Over a cup of tea this morning, Lucy Hunt from Cornwall Enterprise told me moving to Cornwall is not about downsizing. The county is instead on the hunt for high-growth, entrepreneurial companies to help drive the local economy.
Since 2004, more than 100 businesses have relocated to Cornwall, generating around 600 jobs. Many of these businesses, Hunt says, are husband and wife teams that have since grown to SME size.
Most of the business men and women who have relocated are originally from Cornwall but left 20 or 30 years ago because there were no prospects for them. Other new Cornish entrpreneurs have holidayed in the county and have enjoyed it so much that they’ve decided to move there permanently.
Hunt is quick to quash any suggestion that living in Cornwall is a sleepy existence. “The Cornish get upset by people who don’t work as hard as they do and who come down here to work 9 to 5 and hang out at the beach,” she says.
Hunt has dozens of reasons to hand why entrepreneurs should operate in Cornwall. Transports links have improved (Newquay airport now flies to approximately 20 destinations), 99 per cent of the county has access to broadband, schools are good and the qualify of life is decidedly better.
On the downside, she admits that office space is scarce and salaries are still low. The average is around £16k, which isn’t much considering house prices are relatively steep.
If you do decide to take the plunge, pack up the kids and move out of the city, there’s plenty of support if Cornwall is your preferred destination. However, the county shies away from doling out grant after grant. "Companies have to put their own money up," Hunt says. "It’s a way of making them stay."