Representatives from over 100 Cornish businesses gathered for two inspirational sessions outlining how the Partner to Succeed programme will roll out across the Duchy between now and 2012.
Funded by a £1.35 million of investment from ERDF Convergence and £150,000 from the South West RDA, Partner to Succeed hopes to support 380 companies over the next three years by forming business collaborations.
Helen Trudgeon, programme director for Partner to Succeed, said: “Cornwall has some hugely innovative and exciting businesses which we want to partner with to help them reach their potential.
“Opportunities through a collaboration can be so much greater than the sum of their parts. We provide the support to make them happen, from identifying the right partner to helping with marketing strategy and project management.”
The first session, aimed at the engineering sectors, featrued a presentation from Sir Richard Needham, a politician and entrepreneur who for the last 12 years has worked closely with James Dyson.
Businesses attending the afternoon session, aimed at the creative and ICT sectors, heard from James Alexander, an innovative and creative business leader who co-founded www.zopa.com, the marketplace where people meet to lend and borrow money.
James is also CEO and trustee of Green Thing, a public service that inspires people to live a greener life.
YTKO specialises in business growth for start-ups and SMEs, and for larger companies seeking expansion opportunities. Since setting up in Cornwall in June, the Partner to Succeed team has engaged with more than 20 businesses and has three active collaboration projects underway.
The company’s particular strengths are in bioscience, healthcare and medical devices, digital and media, electronics, ICT, high value manufacturing and engineering, nanotechnology and the environment – all areas in which Cornwall excels and which have the potential for successful collaborations.
Partner to Succeed is working closely with Business Link to ensure SMEs are receiving the appropriate support and information throughout.
Chris Redding, head of partnerships at Business Link, said: “These are exciting times with great opportunities for business support agencies to pull together and ensure companies get the best and most appropriate support available.”
Carleen Kelemen, director of the Convergence Partnership Office, said:
“The Convergence programmes for Cornwall are investing in new and innovative ways to strengthen business performance to create a vibrant and sustainable economy.
“This investment will create opportunities for businesses to find new collaborative partners and gain competitive advantage through pairing up complimentary strengths.”
Stephen Bohane, head of business development for South West Regional Development Agency, said: “It’s very exciting to hear that Cornwall is already engaging with Partner to Succeed.
“It’s excellent news that three collaborations are underway and many more interested businesses getting on board. I look forward to this project building a sustainable future of business collaboration in Cornwall.”