From providing support programmes to developing high quality workspaces and investing in research and innovation projects – new and existing businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are continuing to benefit from European funding through the €600 million Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme.
Part funded through the Growth Programme, the Growth Hub has helped thousands of local businesses work smarter, develop and grow. The Penryn based Letter Box Hamper company, which sends hampers containing luxury produce in letterbox sized packages to customers around the world, is one of the many local businesses which has been taking full advantage of this expert funded support.
After initially receiving help from the Growth Hub three years ago to launch his new business, Letter Box director Jonathan Wingfield is working once again with their team on plans to expand the premises and increase the company’s overseas exports and business customers.
“Even when you are lucky enough to have access to fantastic products, starting your own business from scratch is not easy,” said Jonathan. “We are very grateful for the support we have received from the Growth Hub team. 95% of our business is now outside of Cornwall with customers from Scotland to Australia and Hong Kong, and we are keen to expand into other parts of the world.”
To support growth and meet business needs across Cornwall, over £26 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is also being invested in developing high quality and fit for purpose workspaces.
Workspace such as Sector 2, at the Aerohub Business Park near Newquay, received £4.3m funding from ERDF to support Cornish firms’ expansion ambitions such as pioneering energy company Bennamann. The company, which moved to Sector 2 in 2019, is working with a range of partners and local farmers to develop and commercialise the use of new technologies that turn organic waste from farms into biomethane; a zero-carbon fuel that can be used to power lorries and tractors, heat households and businesses, provide hot water and even charge electric vehicles.
After successfully securing a grant from ERDF, Bennamann is also working on an exciting £1.22m research and development project which is looking at maximising the use of on-site renewable energy resources to establish an independent energy farm in Cornwall.
“We are very proud to be a Cornish company that has the potential to radically change the global energy market and look forward to putting Cornwall at the forefront of this pioneering renewable energy innovation,” saidChris Mann, Bennamann Chairman and co-founder. “Without the funding from the ERDF it simply would not have happened, it could not have come at a better time for the county and us.”
Another company successfully capitalising on the EU funding available in Cornwall, is Morek Engineering. Following support from ERDF funded programmes PROPEL Cornwall and Tevi, as well as the Growth Hub, Morek was set up 18 months ago by naval architect Bob Colclough, to provide specialist technical consultancy services to deliver offshore wind, wave and tidal projects across the world. Backed by further ERDF funding from the research and innovation Marine-i programme, Morek is currently developing new specialist software to safely transport the huge equipment needed for installing offshore wind turbines by sea.
“Support from these organisations has played a key part in our development and growth,” said Bob. “Many new companies don’t realise this support is available or how important it is to develop their business.”
As part of the Brexit deal it was agreed that existing EU funded programmes such as the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme would be completed, with its associated funded projects running up until 2023. To find out more visit: www.cornwallislesofscillygrowthprogramme.org.uk