The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has announced a £2 million investment to create a dynamic new workspace on Newquay’s seafront.
The C-Space project will fuse business and incubation space with a local produce café and bar, events venue, production studio and retail showcase, by partially converting a seaside hotel with stunning views over Towan beach.
C-Space is a collaboration between Newquay-based Crowdfunder, the Cornwall Food Foundation, which manages the Fifteen Cornwall restaurant and apprentice chef programme at Watergate Bay, and the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) which has a track record for developing creative, multi-use spaces in landmark buildings and supporting social enterprise.
The LEP, whose job it is to drive economic growth and job creation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is supporting the project with £2 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund.
The investment has been welcomed by Minister for Local Growth Jake Berry, who said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“The C-Space project will be a brilliant addition to Newquay’s economy. It is great to see Government’s Local Growth Fund being spent on a coastal community, in this case providing a dynamic new space for local businesses to innovate and grow. This follows the recent announcement of over £2 million for other projects in Cornwall, through our national Coastal Communities Fund programme.”
LEP chief executive, Glenn Caplin, said: “C-Space will be a huge asset for Cornwall, a place to forge a community of collaborators where ideas can be fostered and funded, creating businesses and jobs.
“The project partners have a track record of creating quality, well-paid jobs and helping people without qualifications or skills to progress. It will be a multifunctional workspace and venue that anyone can use, and a vibrant hub for Newquay.”
C-Space will occupy what is now the Hotel Sunnyside on The Crescent in Newquay. It will become the permanent home for Crowdfunder’s expanding business, with 30-40 staff. Since 2014 Crowdfunder has raised over £55 million for projects across the UK and expects to raise £200 million by 2020.
“The C-Space model is about helping good ideas to flourish, gain support and develop to create sustainable revenue and jobs”
There will be business space for permanent tenants, and start-up and incubation space for fledgling businesses, many of which are expected to be funded through the crowd. Support will come from RIO, which has extensive experience of innovating and incubating enterprises, especially in the creative and cultural industries.
In the first five years the project and its partners expect to support over 1,000 enterprises and create almost 80 jobs based in C-Space, with a similar number created externally in start-ups and growth companies.
A licensed café and bar operated by the Cornwall Food Foundation will showcase local food and drink, and there will be retail space where Crowdfunder projects can sell their products.
Hot desks will allow new businesses to rub shoulders with established businesses and major brands, including national Crowdfunder clients like Virgin, GoDaddy and M&S, who will be encouraged to use the space. A fully equipped studio will be used for online training, webinars and project broadcasts.
Rob Love, executive chairman at Crowdfunder UK, said: “We’re really proud to be bringing something unique to Newquay – giving Crowdfunder a dynamic accessible presence in Cornwall’s most exciting town and catalysing new opportunities for the whole community.
“We want to work with Newquay and our partners around the world to attract a host of new business to join us in crafting a unique, world-class ‘ideas factory’ in the C-Space which will become the ultimate workspace by the sea.”
Matthew Thomson, chief executive of the Cornwall Food Foundation, said: “Using the magic of food to stoke inspiration, we aim to make the C-Space bar restaurant a venue for transformation as much as a space to relax, connect and create. The best ideas and relationships are often forged with a drink or a meal and we will be matching the ingredients for growth with the power of the crowd.”
And RIO chief executive, Lindsey Hall, added: “The C-Space model is about helping good ideas to flourish, gain support and develop to create sustainable revenue and jobs. C-Space promises to be a vibrant and exciting venue, bustling with ideas; our team of business support experts will be a key part of that mix, on hand to offer training and support to help people turn their good ideas into reality.”
Work on C-Space is expected to begin in November, including the creation of a ‘showroom’ where local people can drop in and find out more about the project as work progresses. The hope is that C-Space will be up and running by summer of next year.