Move over Black Friday and Cyber Monday – it’s time for Small Business Saturday! Now in its 6th year, the day promotes small businesses all over the UK and encourages consumers to shop local.
This year we were delighted to be named as one of the #SmallBiz100 – just two in Cornwall were chosen, the other being Green and Blue in Perranporth, who design beautiful, stylish products that help wildlife.
Thinking of a start-up here? Cornwall is well known for its vibrant independent business community.
From a population of 500,000 there are over 23,000 VAT-registered companies – one per every 20 people. And of course there are many more – estimates suggest that there are at least as many small businesses below the VAT threshold. All but 60 of these are SMEs.
Businesses range from what you’d expect to see here, such as food and tourism – plus more modern industries including IT, renewable energy and aerospace.
Cornwall also leads the way in social enterprise, with a dynamic enterprise culture creating sustainable projects based on people, planet and profit.
A growing graduate population – thanks to the 4,000+ Falmouth University students – means there is a rich talent pool. Many graduates choose to stay in the region after completing their degrees.
And there’s plenty of encouragement for prospective startups, with an array of organisations offering practical and financial support. We took our first fledging steps into setting up our own company with the help of Outset Cornwall, who offer free courses covering all the basics. We’re also members of the Federation of Small Businesses, who have advised on everything from VAT to payroll to marketing. And we benefit from the support and networking offered by the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce – sometimes meeting others in the same boat can be hugely encouraging. More recently we joined the Transform programme, run by Oxford Innovation which is helping us onto the next level.
Of course, it helps that Cornwall 300 miles of stunning coastline, wild moody moors and more daylight hours than any other part of the UK.
But that would just be showing off wouldn’t it?