Invest in Cornwall, part of the Cornwall Development Company, is a business support programme which aims to attract high-growth businesses into the Duchy.
There have been different iterations of the project over the past 10 years but the overall focus has always remained the same – to grow Cornwall’s economy, attract high-growth businesses, create more high paid jobs and promote Cornwall as a credible businesses destination.
The current Invest in Cornwall project has been focused on attracting both new and established businesses to Cornwall in sectors such as finTech, marineTech or agriTech.
Nicola Lloyd, head of inward investment at the Pool-based organisation, said: “Attracting inward investment means attracting businesses from the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond to Cornwall.
“We are seeing particular success with tech businesses because we believe Cornwall is the natural place for these businesses thanks to the unrivalled work-life balance lifestyle it offers and its fantastic superfast broadband infrastructure.
“Our aim is to make sure that people identify Cornwall not only as a tourist destination where you come on holiday in the summer but as a great place to do business. We want to see more high growth businesses establishing themselves and creating well paid jobs within the region.”
The current three-year project, which looks to be extended for a further three years until 2021, is well on the way to reach its target of attracting 31 businesses to the county and see 191 jobs created.
The next phase will expand to also focus on helping companies here seek out export and trading opportunities.
Ms Lloyd added: “Inward investment takes time. Starting or expanding a business is a journey, we work closely with businesses to develop a bespoke package of support to introduce them to Cornwall and it can take 3 years or more before a business makes a decision to establish their operations in the region.
“Business leaders tend to look for three key things when considering a new location for their business or a place to start. Workspace. Funding. Talent. We have all three.”
The companies supported to date by the Invest in Cornwall team operate in various sectors from health technology, creative and advertising, financial tech, agriTech, aerospace, space and marine. Some have expanded operations from other parts of the UK, Europe and even as far afield as New Zealand.
How does it work?
Invest in Cornwall facilitates relationships and showcases opportunities within the region with a bespoke tour, tailored to each individual business – based on their requirements, to showcase the true potential within the region for both the business and their employees.
While other EU funded projects have grants and financial incentives, Invest in Cornwall uses its budget to showcase Cornwall and the potential it offers so investors choose to establish operations here and create employment opportunities for Cornwall’s residents.
Ms Lloyd said: “We arrange meetings with relevant people from within the existing business community in Cornwall, this enables our clients to have a peer-to-peer conversation about operating a business here. We also make sure that we highlight the networking opportunities, infrastructure, lifestyle and university expertise to help showcase the full offer.
“We will ensure they meet and greet the movers and shakers, the skills providers and their business peers.
“We are constantly growing our relationship with business ambassadors like Toby Parkins, from Headforwards or Cornwall Chamber of Commerce. It’s great for prospective businesses because we are able to start building their networks within the region before they even get to Cornwall.”
Attracting inward investment is a tough business in itself. As Ms Lloyd explains, every county in Britain, every region and big city is vying to attract investment and jobs. Not only is competition fierce within the UK but it is a big wide world out there and every country is fighting to attract the next Google or Facebook and everything in between.
What Cornwall offers that some other regions might not is fantastic connectivity and an incomparable lifestyle which Invest in Cornwall is keen to promote.
Ms Lloyd said: “The lifestyle Cornwall offers is a real added value to businesses because the workforce is often happier and more creative – therefore more productive and efficient.
“There is a common misconception that Cornwall is out-dated, behind the times and just a beautiful holiday destination, but it is so much more than that. We have so many companies doing incredible things, trading around the world – we need to celebrate this.
“It’s all about Cornwall being more confident.”
To start your investment conversation with Invest in Cornwall pick up the phone and call 01872 326727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.investincornwall.com