£9m development programme for high-growth start-ups in southwest
29 July 2009
Two major new programmes worth nearly £9 million have been launched
to support the development of high-growth-potential businesses in
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly over the next three years.
The programmes, which will be managed by Oxford Innovation, aim to
grow businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Just over £8m of
funding has come through the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund)
Convergence programme, with a further £900,000 from the South West
Regional Development Agency.
Oxford Innovation manages a network of innovation centres across the
UK that provide a supportive environment for over 300 high-growth
start-ups as well as three investment networks that help companies to
Oxford Innovation’s team of advisory and coaching staff based across
the region will provide focused support to potential entrepreneurs, the
founders of high-growth-potential start-ups and established businesses
with unrealised potential. The objective is to create new
high-value-added businesses and help existing companies to expand,
thereby generating new jobs for the region.
Managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to
access practical coaching and mentoring assistance delivered by
experienced coaches who have worked at board level in SMEs and overcome
a range of challenges to expand their businesses. The coaching
assistance is free and confidential.
The Starting a High Growth Business programme will assist
potential entrepreneurs to start up businesses as well as helping
entrepreneurs in start-up firms to develop their businesses. They will
get practical, hands-on help with matters ranging from creating or
developing a business plan, identifying new markets and developing new
products and services to raising funding and building a team. There will
be a particular focus on Camborne, Pool, Redruth, St Austell and the
Clay Country (an area in Cornwall blighted by derelict clay mines).
Oxford Innovation’s team has established its offices at The Old
Chapel, Green Bottom, near Truro to serve as a central contact point for
companies wishing to access advice and assistance. Its operations are
run to the highest environmental standards reflecting the theme of
environmental sustainability that underpins the programmes.
Thelma Sorensen, chair of Cornwall Business Partnership which aims to
have one voice for business in Cornwall, said: “Much of our ERDF
Convergence investment is focussing on economic ambition — people
wanting to expand their businesses or to start successful businesses.
These packages will support exactly those aims.”
Stephen Bohane, Head of Business Development for the South West RDA
in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “This is a significant
investment from the RDA and Convergence in unlocking business potential
in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It will support our most dynamic
businesses and entrepreneurs to help them grow and prosper, creating
quality jobs and boosting the economy.”
At a consultation meeting held recently in Truro with key stakeholder
organisations, Dr Treve Willis, Oxford Innovation’s Project Director for
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “The region has a significant
industrial heritage and a tradition of self-reliance while the quality
of the environment here is renowned – these strengths, combined with
mobile ways of working which provide more flexibility for business
locations, now provide a distinct competitive advantage.
“We want to build on the region’s strengths and work closely with
local and regional partners, as well as connecting entrepreneurs into
relevant contacts and networks beyond the region, so that we can help
generate many new businesses, some of whom will grow into large
companies — the future leading lights of business communities in
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
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