Meet the new Chair of the Coast to Capital LEP

Just over a year ago, we interviewed Julie Kapsalis as part of our Women in Business series. So we were delighted to hear the news that Julie has now been appointed the Chair of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (C2C). Julie took time out of her busy schedule to give us an update on her new challenge.

Last May, when we interviewed Julie she started her answer to the first question with a reference to her inexhaustible approach to life and work: My name is Julie Kapsalis and I am a workaholic.

As she listed her activities, it was clear that she wasn’t exaggerating: I am MD of Chichester College Group, a Director of Coast to Capital, Chair of Chichester Chamber of Commerce  and on the Board at the Institute of Economic Development and Gatwick Diamond Business. I am also mother to Hektor (9) and Felix (8), my proudest achievements. My greatest weakness is not being able to say ‘no’. I have also recently taken up showing sheep and am an avid darts fan.

She has since stepped up from Director to Chair of Coast to Capital, and in doing so has made her workload even more insane. And it wasn’t a case of not being able to say no. Julie actually applied for the prestigious role at the LEP! As she says, her name is Julie Kapsalis and she is a workaholic.

Q & A – Julie Kapsalis

How did you become the Chair of Coast to Capital?

I applied for the role. There was a national recruitment campaign handled by an external agency. It was a very extensive and robust process that involved an application and two rounds of interviews. A Committee of the Board, chaired by Martin Harris (Managing Director, Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus) led the process and the appointment was confirmed by the Board.

What are your aims as the Chair? What do you hope to achieve?

I want to build on the outstanding work of our two previous Chairs, John Peel and Tim Wates. They have established and grown an excellent organisation and Board. LEPs have always had a central role in enabling collaboration between the public and private sectors and this has never been so important.

I am also committed to working more with the third sector and placing a greater emphasis on social value. I also want us to do more to address equality and diversity both on the Board and through our work with businesses and the wider community.

I remain committed to ensuring the sustainable economic recovery of our region and to driving forwards our vision to be a fantastic place to live, grow and succeed.

What are the main challenges for C2C?

COVID-19 requires Coast to Capital to play an even more important role in supporting our region and its recovery. Collaboration and innovation will be key and I’m committed to working with our partners to address issues and challenges facing our businesses and communities.

We recently ran a Backing Business Fund to support businesses that had been impacted by COVID-19 and I hope that we will be able to run a second round of this to enable businesses to adapt and innovate.

What attributes do you think you can bring to the role?

  • Listening to others and seeking to find solutions to complex problems.
  • I am also a people person – I love networking and making connections. I think developing new and existing partnerships based on trust will be key

And how about your ‘day job’ at the Chichester College Group. How are the colleges and students coping with these strange and difficult times?

I am hugely proud of how CCG has adapted to the current situation. We switched to online delivery from the end of March – including being able to teach international students who had returned home. We remained open to support children of key workers and vulnerable learners – this included our four childcare nurseries. Our staff and students have shown great resilience and innovation to ensure teaching and learning can continue.

As a leadership team, communication has been critical as well as supporting each other through some incredibly complex challenges and decisions. As we approach September, we are focused on re-opening for our students and either welcoming them back or welcoming them as they join us for the first time.

Congratulations to Julie on the new role. The Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership plays a huge role in supporting the local economy and infrastructure, providing a holistic approach to the needs of the region. With Covid-19’s devastating impact on the economy, C2C plays an even more important role. It is reassuring to know that the LEP is in safe hands under Julie’s stewardship.

Read the our full interview with Julie here 


Coast to Capital builds local business led partnerships between local authorities and businesses, plays a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertakes activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs. 

Coast to Capital has a total population of over 2 million people, covering an area of over 312,000 hectares (across Sussex, East Surrey and Croydon). The area boasts a strong economy worth £50.7 billion gross value added (GVA), making it the seventh largest local economy in England.

In the six years since Coast to Capital was formed, it has successfully invested more than £300 million of public money in local infrastructure, and generated a significant return in the growth of the local economy.

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