Cornwall’s start-up enthusiasm surges

Paul Learney

Business experts have reported seeing a surge in enquiries from budding entrepreneurs in Cornwall looking for advice on kickstarting a new venture in 2023.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub said enquiries hit unusually high levels between Christmas and new year and into January.

Bosses say reviews booked with their team of ‘connectors’ in the last three months of 2022 increased by more than 10% compared to previous years.

People are being offered free business reviews with Growth Hub, an organisation part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and match funded by Cornwall Council.

Latest figures show more than 600 existing, start-up and pre-start-up businesses, with a combined turnover of £31.4m, claimed reviews with Growth Hub last year.

Stu Anderson, operations director at Growth Hub, said: “January has provided a real boost for many people – over the last year we’ve seen a significant increase in people contacting us for guidance and support to help their business work smarter, develop and grow.

“What’s interesting is the growth of start-ups in the health and wellbeing sector.

“It seems the ‘new year, new you’ mantra is a real catalyst for start-ups wanting to provide a new service or products to help improve physical or mental wellbeing in 2023.”

One such person is registered nurse Kirsty Higgins who lives near Liskeard. Her business, Kernow Vitality offers people regular vitamin B12 injections.

The mum-of-four needed help and advice about setting up and running her own business.

“I didn’t have a clue – I just wasn’t confident about that side of things at all,” she said.

Since contacting Growth Hub, Higgins has been on a fast-track business course to learn about marketing and finance. She has also had regular follow-up calls to make sure she’s on the right track.

“They were so helpful – and didn’t laugh in my face! That was my biggest fear – that they would think this was a silly idea.

“I’m really grateful to Growth Hub for giving me the confidence to get this far. I would certainly recommend them to anyone who has a business idea and wants to take the next step.”

Paul Learney from Praze has been a chef for 27 years and was running his own restaurant before starting his new business, Cultura Foods.

Working from his home kitchen, he contacted Growth Hub for support in developing a range of fermented products including kimchi and sauerkraut and a non-alcoholic kombucha tea drink.

“I needed some clarity about my start-up business strategy,” said Learney.

“They signposted me to loads of really good advice, which was exactly what I needed, especially on the finance and costings, product development and marketing.

“After speaking to Growth Hub, they opened me up to loads of customer bases and it made me rethink my whole business structure, which has really simplified things for me.”

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