The business support landscape in Cornwall is changing. Many business support programmes funded by the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) are coming to the end of their funding.
ESIF includes projects funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and is to be replaced by the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and the Shared Prosperity Fund.
In addition to engaging with the wider team, facilities and academics at the University of Plymouth, here is a list of the support network currently available for businesses in Cornwall.
This list is not exhaustive. We have tried to include support partners and member organisations we are aware of and/or have worked with in the past. If you think we have missed anyone, then feel free to email us and submit your suggestions for review.
Good Growth Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Shared Prosperity Fund
As part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly have been allocated £ 132 million for local investment through the Shared Prosperity Fund. This is being managed, delivered and allocated by Cornwall Council as part of their Good Growth investment plan.
Funding opportunities are now open for applications from universities, businesses, and support providers. With many of the existing business support projects reaching the end of their funding, we, like you, await to see how the Good Growth Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Shared Prosperity Fund will be allocated to support business growth throughout the county.
You, too, can keep an eye on their website here to view the successful projects as and when they are awarded.
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Growth and Skills Hub
As part of Cornwall Council’s business support provision, The Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Growth and Skills Hub works with local businesses, including self-employed people and not for profit organisations, to find the right guidance and support to help businesses work smarter, develop, and grow.
The Skills Hub is (as you would imagine) all about supporting businesses to help identify and acquire the right skills needed for growth – now and in the future – from digital marketing and IT to finance and leadership, as well as apprenticeships and funded training opportunities.
The advice provided is free, independent and impartial. Visit their website for more information.
Business Regulatory Support
Also part of Cornwall Council, the Business Regulatory Support team help businesses navigate regulation and simplify the complexities associated with compliance.
The FSE Group
The FSE Group has been providing high-growth SMEs with accessible market-gap funding since 2002. They work with stakeholders and partners, including British Business Bank, Funding London, Finance Yorkshire and Local Enterprise Partnerships, to deliver regional funding that supports job creation and economic prosperity. FSE is committed to supporting in the long-term, sustainable businesses that will grow, provide employment, and generate economic benefit in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. For more information visit: www.thefsegroup.com.
SWMAS’s team of manufacturing and business development experts support manufacturers in the South West by assisting those who want to be at the forefront of the manufacturing sector. They do this through the provision of consultancy and training services, principally for manufactures tackling transformational change.
SWMAS provide support to some of the world’s leading manufacturers as well as to many smaller manufacturers, and they have built long-standing relationships with many of these companies. They use their connections, knowledge, and expertise in partnership with ambitious manufacturers to improve productivity, develop their capabilities, enter new markets, and become leaders in their fields.
Membership & Networking Organisations
Cornwall Chamber of Commerce
As one of 53 Chambers accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce provides a regional voice for the Cornish business community, and seeks to improve and support the South West economy and promote Cornwall as a great place to do business.
They provide their members with a number of networking and business events, as well as the opportunity to become part of an internationally trusted network. Benefits for members include complimentary listings on their Members’ Business Directory, jobs board and events page, use of their boardroom, member-to-member introductions, member discounts, business Support, promotion across their website, social media, and e-newsletter, as well as being able to upload and share your news and press releases.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
Since 1974, FSB have been backing small business owners and the self-employed. Helping them to start, run and grow successful businesses in every sector and corner of the UK. They provide both free resources such as webinars, guides, awards, and local networking (in person and virtual) as well as member-only services and training to support small businesses and help them achieve their ambitions.
As an example of their extensive menu of services; they support their members to comply with business law, deal with taxes (including tax investigations) and finances, find the right insurance, manage employees & HR issues, find new customers, and assist with health issues, plus much more. Also, as a highly respected advocate for small businesses, FSB have a powerful voice heard in government, as they work to influence policy, campaign on the issues that matter most, and make a real difference for small businesses.
Your Partnerships is a business-to-business (B2B) networking platform which provides a real community spirit to work with businesses and ensure their business journey is one not travelled alone. We all know it is hard in business and Your Partnerships prides itself on offering its community the connections and business tools to help ensure success.
Your Partnerships began in Cornwall in 2018 from humble beginnings and has grown to connect businesses over five counties with over 4.5k members. The heart and soul of the network is its “Ambassadors” who lead the events. With over 70 ambassadors the network grows daily, with new talent and connections forged at networking events, industry specific events, workshops, think tanks, community activities and many new products being added all the time. Your Partnerships offers over 60 face-to-face and 120 online networking opportunities per month.
With its own magazine publication, Your Partnerships has a readership of over 20k and is increasing its members ability to reach their targeted audience via various sponsorship and advertising opportunities. Hot off the press is the soon to be launching Your Partnerships Academy, which will be offering all the educational tools needed to help grow your business. The Your Partnerships Academy will be available for both members and non-members.
Businesses must continue to horizon scan and consider their technological future and Software Cornwall is an excellent resource to help guide you.
The not-for-profit members’ organisation aims to “connect, promote and support Cornwall’s growing digital and software communities”, but also provides community outreach activities which seek to educate businesses about the latest technological advances which are changing the world as we know it and develop the digital skills needed throughout the county to ensure those jobs of the future remain here in Cornwall.
Software Cornwall offers its members:
- Networking opportunities with like-minded peers
- Team-building packages tailored to your business
- Access to business support programs
- Signposting to the latest funding opportunities
- Access to their Jobs board, CV bank and recruitment support
- Training courses in AI, Agile Methodologies and Leadership
Software Cornwall members are able to promote their initiatives to other members, raise brand awareness and receive discounts and free tickets to their exclusive events.
As a non-profit organisation, membership and sponsorship help them continue their Education Outreach – enabling them to visit schools and provide coding workshops, assemblies, work experience programmes and code clubs for both young people and adults.
They have a range of membership packages to suit all organisation sizes, email email@example.com or visit www.softwarecornwall.org for more information.
Cornwall Marine Network
Cornwall Marine Network (CMN) provides support to assist the growth of Cornish marine businesses. Their services include tackling key challenges, such as improving productivity, new processes and product innovations, new skills and training, and digital marketing advice. They also nurture meaningful connections between their members and other support partners.
As a collective network and membership organisation, the Cornwall Marine Network also research the barriers faced by their membership and use this evidence of demand from across the local marine sector to bid for project funds which then pay for the staff and grants that can overcome these obstacles to growth.
CMN Training and Skills
CMN Training and Skills delivers nationally recognised and award-winning training support. They work across all sectors providing recognised qualifications, short-course business skills support, apprenticeships and will design training specifically to meet the needs of your company.
The CMN team offers specialist guidance to help you identify the current and emerging skills needs within your business. Once they understand your needs and priorities, they will share options on where you can get the training you need, giving you freedom of choice.
Their unique range of training and skills solutions support businesses, people and communities
Launched in 2020, ConeX Portal UK is a members-only hub that is building a community of manufacturers, product developers, engineers and suppliers across the UK.
ConeX is passionate about UKMFG and its mission is to help UK engineering and manufacturing businesses thrive. Their doors are open to anyone connected to UK manufacturing: freelancers, solo-entrepreneurs, educators, and manufacturers of all sizes. They wish to have every part of the supply chain covered within their community to speedily get innovative projects off the ground – and completed.
In 2022 alone, dozens of exciting projects started as an idea within ConeX. Their CEO, Sam Baynham explains: “Across the UK, manufacturing companies have continued to show resilience to the toughest of challenges… We need to connect them, celebrate and encourage collaboration, build relationships, and support projects. This is what we’ve done with ConeX. We’ve provided a platform where collaboration is possible, forged connections with like-minded individuals and supported multiple projects on their journey.”
So how does it work? ConeX gets to know you as a business, whom you work with, the leads you need, and the connections you want. They have formed a community powered by a strong ethos of genuine like-minded industry experts. “Nothing is hidden behind algorithms, this is NOT a directory, this is community. ConeX is the home of great manufacturing connections,” says Sam.
Cornwall Manufacturers Group
The Cornwall Manufacturers Group came into existence in 2012 and is a membership organisation for manufacturing companies in Cornwall. Many different sectors, from agricultural machinery to medical equipment, are covered but what unites the group is that they are classified as operating within Engineering.
The organisation provides its members with a convenient means of exchange of information, experience and opinion, between members on matters affecting the interests of their companies, their employees and the general manufacturing industry in Cornwall.
Country Land & Business Association (CLA)
The CLA is the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses throughout rural England and Wales. They aim to protect and grow the rural economy by promoting innovative ideas to a national audience and the provision of practical and specialist support to its members.
The NFU represents more than 46,000 farming and growing businesses in England and Wales. Their purpose is to champion British agriculture and horticulture, to campaign for a stable and sustainable future for British farmers and to secure the best possible deal for their members.
They connect, protect, and promote British farm life and strive to give their members a voice, now and in the future.
Cornwall Place Board
The Cornwall Place Board is a Community Interest Company that is a partnership between the private and public sector. Their web portal has been setup to showcase everything that makes Cornwall such a special place, including the businesses and the trailblazing initiatives taking hold here.
Through their Cornish Ambassador drive, they aim to bring together and recruit a ‘Trelawny’s Army’ of people, who care about the future of Cornwall and who wish to actively promote the Duchy as a great place to live and work.
Cornish businesses and stakeholders are encouraged to share their contributions via the web portal, as well as become a Cornish Ambassador. It is free to join, and you can find out more here.