Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Scaling – Targeted help that reaches rural and coastal businesses


2500 businesses with an ambition to grow provided with 1-1 diagnostics

13 businesses accessed CIOS Investment Fund with £5m invested

318 businesses undertaken Training Needs Analysis and now training 2,106 staff

Participating sectors

Building & Construction Engineering / Advanced Engineering Food & drink


Cornwall and Isles of Scilly used the Driving Economic Growth course to help shape its approach to scaleups. The Growth Hub has adopted a tiered approach to ensure it can work with higher growth companies efficiently and effectively. Such companies are offered a 1-1 comprehensive review often in their own premises with referrals made to appropriate programmes to support their scaleup intent.

ONS data for 2017 shows that there are 295 scaleups in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP: 115 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 235 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 55 are scaleups that are increasing both employment and turnover simultaneously.

The ONS data reflects that across the four-year period from 2014 to 2017 the density of scaleups has increased by 4.36 per 100,000 of population per year, which is above the median of +3.90 per 100,000 of population.

Although we would have carried on with employee training without the Skills Hub, it wouldn’t have been as invested. Allowing them to come along and point us in the right direction for where everyone needed to go and what everyone needed to achieve saved us so much time and made it so much easier for us.

Katherine George, Founder

Oh So Social


High-growth companies are referred to programmes such as the Future Focus Programme run by Unlocking Potential in partnership with the University of Exeter. As part of this programme companies take part in expert peer-to-peer workshops called Labs during which they develop an action plan and are offered access to innovation coaching, academic research and expertise and funding for equipment. A special element of the programme is the Knowledge Exchange which supports business to test whether there is a likely market for their business ideas or innovation.

They can also be referred to the CIOS Investment Fund – a collaboration between the LEP and the British Business Bank which provides commercially-focused finance through a £40 million Debt and Equity Fund. Companies can access funding from £25,000 to £2 million to help them grow.

In addition, CIOS operates a Skills Hub alongside the Growth Hub to enable scaling businesses access training for their workforce in order to respond to the reported skills gap in the region. Business leaders can access a personalised Skills Toolkit to carry out a skills review of their company, conduct effective staff appraisals, create appropriate policies and recruit staff.

“Obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals, but it is not easy in this unique industry. We are thrilled to have secured a CIOSIF loan, which enables us to improve the site, invest in new equipment and increase and upskill our team.”

Sam Dunnett, Organiser and Co-founder

Wyldes Music Festival


Since 2016 the CIOS Growth & Skills Hub has provided one-to-one diagnostics and training needs analysis for over 2,500 businesses with an ambition to grow. It has been successful in reaching the traditional ‘hard to reach’ areas of Cornwall (NE & SE) to help ensure the support level for businesses is the same across all areas.

Examples of this include the ‘Growth Hub on the Road’ which delivered 15 Town Takeovers  from Saltash to St Ives, and Callington to Camborne in which businesses were offered taster workshops to introduce them to the support available as well as Biz Events that brought established businesses together with newer enterprises to talk about their experience of business growth.

“Really inspiring and thought provoking, created a few light bulb moments throughout!”

St Michaels Hotel and Spa, Marketing for Growth Biz Event


Reaching out and engaging the different local business communities and hard to reach areas in new ways like the ‘On The Road’ programme has been critical in raising awareness of growth support on offer from the Growth Hub.


Implementation of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Industrial Strategy will see further targeting of scaleups by the Growth Hub and LEP resources.


According to ScaleUp Institute analysis of data received directly from ONS for years 2014-2017, the following picture emerges on the local environment.

Local Authorities located within the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP have a moderate density of scaleups, and the trend between 2014 and 2017 reveals that one of the local authorities showed an increase in the density of scaleup businesses, and one showed an above median increase in scaleup density.

Scaleups by Density: Moderate

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: 1 of the 2 local authorities has an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and both of the 2 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by turnover growth.

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Good

The horizontal axis of this matrix shows whether the density of scaleups has increased or decreased over time relative to the rest of the UK: both of the 2 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 1 of the 2 local authorities are above the median for scaleups by turnover.

The ScaleUp Institute will continue to monitor this closely in the coming years to track whether local initiatives move the dial in the right direction for increasing the density of scaleups.

Page URL: https://www.scaleupinstitute.org.uk/articles/cornwall-and-isles-of-scilly/

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