Businesses at Cornwall’s three innovation centres are fearing for their futures as they are unable to access Government grants to help them through the coronavirus crisis.
There are around 140 SMEs in the office centres in Pool, Penryn and Truro, but they are not eligible for Government Small Business Grants because they do not pay business rates individually. They instead contribute to rates allocated to the building as a whole.
Matthew Trevaskis, a director at one of the businesses based at the Pool Innovation Centre, Drivenergy, told the BBC that he “fears that a lot of Cornwall’s youngest businesses, with great potential, will be lost”.
“The ‘broad brush’ approach that was clearly needed early in the pandemic is just not reaching all of the businesses that it should,” he said.
“Many of the Innovation Centre businesses have said that, if they can manage to survive, they will be unable to afford to stay in the buildings in a bid to cut overheads.”
Another PIC tenant said: “A second homeowner, who doesn’t employ people in Cornwall, can claim these grants yet a business employing full time staff can’t. How can that possibly be fair?”
Cornwall Innovation Centres says it is working with Cornwall Council to lobby the Government to find a solution to the issue.