Is it really possible to live the dream lifestyle in Cornwall? What’s it like to run a business in the southwestern corner of the UK? What kind of business support is available? Here are some reasons why Cornwall has the right environment for businesses to prosper and succeed:
Is the pristine Cornish lifestyle a reality?
Yes! People really do meet for an early morning surf before work or sometimes during lunchtime. Rob Love, the founder of Crowdfunder, based in Newquay, affirms, “We work incredibly hard so it’s vital to have a workforce that is happy and motivated. Everyone surfs here. When it’s good, we will surf before work, during lunchtime and after work.” Since numerous businesses have established offices or studios that take full advantage of the magnificent coastline, after work, many locals head to the shore for water-sports and laid back barbecues, catching the last rays of summer sun and unwinding with family and friends on some of the world’s best beaches.
Adrenaline junkies can find extreme sports from coasteering and scuba diving to rock climbing. The countryside is always within easy reach for weekend coastal walks, exploring over 300 miles of the South West Coast Path, or hikes on the high moorlands of Bodmin, exploring fantastic cycling trails or just wandering in glorious landscapes – rich with dramatic scenery, always in demand for film and creative shoots. Winter offers moments of serenity, time for escapism and opportunities to have whole beaches to yourself. From the sweeping golden bays in the north and bright white sands of the far west, this is a land of big skies and big ambitions.
Any good places to eat?
Cornwall is an essential destination for anyone with a passion for food, with stellar chefs adding wit and contemporary flair to the finest fresh ingredients, sourced from a multitude of award-winning local producers. Whether its seafood, fine wine, cheese, organic ciders or inventive chocolatiers, Cornwall’s producers make the most of top quality harvests from land and sea. Cornwall has its own vineyards with world-class wines and the only UK-grown teas, which producers Tregothnan export globally. There are also cosy country pubs, a cosmopolitan café culture, dramatic cliff-side restaurants, gourmet festivals, farmers’ markets and urban trends like food trucks and street food pop ups styled with funky Cornish flourish. Fine dining sits happily alongside hip social dining experiences in backstreet restaurants and modest shacks that cook up feasts on the beach. The eclectic mix of heritage and leading-edge cuisine means this is a region bursting with flavour.
Sounds great! What else is there?
For history fans, Cornwall’s Celtic legacy is dotted across the west, with mysterious standing stones and Bronze Age burial mounds showing evidence of ancient design and construction skill. The old industrial heartland demonstrates the consistency of Cornwall’s innovative spirit, pioneering mining and engineering sites now awarded World Heritage Site status. Fascinating folk stories tell the tale of a region with a strong heritage of creative thought, carried on today in the thriving Arts scene. There’s Cornish literature, music and dance, internationally acclaimed theatre companies, live concerts, cinemas, performance spaces, indoor and outdoor venues, quirky galleries, independent art studios, the Tate St Ives and the world renowned Eden Project. Inspiration is in abundant supply.
Is Cornwall really a tech hub?
Cornwall’s tech economy is growing. Superfast Broadband has transformed the region and the way many businesses operate when it comes to overseas clients and growing their market. Through the tech revolution taking place in Cornwall, most SMEs are global in their operations and client base, creating a thriving business community of digital entrepreneurs, alongside high-growth tech businesses – whether they’re using technologies for satellite communications in their agricultural innovations or the wealth of resources to advance their marine technology products. Kevin Fenemore-Jones of Flann Microwave says, “I believe that Cornwall has something truly unique – on one hand there’s a rich heritage and value placed on engineering excellence and on the other a fantastic quality of life and sense of creativity.”
What’s it like to run a business here?
With three of the UK’s top universities – Falmouth University, The University of Exeter and Plymouth University – active in Cornwall, and an incredible lifestyle offer, it’s no wonder that Cornwall has a ton of talent, both established and transplanted here. It’s not just the potential talent that makes the proposition attractive – businesses also benefit from access to an array of university specialisms from medical and scientific, to the arts, creative and digital technologies through to advanced manufacturing and engineering offering a plethora of RD&I opportunities to explore.
There’s a real community feel in Cornwall, where the tight-knit togetherness creates a relaxed atmosphere of collaboration. There are some big, internationally successful businesses based in Cornwall but the majority are small or independent companies, competing on a global scale – making the place a fertile ground for innovators, startups and entrepreneurs.
A recurring thread within Cornwall’s business community is a focus on sustainability. Businesses and villages regularly come together to clean up the beaches or work on conservation projects – there’s a real care about protecting the environment and educating the next generation. The region also encompasses some of the most progressive third sector businesses in the UK including Surfers Against Sewage, ShelterBox and Cool Earth – all pushing the boundaries of their sectors and gaining national / international recognition.
Cornwall’s business community is united in sharing a focus on healthy work-life balance resulting in both personal and professional success. People have time for replenishing their mental and physical resources and space for creative thinking. Staff wellbeing translates into innovation and energy at work, with owners and operators benefitting from the positive collaborative culture.
What are some key players in Cornwall’s tech business landscape?
Cornwall’s tech business landscape diffuses across numerous sectors including: agritech, creative technologies, health technology, aerospace, space technology & marine technology. Each has a bundle of businesses leading the way in pioneering new technologies and pushing the envelope of their industry. Working in Cornwall, you’ll be in good company with these thriving sectors offering an entrepreneurial ecosystem, creative talent and tech-enabled infrastructure.
What sort of support is available for incoming businesses?
Every move requires a look at finances and feasibility. Cornwall Trade and Investment’s resource team is ready to provide support, knowledge and expertise to help you set up in Cornwall. From finding the best fit premises for your company to the well matched funding opportunities, our dedicated project team will be here to assist at every step of the way. Get in touch for details around your personalised support plan.
Whether you’re looking to locate in Cornwall, or to start exporting beyond its borders, get in touch with our friendly team to talk through your needs.