cumbria’s economy is:

  • one of the most concentrated areas of manufacturing in the UK: 23% of our GVA and 16% of our employment comes from manufacturing placing us 3rd and 1st in LEP rankings. We are home to world class manufacturing firms that export globally and are at the forefront of innovation.
  • a major player in the UK’s energy sector: a world recognised centre for nuclear expertise, especially in de-commissioning technologies and innovation; in integration development of defence nuclear power transmission in submarines; is home to over 16% of the UK’s windfarm generation capacity, which as at the leading edge of energy generation improvements and home to a strong cluster of firms in the offshore sub-sea sector; a centre for the oil and gas sector; and a location of opportunities and expertise in several other forms of energy.
  • globally recognised for its beauty and natural capital – with over 45 million visits each year and home to the world-renowned Lake District, the country’s most visited National Park with the greatest level of tourism activity and now a World Heritage Site. The Lake District along with parts of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty mean that we have the most extensive coverage of protected landscapes in England.
  • a market-leader in the practical application of natural capital to the sustainable management of land and agriculture, building on the opportunities from World Heritage Status for the Lake District and a centre for innovative value-added production from land-based industries.


The following information is required from tendering organisations:

A. Experience

Details of the skills and experience of the team member(s) providing advisory support:

  • Evidence of experience in delivering this service for other organisations;
  • A CV containing a synopsis of their skills and experience relevant to providing the service; (maximum three sides A4);
  • The names and organisations of two referees for whom similar activity has been conducted.

B. Approach

Details of the proposed approach for successfully delivering the advisory activity, including the approach to lead generation to identify suitable clients. This should include the volume of sessions that the organisation wishes to deliver, together with a profile for the delivery of these for the period up until 31 January 2025. The profile should not be backloaded.

C. Price

The expectation is that the payment for this service will be £2,900 inc VAT per business supported. Payments to appointed contractors will be made monthly, in arrears.

D. Duration

The Contract will be until 31 January 2025. Any work beyond this date would be subject to a further competitive tender.

E. Submission Deadline

Applications are to be submitted by 11.59pm Friday 20 October 2023. Please send applications to Paul Foster, Head of Programmes at


CLEP will undertake to select the organisation(s) whose tender most appropriately matches the desired outcomes listed in the brief, in terms of capability, experience and approach.

The assessment of this submission will be based on quality, with and the following evaluation table used to score submissions.

CRITERIA SCORE (1-10) WEIGHTING TOTAL (score x weighting)
Quality – Experience   50  
Quality – Approach   50  
TOTAL     Max score 1000

The highest scoring submission will be the one securing the highest total score against all criteria.

The evidence matrix below will be used to ensure a consistent approach when awarding a score of 0 to 10 against each of the criteria. A score of 2 (weak) or below in any category will automatically disqualify that submission.

Scores Assessment Interpretation
10 Excellent The approach has been tailored specifically to suit the contract objectives and the requirements of the specification, uses innovative approaches to deal comprehensively with the main management and service risks, and is likely to maximise performance and deliver continuous improvement.
8 Good The approach demonstrates a good understanding of the contract’s objectives and the requirements of the specification. It deals fully with the main management and service risks and provides for delivering continuous improvement over the life of the contract.
5 Acceptable The approach demonstrates an adequate understanding of the contract’s objectives and the requirements of the specification. It covers the main management and service risks to an acceptable standard.
2 Weak The approach meets the specification but fails to demonstrate an adequate understanding of the requirements of the specification.
0 Fail The approach does not meet the requirements of the specification.

CLEP reserves the right to cancel the tender process at any point. CLEP is not liable for any costs resulting from any cancellation of this tender process or for any other costs incurred by those tendering for this contract.

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