Cornwall is Creative Hotspot of the Future



Press Release

As Cornwall Business Week kicks off, businesses based in the county have another reason to be proud. Cornwall is a hotbed of creative businesses, and three of its towns are predicted to be in the top ten creative hotspots of the future, a study by Cornwall Research revealed today.

The research was commissioned by Cornwall Pure Business, the inward investment service for Cornwall, funded by Cornwall County Council and European Objective One. The study compared 641 areas of Britain to identify the places with the most ‘workforce creativity’ – an environment that stimulates inventive thinking.

The report placed St Ives as the current 12th most creative place in Britain, with Falmouth and Camborne taking joint 14th place. When mapping the creative hot spots of the future for ‘creative momentum’ – a measure of how much a workforce has changed in terms of skill levels, links with research and entrepreneurship, St Ives shot into second position and Truro and St Austell were placed seventh in the national table.

While London and other cities known for their creative workforces perform well in the current snapshot of ‘Creative Britain’, the research predicts urban locations across the country sliding down the creativity scale in coming years. Researchers identified a phenomenon dubbed ‘clone town[1][1]’ as a major reason for the decline in creativity of urban locations. According to the study, town centres are all beginning to look the same, causing bored locals to switch to auto-pilot when choosing where to buy a sandwich or coffee, and stifling creative thinking. Rural locations tend to have more independent retailers, leading to more diverse high streets and inspiring people to use their brains when out and about, the research showed.

Lucy Hunt of Cornwall Pure Business, a service that provides advice and support for businesses relocating to the county, said; “We are delighted that Cornwall and the South West as a whole is leading the way for creativity. There are certainly lots of innovative and exciting businesses relocating to the county to join our existing business community, many of which are at the forefront of technology. We know our inspiring natural environment and excellent reputation for national and even world firsts make the county attractive to entrepreneurs – and this research shows that people outside Cornwall are sitting up and taking notice.”

Matthew Owen of Cornwall College Research, part of Combined Universities of Cornwall (CUC), commented on the findings; “Our research demonstrates that entrepreneurs are no longer congregating in large cities. Of the 50 locations predicted to be hubs for innovative businesses in coming years, almost half are in rural locations, and seven places in the top ten are located well away from major cities. This is really exciting for Cornwall and demonstrates that it is well on its way to becoming one of the most innovative places for businesses in the UK.”

The study reviewed academic and government research of twelve factors that influence creativity, ranging from the individuality of the high street, to the beauty of the surrounding environment, to different cultures represented in the community. The research team surveyed over 200 businesses across the country to determine which of these factors had the biggest influence on the creativity of their staff. These results were used to weight each factor according to its importance. The resulting ‘creativity index’ was then applied to 641 places to build a picture of ’Creative Britain’. By comparing result trends from the past five years, researchers were able to predict which areas will be the creative hot spots of the future.


Notes to editors:

The study was commissioned by Cornwall Pure Business, the inward investment service for Cornwall County Council and funded by Cornwall County Council and European Objective One.Research was conducted by MOREL Research, the business analysis arm of Cornwall College, a member of the Combined Universities of Cornwall
This report is the first of its kind to look at the entire range of factors that influence business creativity, including:

  • The beauty of the surrounding environment
  • Production of intellectual property
  • Levels of community participation
  • Homogeneity of the high street, or ‘clone town’ with no room for new ideas

Download ‘Creative Britain Executive Summary