New drive to put innovation and entrepreneurism at the heart of the economy

By Good Growth Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Shared Prosperity Fund - 02nd April 2024

A major new initiative to nurture a culture of business innovation and entrepreneurism, boost research and development and attract investment has won support from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Programme, which is managed by Cornwall Council and funded by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund. 

The £5.6 million Entrepreneurial Futures project aims to maximise the economic development, employment, skills and community benefits to Cornwall of its links with the region’s higher education and further education institutions.

The programme is led by University of Exeter and partners with University of Plymouth, Falmouth University and Duchy College. It is a wide-ranging initiative focusing on the major research priorities in support of key sectors including Clean Energy; Geo-resources; Robotics/Automation; Agri-food; Net zero & Biodiversity; and Immersive Technologies.

Entrepreneurs and businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will have access to advice, support and academic collaboration to innovate new ideas, products and processes, enabling them to improve productivity, reduce costs and reach new UK and export markets.

At the same time, the project will undertake specific research to identify barriers to entrepreneurialism, such as socio-economic factors, and provide advice to government and policy makers on creating an environment where it can flourish.

The project also includes two flagship research, development and innovation (RD&I) initiatives which, as well as showcasing the wider opportunities for collaboration between business and academia, have the potential to directly benefit key sectors in the local economy:

  • Environmental Living Laboratory – To be developed by Duchy College, in Stoke Climsland, this agri-food sector project will provide a practical and controlled environment to develop and test sustainable farming and land management practices, technologies, and innovations.


  • And a pioneering geotracer facility will be established at University of Exeter to trace river/marine pollution, land contamination and groundwater sources. Cross-sector applications for this include the development of geothermal energy; geo-resources; and land and environmental monitoring/management.

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy Cllr Louis Gardner, said: “By investing in the Entrepreneurial Futures project, we are supporting Good Growth principles to contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth, support the delivery of a clean, circular and carbon-neutral economy, improve productivity, drive innovation, and promote the development of more environmentally friendly and socially responsible industries.”  

Professor Martin Siegert, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Cornwall), University of Exeter, said: “Economic growth in Cornwall is dependent on entrepreneurial advances in businesses that are critical to its future, ensuring it will be greener, fairer and healthier.

“The University of Exeter's Shared Prosperity Fund collaboration with Cornwall College, and University partners, will ensure support for the talent, skills and ideas that will drive regional prosperity.”

The £5.6m investment in the Entrepreneurial Futures project by the Good Growth Programme is funded by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF). Cornwall has been allocated £132m of SPF funding over three years with investment decisions taken at local level and with a focus on green and inclusive growth.  

To find out more about the Good Growth Programme and the projects it is supporting in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, visit the Good Growth website.

By investing in the Entrepreneurial Futures project, we are supporting Good Growth principles ...

- Cllr Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy
News on a mobile illustration