Loved for its beautiful beaches, stunning coastlines, award-winning food, friendly locals and family fun, Cornwall has been an iconic holiday destination for millions. Some visit to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Others come from overseas to experience its splendour.
On average, 5 million people visit Cornwall each year. And the tourist trade contributes to 24% of its gross domestic product. In fact, tourism supports, on average, one out of five local jobs, and typically generates £1.85 billion a year. With every reserved table, cottage booking or holiday home visit, summer tourism is the fuel. The fuel that keeps small businesses operating into the winter months when income becomes restricted to the local population.
Out in the Sticks
Despite popular belief, tourism is not the bloodline to Cornwall’s financial revenue. Agriculture, farming and food processing are major contributors. On average, these industries generate over £366 million for the county throughout the year and are not limited to seasons. But there are other, perhaps surprising, areas of business within Cornwall that have developed significantly in recent years. Technology, mathematics and engineering being just some of the expertise booming.
There is a common misconception with regards to the people of Cornwall. People who live “out in the sticks” and are, therefore, behind the times. This stereotype is portrayed regularly on TV and radio. Take the series Doc Martin, for instance. Although very funny, here the majority of Cornish folk are portrayed as dim-witted.
Sure, like any place, you get a few characters. But this stereotype is not accurate for Cornwall as a whole. While the style of living may be more relaxed than city lifestyles, developments in technology have thrived over recent years.
Cornwall’s Development Manager, Ann Vandermeulen, supports this. She even states that
“Cornwall should not be viewed as a purely tourism-driven economy as we have many opportunities
in many areas such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, aerospace,
sustainability, marine, creative [and more]”.
After the tourists have gone home, it is not like the 510,000 permanent residents cease to exist. We build, explore and create.
Cornwall’s Silicone Corner
And we are not just playing catch up. Our “precision manufacturing, tech and creative industries are second to none” (Kim Conchie, Chief Executive for Cornwall Chamber of Commerce).
In fact, now known as Cornwall’s Silicone Corner, Cambourne, Redruth, Pool and Truro have generated an additional £39 million to the economy of Cornwall.
According to Oliver Vergnault,
“The tech industry [in Cornwall] is growing at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the UK and,
according to the Tech Nation 2017 report, the sector is one of the fastest growing in Britain,
contributing to £170 billion to the UK’s economy”.
“Cornwall’s digital tech sector has [even] been singled out as one of the fastest growing in the country” says Business Cornwall Online. With events such as ‘Agile on the Beach’ being an anticipated conference of the tech scene.
With over 22 start-up businesses, 680 developing tech businesses and over 1380 highly paid jobs, the tech industry is expanding at an extraordinary rate. While summer months may be profitable for cafés, ice cream and surf shops, November-April have proven to be the most profitable months for our flourishing tech sector.
Why a sudden boom in technology? Cornwall offers a new perspective, and different quality of life. Rather than a competitive corporate angle, businesses here prefer to work in collaboration with one another. Rather than battling against each other.
In the city, the majority of us burn the candle at both ends. In Cornwall, the working day is often accompanied with a good life balance. Not to mention fair working hours. In fact, “91% of employees and employers interviewed locally were satisfied with the overall quality of life”.
Another reason for the tech boom is down to connectivity. Bluefruit Software Director, Paul Massey, says that it is “thanks to investments in broadband, business support and skills development” that has led to this spike in technological advancement. Internet and super-fast broadband is now available, and continues to become available across the county. And with transport links, such as flights to London taking little less than an hour, accessibility is getting easier every day.
Pansensic is a tech company based in Bude, Cornwall, making significant progress in the data analysis industry. Despite being in the “middle of nowhere”, we have multinational clients, including the NHS, Samsung, Cadbury, Boots.
What these organisations have in common is the understanding that the experience of their customers, staff and stakeholders can provide game-changing insights. Rather than just summarising data, Pansensic provide a real depth of insight that is more granular, accurate and actionable.
Image Credit: Gloria Sawye