Business Growth and Investment Director

  • Title: Business Growth and Investment Director
  • Reports to: Chief Executive Officer
  • Working arrangement: Office based hot–desk/touch down worker
  • Term: Permanent post 6 month probation
  • Salary range: £67,500 to £72,500

Primary purpose of the role

The Business Growth and Investment Director is accountable to the Freeport CEO and Freeport board for the success of the PASD Freeport Trade & Investment and the Innovation Hotbed strategy.

This is a strategic leadership post with the post holder being responsible for leading the Freeport Board’s inward investment, innovation and business development activities as set out in the business case, working closely with the private sector and local authority inward investment teams.

They will need knowledge of the target sectors (marine, defence and space sectors) to form strong strategic international, national and local partnerships to deliver a coherent Freeport support ecosystem. Ensure that prospective new Freeport tenants are sold on all the benefits of investing in the Freeport, are supported at every stage as they move through the investment pipeline including deal closures with landowners and their agents and the provision of business and innovation support.

The Business Growth and Investment Director will work closely with the Freeport Programme Manager to design and deliver a Freeport Innovation Centre and will be responsible for commissioning and the delivery of an Innovation Service and manifesting a vibrant hotbed of innovation with key regional clusters.

The Business Growth and Investment Director will support the Operations Manager and Programme Manager by contributing to the development of the Freeport Annual Delivery Plan and may deputise for the CEO as may be required.

    Key accountabilities and key measures

    Role Outcomes Role Measures
    • Plymouth and South Devon (PASD) Freeport has a strong brand that generates strong interest and new trade opportunities in key international markets in our target sectors which are advanced manufacturing and engineering with a particular focus on marine, defence and space including low carbon applications.
    • Proactive brokering of UK and international businesses ensures that overseas investment provides opportunities for supply chain growth in Plymouth and South Devon and the wider regional economy.
    • Our PASD Freeport prospectus and integrated inward investment enquiry service ensure an adequate pipeline of suitable new tenant businesses.
    • Our innovation offer harnesses the innovation potential of our sector specialisms to form the heart of our Innovation Hotbed.
    • Dedicated funding is secured to progress crucial aspects of our Innovation Hotbed for advanced manufacturing and key sub-sector capability in marine autonomy, clean propulsion and digital ocean solutions. Stretch outcome for similar funding for new Space cluster.
    • Our stakeholder engagement plan is implemented and supports strong partnerships with private sector, Freeport Network, Regional MPs and key Government departments.
    • Support the CEO and Chair to ensure the PASD Freeport is represented on the FREN and FIN and innovation and business development best practice and learning is applied to the development of the PASD Freeport.
    • Marketing content builds on the success of our existing advanced manufacturing and innovation clusters to demonstrate the benefits and strengths of clustering opportunities, supply chain agglomeration and sub-sector specialism.
    • To proactively work across the private sector and Local Authority partners to ensure a seamless and well managed process for business enquiries.
    • To develop new income streams for the Freeport and to ensure its financial sustainability.
    • Evidence of national and global marketing reach to attract investment and stimulate exporting.
    • Business growth on our tax and customs sites secures a measurable increase in investment, compliant with our gateway policy (domestic and FDI) so that investment targets are met or exceeded.
    • Investment and business activity match gateway policy and strategic focus on Marine, Defence and Space and Advanced Manufacturing / Engineering sectors.
    • Interest in our tax and customs sites is well matched to the pace of site development so that development opportunities are taken up swiftly and tax and customs levers fully exploited.
    • Our Innovation Offer stimulates interest from innovative companies that align with our target sectors, particularly at Technology Readiness Levels 5/6 and above.
    • Funds are secured from BEIS and IRUK and matched with private R&D investment to enable delivery of the priorities set out in our Innovation Strategy.
    • A suitable stakeholder communications and engagement mechanism/system is in place.
    • Well organised senior Government official visits to Freeport and businesses that appropriately involve key partners.
    • Collaborate with other areas, both within the UK and overseas to create ‘technology bridges’ for mutual advantage.
    • Evidence of regulatory flexibilities that support innovative businesses can be identified and shared.
    • A register of regulatory issues to solve and RAG rated in terms of resolution.
    • Increase in R&D spend and evidence of significant private sector investment.
    • Strong evidence of Business/Academic collaboration specifically Levering the University of Plymouth’s Cyber-SHIP Lab and the partnerships with Border Force, National Office of Counter Terrorism to ensure that new thinking is developed that safeguards the risk of smuggling.
    • Supporting to create Smart Port solutions and pilot these in the Port of Plymouth within a Smart Port Lab.
    • Facilitating Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, industrial PhDs and large-scale Joint Industry Programmes and industry consortia.
    • Contribution to net zero research and innovation agendas.
    • A clear and agreed process for managing investment enquiries across the 3 Local Authority areas and 3 tax sites.

    Key activities

    • Support the CEO with the development of the Freeport Annual Delivery Plan in consultation with partners leading on inward investment, innovation and business development aspects.
    • Lead and direct implementation of the Freeport Marketing and Communications plan and establish and review key performance indicators to measure its success working across 3 Local Authority areas and 3 tax sites and DIT.
    • Working with DIT ensure the Freeport Trade and Investment Strategy is developed and implemented through the Trade and Investment Board and that all relevant partners are consulted and informed to maintain strategic alignment with wider regeneration activity.
    • Working with Innovate UK South West Regional Manager lead and direct implementation of the PASD Freeport Innovation Strategy including the research element by commissioning and monitoring the service from Universities of Plymouth and Exeter and the partners they propose.
    • To develop a funding strategy for the delivery of the innovation strategy working across key partners and with existing innovation interventions in the city
    • Work closely with the Freeport Operations Manager to coordinate the delivery of the Freeport Skills, Innovation and Investment and Trade Strategies so that they are strategically aligned and mutually supporting.
    • Be accountable to the brand owner (the CEO) for ensuring the strategic alignment of the Freeport Company brand identity, including digital and physical marketing assets, to the Freeport vision stated in the Gateway policy plus Full Business Case and adapted in Annual Plans.
    • Lead engagement with strategic stakeholders in close collaboration with senior partners and representatives in the public and private sector, our Advanced Manufacturing and Marine, Space and Defence Sector Clusters, the Freeport Network, and key Government departments.
    • Responsible for negotiating with the Department for International Trade, landowners and Local Authority partners to ensure the strategic alignment of inward investment and enquiry handling processes to the Freeport Gateway policy.
    • Responsible for leading engagement with government and regulators to ensure that regulatory barriers to planned innovation by Freeport businesses are understood and that businesses are supported to utilise the Freeport Regulatory Engagement Network to mitigate or remove them. Working with the Freeport Regulatory Engagement Network (‘FREN’) to deliver on the immediate priorities of Regulatory flexibility in Smart Sound Plymouth (‘SSP’) to establish an innovation space.
    • Responsible for leading and directing joint teams across the Universities and their partners and Local Authorities to secure innovation funding to support the development of the Innovation Centre and other key infrastructure to support innovation in the wider Freeport area.
    • Leading engagement with strategic partners (like Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, Plymouth Manufacturers Group and others that are deemed necessary) to progress plans to establish a National Composite Centre in South Yard and similar initiatives in the wider area.
    • Responsible for maximising the impact of the Freeport marketing budget and the activities it supports to drive forward increased trade and investment, identifying and leading any procurement activity that may be required, e.g. to develop a PR strategy for agreement by the Freeport Board of Directors.
    • Set the strategic direction for marketing activity ensuring that the private sector are supported to market their sites through Freeport brand backing, collateral support, networking opportunities and stakeholder engagement, providing expert advice and consultation support to help businesses understand how they can benefit from the Freeport.
    • Lead joint teams of academic and research partners to design, fund and implement innovation services and enabling facilities in the new Freeport Innovation Centre.
    • Set strategic outcomes and targets for the Local Authority Inward Investment teams SLA and lead joint teams to provide a single point of contact for Freeport businesses to find Skills, Net Zero, Innovation support.
    • Be closely aware of workforce and skill capacity on local area giving input to skills uplift programme supervised day to day by the Operations Manager and partners.
    • Lead engagement with the Landowner Directors and Customs Operator to ensure that international marketing of the Freeport is informed by local marketing of their own sites.
    • Be responsible for delivering suitable engagement events and opportunities and attend relevant events, expos and trade shows to market our Freeport to potential investors.
    • Responsible for collaborating with other UK Freeports on joint marketing campaigns and to share best practice.
    • Be responsible for the management of financial and human resources associated with the functions set out in the Freeport Company Functional Structure.
    • Manage assigned budget within limits and provide regular updates to CEO or any future finance manager who is accountable for overall Company budget.
    • Work closely with Public Funds Accountable Body and Rateable Authorities to deliver required outputs and monitoring data covered in separate Service Level Agreement and relating to successful delivery of Freeport objectives that fall within the remit of this role.
    • Carry out other duties appropriate to the grade of the post.

    Person Specification

    Requirements Essential Desirable



    • Educated to degree standard or a relevant professional qualification in programme management or the field of economic development.
    • A comprehensive understanding on business drivers for investment decisions.
    • An understanding of innovation landscape, the drivers of innovation and adoption.
    • Knowledge of the business support landscape and the key partners
    • Knowledge of funding regimes including bidding, monitoring and contracting of external funding sources.
    • Knowledge of the principles of managing a large scale capital regeneration project.
    • Knowledge of the Freeport programme, and related government growth policies and other government initiatives to support innovation.
    • Knowledge of local government processes relating to democracy, finance, legal and procurement.
    • Knowledge of one or more of the target sectors (advanced engineering, marine, defence and space) including relevant technologies
    • Knowledge of regulatory barriers effecting businesses in the target sectors.
    • Knowledge of State Subsidy legislation.
    • Experience of negotiating with senior representatives in the private, public, and social sectors.
    • Experience with overseas markets and investors.
    • Experience in establishing and developing innovation and commercialisation ecosystems with sector and sub-sector specialisms.
    • Experience in presenting reports to Committees, Boards or representing the organisation at public meetings.
    • Experience of providing leadership, development of relationships innovative thinking, negotiation, conflict resolution and motivation
    • Experience of writing, developing and procuring strategies in a partnership environment.
    • Demonstrable experience of writing detailed reports and in making recommendations and presentations to senior management.
    • Experience in government relations, lobbying and communicating with a wide range of stakeholders
    • Responsibility for and experience in direct and partner staff management and motivation.
    • Working within large, complex organisations.
    • Experience of working with politicians.
    • Experience of leading and developing successful economic development programmes including people management, managing multiple suppliers and working in a complex environment to include public and private sector settings.
    • Working within the UK Freeport development programme.
    • Strong negotiating skills 
    • Leadership and collaborative skills 
    • Ability to maintain relationships in a complex partnership setting 
    • Excellent verbal communication skills
    The post holder will be expected at all times to act in accordance with the Nolan principles and to work within the policies and procedures set out in the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Employee Handbook and as may be adopted by the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Board.

    How to Apply

    To apply for this role please send a CV and covering letter to by Friday 16th December at 1200. 

    For an informal discussion about this role please email either Richard May or David Draffan

    The following timetable sets out the key dates in the recruitment process (subject to change):

    Date Activity
    Closing Date Friday 16th December 2022 at 1200 noon
    Shortlisting Friday 27th January 2023
    First Interviews Monday 13th February 2023