THE body charged with driving the Solent’s economic success wants business leaders from all backgrounds to step forward to join its board.

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership is urging people from businesses large and small to apply to be directors ahead of the May 17 deadline.

Its chair, Rachael Randall, said: “What we’re looking for is business leaders in our Solent region who will come and join that board and give their expertise. And of course we would also like to encourage people with specialist knowledge. We’d like people from ethnic backgrounds in particular because we need to be a diverse board to give a realistic view of what’s going on in our region so we can help everyone.”

The LEP’s previous achievements have included bringing together the organisations which became partners in the Solent Freeport project and the planned £13million Maritime Engineering and Digital Institute of Technology at Solent University.

“In the government’s Levelling Up white paper, lots of good practice from the Solent LEP has been highlighted,” Ms Randall said.

“We really want to grow the economics of our area and those business leaders, wherever they come from, are very welcome, particularly people from backgrounds who wouldn’t normally get involved with a board like this and also younger people.

“We’ve often talked of having someone who is in the younger age group who could give that opinion as well.

“Our board has got to reflect the people in the Solent region”

Business leaders have until the end of Tuesday, May 17 to apply – and those from businesses which are not already LEP members can apply for membership at the same time.

All eligible candidates are put forward for a vote by the LEP membership.

Directors serve nine years on the board before they must retire. They are expected to attend meetings online and in person and join sub-committees in specialised areas such as skills, or finance and funding. Ms Randall said the benefits included the chance to acquire new skills and board training from the Institute of Directors.

“It’s about learning those life skills, for me”, she said.

“And when you ruin your own business, it’s actually nice to look out strategically over your region as a whole rather than looking individually.”

Details are at and anyone wanting to talk through their application first can ring 02392 688924.