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Cornwall’s Startup Ecosystem: An incubator for innovation

Cornwall is home to a huge number of small businesses and startups. There seems to be something about the environment and community that inspires people to turn their great ideas into realities and press forward with exciting concepts for new businesses.

But their success can’t solely be attributed to intelligent entrepreneurship, peer support and inspiration. Behind the scenes there are wide range of organisations that provide essential funding and expert support to Cornwall’s startups, and set them up for success in the region and beyond.

Unlocking Potential

Unlocking Potential provides a number of different support services and programs targeted at businesses in different stages of maturity. For fresh startups, its Breakthrough program provides an opportunity to get expert business guidance and truly test the viability of their business model across a packed 2-day interactive workshop. After the workshop, the expert support continues, with the startups given a tailored development plan, and frequent access to face-to-face mentoring, skills development and support. From there, those that go on to become high-growth businesses can engage with UP’s Transform program.

The Transform program is all about providing highly-targeted support to growing businesses that helps fill in the gaps that naturally appear when a company grows rapidly. Whether that’s coaching and mentoring on the leadership of larger teams, or providing specialist finance skills and development, it’s all about helping growing businesses keep growing smoothly and adapt to operating as a larger company. Unlocking Potential also plays a vital role in Cornwall’s talent market – helping growing businesses with the recruitment process, and helping graduates and others in Cornwall find relevant jobs that are truly tailored to their skills.

Falmouth University’s Startup Launchpad

Part of Falmouth University, Launchpad is one of very few programs that can actually say it is directly creating successful new digital businesses. The Launchpad program takes successful graduate applicants, places them together into logical teams and tasks them with solving a real challenge for a major digital customer such as Amazon, Sony or Twitch. Alongside this intense practical project, the teams also complete a 1-year Masters course, equipping them with all of the entrepreneurship skills they’ll need to successfully turn their teams into fully-fledged businesses.

The program then supports those businesses for a further year, helping them turn their own ideas into marketable solutions and services, assisting with securing funding and guiding them out into the broader world of digital business in Cornwall. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the teams involved, forming them into real,competitive businesses that are set up for success in their respective markets.But it’s also extremely valuable for Cornwall, giving rise to natural clusters of digital talent across the region, and helping to turn Cornwall into a destination for those with valuable digital skills and ambitions.

falmouth univeristy

The Growth Hub

There’s a wealth of support services available for startups and businesses of all sizes across Cornwall, and the Growth Hub exists to help those businesses make sense of it all. When a company or individual first engages with the Growth Hub, the hub’s experts conduct a diagnostic of their business to identify what they need help with the most. Then, the hub helps connect businesses with other government and European funded organisations that can provide that support.

This helps growing businesses in two major ways. Firstly, it helps them get an outside perspective on what’s really missing from their business so that they can identify issues that they themselves may not have seen. Secondly, it takes the burden off the business of having to individual seek out and make contact with support organisations. It’s a one stop shop that helps you understand what your business really needs, and immediately helps you get it locally.


Cornwall: A place where new ideas and businesses thrive

Cornwall’s business landscape is characterised by a large number of small and medium-sized companies – many of which started life as 1 or 2-person startups. There are a number of environmental reasons why there are so many startups in the region,but the organisations listed above are a big part of the reason why so many survive and thrive.

Here, in a beautiful county where many find the space, freedom and confidence to push forward with their exciting new business ideas, support is available in abundance – helping to build a thriving startup ecosystem that’s constantly getting bigger.

Get in touch with us today to find our how your business can benefit from being in Cornwall. 

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