Thursday, 25 August 2016

Software Cornwall

Over the last two or three years, we have seen growing momentum behind the embryonic computer software industry here in West Cornwall.  A recent national study identified Camborne and Redruth as one of the fastest growing computer software clusters in the country with huge growth in jobs and turnover. 

Companies like Headforwards Software from Pool which develops software solutions for the telecoms industry are growing exponentially.  In Redruth we have the Barncoose Gateway centre which hosts other home grown local success stories like Blue Fruit and Netbooster.  Earlier this week I visited SCSL at Tolvaddon which is another rapidly emerging company in this new industry.  It was founded by Dr Mark Sullivan, a former GP, who spotted the need for better data monitoring to assist doctors in managing the medication of patients in need anticoagulants to reduce their risk of stroke.  Over the last twenty years they have been developing sophisticated software for use by the NHS which makes them one of the world's cutting edge technology companies in their field.

Software Cornwall is a grouping that now has over sixty members both large and small and Mike Barritt, the Managing Director of SCSL, is heavily involved in organising the annual "Agile on the beach" convention which takes place at Falmouth next week and is now judged to be among the top three such events in the world. "Agile" is a new management concept which can be applied to many disciplines including even in financial management but is especially used in software development.  It is about removing rigid processes, targets and management plans and replacing them with something more flexible, holistic and iterative so that complex challenges can be overcome by natural adaptation.

 I have always said that I wanted to see new industries and higher paid jobs in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle. The ingredients of success are the right infrastructure, like Superfast broadband, and the raw talent of bright individuals who can make things happen.  Then you need critical mass so here is local resilience which we are now starting to get.  Previously, people had to choose between leaving Cornwall and taking a well-paid career up country, or taking the lifestyle choice to live in the most beautiful part of the country but accepting a lower salary.  Increasingly, the young people who have grown up in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle and who are receiving their exam results this week will not be forced to make that choice. 

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