Cornwall’s three innovation centres see new arrivals and overall inquiries exceed forecasts despite the trend for home-working

Cornwall’s three innovation centres have seen 13 new businesses move in since the start of the coronavirus pandemic – despite the trend for home-working.

The Cornwall Innovation centres in Truro, Pool and Penryn have revealed the number of new customers and overall inquiries has exceeded initial forecasts made at the start of the pandemic

Those taking up office space in the centres include a renewable energy research business, a nanotechnology innovator and specialists in digital marketing and outsourced IT support.

Cornwall Innovation said this clearly reflects the need for Covid-19 secure, quality accommodation with access to business support and external funding initiatives, and flies in the face of the current move towards working from home.

The centres have been fully staffed since July 6 and measures implemented to ensure each centre conforms to Government guidelines on managing the risk of Covid-19 in the workplace.

Head of Cornwall Innovation Centres Matt Harrington said: “We are delighted to be expanding our business community. In addition to welcoming these 13 new customers over the past few months, we have developed a strong pipeline of inquiries all of which has exceeded our expectations of recovery during the pandemic.”

He added: “The demand from businesses looking to move into our Innovation centres bucks the trend of what many are describing as the ‘end of the office’ and shows that there is demand for high-quality, Covid-secure workspaces, which we are ideally placed to provide.

“The companies who have joined us over recent months include early stage and more established ventures, across a range of sectors.

“They all have ambitions to grow and create new, high-quality jobs in Cornwall. Crucially, they share our enthusiasm for being part of a vibrant and collaborative business community that is about so much more than office space.”

Cornwall Innovation is Cornwall’s newest business acceleration community, comprising the Pool Innovation Centre, Tremough Innovation Centre and the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre, in Truro.

The management of all three centres is delivered by the University of Plymouth on behalf of Cornwall Council. Cornwall Innovation was initially supported by the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme.

Peter Hastings is relocating his business, {n}.bora, which provides support in IT projects, programme and portfolio management, to the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre. Peter set up {n}.bora three years ago after returning to his home city of Truro. He made the decision to move the business from his home into the innovation centre to accommodate its next phase of growth.

He said: “With our team members and clients based worldwide, we are a truly global business. However, I also want to grow locally and tap into the talent to build the business here in Cornwall.

“Now that we’ve expanded to a team of five, we really need a creative space to call our own, where we can get together as a team and securely house our equipment. We wanted somewhere that would inspire us and make us feel like we’re going somewhere.

“The Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre works for us because the arrangements are flexible and setting up here is so easy, in terms of connectivity and infrastructure.

“The biggest attraction, though, is the opportunity to connect with the other businesses based here and become part of the innovation centre community. I am absolutely confident that for the next piece of work we need to collaborate on I will be walking down the corridor and knocking on someone’s door.”