Thursday, 8 August 2013

Innovation will raise wages

Camborne, Redruth and Hayle have always been the part of Cornwall where good ideas are made and where the work gets done. The best known Cornish inventors came from here and these towns made a unique contribution to the industrial revolution.

Today, despite being on a remote peninsula, this is still the one part of Cornwall that can hold its own against any other urban centre in the UK. We have the largest urban conurbation in the county with the Camborne Redruth area having double the population of Truro. This constituency is home to both the world renowned Camborne School of Mines and the Tremough University campus which now also hosts Exeter and Falmouth universities. Redruth is home to Cornwall’s largest and most successful manufacturers. Hayle hosts the world’s first commercial scale wave power installation. We are about to build the Cornwall Archive Centre in Redruth and we host two of Cornwall’s three Innovation Centres. I’m not pretending that everything in the garden is rosy – people are struggling with the cost of living so we still need better paid jobs – but we have a lot to be proud of.

Last week I visited the Pool Innovation Centre next to Cornwall College to see a range of new businesses that have chosen to set up here. When I visited last year, there were 150 people working there. Now there are 250 people. The centre has just won national recognition for its success in growing new businesses. They range from firms employing over thirty people to one man bands who are yet to launch. The project is aimed at ‘incubating’ new businesses with high growth potential. People with a bright idea are given support and mentoring and a great environment in which to work for up to a maximum of three years when they are expected to fly the nest, move to larger premises and make way for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The new businesses I saw included PLS, a company supplying major British manufacturers with energy saving lighting solutions; Headforwards, a computer software company that employs some thirty computer programmers writing specialist programmes for the telecommunications industry; Azook which is digitalising thousands of old Cornish photos and film footage; NetBooster which has carved out a position as a world leader in online marketing and Search Engine Optimisation and has chosen Pool as its main UK base; TRAC services which is a national leader advising the pharmaceutical industry on regulatory issues and Shopper Utopia, which is still to launch but has some novel plans to revive the High Street.

People sometimes ask me about opportunities for the next generation. It starts with projects like this and the individuals with the courage and energy to take a risk and have a go at setting up on their own.

George Eustice can be contacted at or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.