£19M boost for Cornish economy


Two new business support programmes have been launched today in Cornwall, worth a combined £19 million.

The Coaching for Growth and Cornwall Business Start-Up projects have been financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Both programmes will be delivered by Oxford Innovation, a leading specialist coaching company, in partnership with Unlocking Potential, part of The Cornwall College Group.

Businesses with expansion plans that have traded for a minimum of 12 months will be eligible for the Coaching for Growth programme while brand new ventures will be supported in getting off the ground and continuing their development under the Cornwall Business Start-Up programme.

For Oxford Innovation, the programmes are an opportunity to build on the success of work previously carried out in Cornwall. Between 2009 and 2015, the company delivered the Coaching for High Growth programme which saw more than 2,200 new jobs created by firms that engaged with Oxford Innovation’s team of specialist business coaches.

Andrew Farmer, Oxford Innovation’s operations director, said: “The previous programme was an outstanding success, not only in creating more than double the number of jobs that were originally targeted but in providing such a significant boost to Cornwall’s economy.

“Gross Value Added (GVA) is a measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy. The high growth and start-up businesses we worked with generated a GVA of more than £57m, also more than double the original target.

“For the new programmes, we have set even more ambitious targets and we’re looking forward to working with an even wider range of Cornwall’s enterprise community from digital and software firms to hospitality and tourism businesses, manufacturers and engineering companies. We are particularly excited about the innovative new methods of support for our local entrepreneurs, giving them the tools they need to launch the next generation of high growth firms.”

One of Oxford Innovation’s clients from the previous coaching programme was Worlds Apart, suppliers of children’s lifestyle products such as furniture, tents, toys and play equipment.

“We started working with Oxford Innovation in 2013 with the main objective to review our internal processes with a focus on product management,” said Emily Maclennan, marketing and brand director at Worlds Apart.

“The support and mentoring we received from Oxford Innovation was pivotal in changing our approach to project management and the continuous improvement of our business.  We have a great relationship with the team and our business has benefited hugely from our working together.”

The Cornwall College Group also has an impressive track record in contributing to the local economy.  Since 2004, it has created more than 1,300 graduate level jobs at 800 Cornish businesses, with an average salary of over £20k.

Allyson Glover, programme director at Unlocking Potential, said: “To grow an economy you need skilled people, a knowledge-rich environment and sustainable jobs. The graduate placement scheme worked well for both the Start-Up and High Growth Coaching programmes delivered previously by Oxford Innovation so placing graduate recruitment at the heart of these new programmes really future-proofs Cornwall’s economy ensuring our brightest and most ambitious young people can develop extraordinary and rewarding careers here.”