Over the past eight years, business start-up expert Outset has helped boost creativity and innovation and made a major impact throughout the Duchy, contributing over £6.5 million to the local economy.

The beauty of the Cornish landscape with its stunning vistas and undulating coastline has long been the muse for many talented artists. Of the many hundreds of businesses created, Outset has been instrumental in supporting over 100 creative enterprises.

These have included graphic designer Alison Bick, illustrators Jasmine Foster and Natalie Toms, commercial photographer Pip Hayler, award winning fine art photographer Debra Jayne Wiley and multi award winning cake maker Christine Jensen of Peboryon.

Inspirational workplaces

Keen to capitalise on a key turning point in her life, empty nester Alison Bick decided to embark on a second career.

After her children left home, Alison decided to refocus and sell her own designed homeware, prints and greetings cards from illustrations that were inspired by her life in Cornwall and her love of flowers and nature. To be at the heart of this, she built her ‘Shedquarters’ in her garden overlooking the stunning Gannel Estuary in Newquay. With a modern, bright and airy feel Alison’s studio is the perfect space to work and be inspired.

Having always dreamed of owning her own shop to share her art, Jasmine Foster’s ‘The Smallest Shop in Kernow’ in Polperro provides the ideal setting for her whimsical paintings. Jasmine admits that her first year as a shop owner has completely exceeded her expectations. “I am so happy I took the plunge and set up my own business. I am excited to see how the shop will grow and evolve.”

Turning a passion into a career

Given the chance to recreate an environment where her work could capture the wonders of nature, Natalie Toms built her own studio ‘Thickets’ in her garden in Lanlivery. Able to observe the wildlife that so deeply inspires her illustrations, Natalie is enjoying turning her passion for art into a career. With stockists in Cornwall and further afield, the majority of Natalie’s sales come from wholesale orders. She is currently busy with commissions and adding more cards to her Christmas range.

Change your lifestyle

Photography graduate Pip Hayler wanted a career where she could utilise her degree while looking after her young daughter. She set up her commercial photography business after completing Outset’s online programme.

Pip’s business helping local firms and start-ups with commercial photography is now going from strength to strength and for anyone seriously thinking about being their own boss, she would recommend taking leap a faith.

“You feel tremendous pride and you know that all the time and energy you put in is coming back to you.”

Award winning success

As well as current clients that are receiving support from Outset, the Programme has played a major part in launching some of the region’s highly successful and award-winning businesses.

A recent Indie film award has been a dream come true for former Outset client, fine art photographer Debra Jayne Wiley. Debra received a micro grant from Outset back in 2011, which enabled her to buy a camera and laptop to launch her business that she describes as ‘artography’, the combination of fine art and photography.

“I am so very grateful to the support I received from Outset. The programme was definitely instrumental in my achievements,” said Debra.

Another multi-award winning former Outset client is luxury cake makers, Peboryon who have been featured in Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers. Peboryon’s cake studio is based in Penzance, a location which owner Christine Jensen says is certainly conducive to the creative process.

“Situated just a short stroll from the ocean’s edge, our positioning is a place of light, beauty and inspiration.”

Proof indeed that when it comes to establishing a creative business, being in Cornwall really is the icing on the cake.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, DCH and the Outset Foundation, Outset Cornwall provides a flexible programme of business start-up support, helping individuals explore their business idea through information sessions, specialist workshops and 1:1 coaching.