European investment into the Cornish economy

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme has invested approximately 1458 million into the economy of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly (C&IoS) since 2007

As the Convergence Programme closes it is time to look back and remember what ERDF Convergence invested in:
superfast broadband, roads, people, relocating businesses to Cornwall, green technologies, marine innovations,
graduate courses, business growth and expansion, research and development, new or refurbished workspace, transport, higher education, business support, infrastructure improvements, inward investment,
regeneration, heritage & culture…something here you want to know more about? Check out the website www.erdfconvergence.org.uk to read about the projects in full.
 
ERDF is…ready for business
 
One of the driving forces behind the workspace developments during the Programme has been the engagement of the private sector and theirwillingness to invest in large scale developments despite the risks during a recession. One of the successes of this partnership has been the number and diversity of the developments, all of which have been completed to schedule and are either full, or actively welcoming new tenants to their sites.
 
ERDF is…regenerating our heritage
 
ERDF has helped enable refurbishments of historic buildings and the regeneration of key areas to ensure the region’s cultural and artistic heritage can prevail whilst also encouraging new economic growth.
In focus: King Edward Mine King Edward Mine, near Troon, is the oldest and best preserved pre-1920 mining
site left in Cornwall. For more than a century it was used by Camborne School of Mines to deliver practical training before being bought by Cornwall Council in 2009. Now a popular mining heritage attraction, it is situated right next to the Great Flat Lode cycle and walking trail.
 
ERDF is currently being used to turn the old Count House and Carpenter’s Shop, both Grade II* listed buildings, into
nine new workspace units for businesses working within the knowledge economy and creative industries sector. Using local building expertise and materials, the two buildings are currently being refurbished and restored to meet the very highest environmental, access and sustainability standards possible ready for occupation in April 2015.
 
The King Edward Mine Workspace Project is the result of several years of planning and consultation and is the first of two major capital developments on the site that Cornwall Council is working on. The second focuses on conserving
the museum buildings, creating more exhibition space, enhancing the visitor experience and turning what used to be the Assay Office complex into a cafe for visitors to the site by Spring 2016. Find out more about the workspace units truro@smithsgore.co.uk
 
Says Tamsin Daniel, Cornwall Council’s commissioning and project development officer: “The mine has a very special place in many people’s hearts; it attracts many visitors and won an Engineering Heritage Award in 2013. The addition of the workspace allows businesses to work in an inspiring and cultural place that is semi-rural but has the latest amenities any business needs.”
 
ERDF is…supporting businesses
 
Over the life of Convergence many business supports have accelerated the growth of eligible businesses; particularly high value businesses which are better able to pay higher wages, and will strengthen the commercial value of the economy.
 
In Focus: Frugi & Oxford Innovation
 
Oxford Innovation delivers the Coaching for High Growth Programme offering intensive coaching support for all eligible businesses from start-up to established enterprises through a predominantly coaching based service.
 
The Oxford Innovation team are professionallytrained and qualified coaches who have unique insights into the challenges facing growing businesses and the type of interventions that will deliver enduring results. They are available to support businesses with ambition, seeking  to grow and thus drive forward the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
 
More information on the programme, the methodology and the positive impact on businesses can be found at www. growcornwall.co.uk
 
“One of the crucial lessons I have learnt is that a business can actually be at its most vulnerable when it is experiencing a period of growth. The pace of change can have an adverse impact on individuals within the team while methods of working that once proved perfectly successful may no longer be fit for purpose. Peter and his colleagues (OI) have used their expertise to guide us through the process and ensure we are well placed to capitalise on our growth potential.” – Lucy Jewson, Managing Director of Frugi.
 
ERDF is…innovative
 
Using European investment we have been able to create the right environment to allow people and businesses new opportunities through Higher Education, research and innovation.
 
In focus: What Cornwall has to offer business thanks to Higher Education “Convergence has definitely been about investing in research and innovation. If we want to become more competitive and exploit growing market opportunities it is essential to develop really good links between businesses and Higher Education. The combined strengths of Falmouth, Exeter and Plymouth Universities can supply top grade students who can help expand the network of cross working in the Innovation Centres and the research facilities such as the European Centre for
Environment and Human Health and the Environment and Sustainability Institute to name just two. Crucially however, these students can engage and work with the private sector to lead them into careers which wouldn’t have been possible in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly just a few short years ago, and career opportunities like that make me proud of our achievements.” – Professor Anne Carlisle, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Falmouth University.
 
ERDF has recently invested in Alacrity Falmouth, an innovative graduate programme designed to place talented graduates in teams that incubate into incorporated, investible companies. Forging the growth of digital games in Cornwall, the UK and worldwide through the generation of high-value business, Alacrity is based on tried and tested methodology. www.falmouth.ac.uk Chris Weavill a student on the ERDF Alacrity Falmouth course: “Before I joined Alacrity Falmouth I was enrolled on a BSC Hons at Staffordshire University doing Computer Games Design and Programming. This involved doing both game modelling design and programming to creating game engines features and mechanics. The idea of running my own company while working on a project I am passionate about was an opportunity too good to pass on. While also being able to work towards obtaining a Masters in Entrepreneurship as well as working as a company director and project manager.
 
Alacrity Falmouth offers a wealth of knowledge every day. If there aren’t meetings with experienced mentors from the industry there are presentations, talks or meet ups happening aroundthe office. It is a very lively environment
which appeals to me. In the future our team will find investment for our product and incorporate as a business. Expanding our reach and staff we will keep our values strong and make our difference on the gaming industry.”
 
ERDF is…making digital connections
 
During Convergence we helped improve the connectivity of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with the rest of the world through trade, technology and knowledge. Our Superfast Cornwall programme is one of the largest rural rollouts of superfast fibre optic infrastructure projects in Europe during the Convergence period. Superfast probably had the most direct effect on the entire population of C&IoS as 95% of the region will be upgraded. www.superfastcornwall.org
 
In focus: Connecting our remotest places, the Isles of Scilly
Work over Summer 2014 saw the completion of the engineering work to lay the fibre optic cable to the islands as part of the Superfast Cornwall programme. The on-island engineering work is now complete and residents and businesses will be able to place an order this month, to receive their superfast fibre broadband service. Until now, the 2,200 residents of the Isles of Scilly have relied upon a broadband service provided by a radio link between Lands’ End and the islands. This ambitious project will have a far reaching positive effect on the lives of people living and working on the Isles of Scilly. “The project fits perfectly with BT and Superfast Cornwall’s strong reputation for innovation and environmental awareness. It emphasises the leadership role that the Superfast Cornwall partnership
is playing in showing how superfast broadband and its benefits can be taken to remote places in a way which would have been unimaginable in the quite recent past. It also shows the necessity of the public and private sectors working together to bring superfast broadband to more challenging locations.” – Jeremy Steventon-Barnes, Superfast Cornwall Operations Director for BT

Wednesday 10 December 2014