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Strategy: Kerrier Community Regeneration Team

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Consultation Paper
Tom Jane has carried out detailed research into the needs of micro-businesses (0-5 employees) in South Kerrier. The research was commissioned on behalf of the Integrated Area Plan Partnership to explore whether there is any potential for developing Objective 1 projects that could contribute to supporting and strengthening this vital part of the local economy.

The key findings of the research are summarised below, and clearly demonstrate that there is significant potential. The IAP Partnership is keen to work with the local business community to build upon this research and develop proposals to be taken forward.

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Executive Summary
South Kerrier's micro-businesses are vital to the area's continuing economic development. Based on this research, a conservative estimate (assumes average turnover at 75% of those sampled) is that South Kerrier micro-businesses have a total annual turnover of £60 million and will bring at least £25 million into the area this year from out of Cornwall, proving itself key to the area's rejuvenation and future growth. This research found a large range of innovative, quality businesses.

The results of this research challenge much of the received wisdom regarding micro–businesses. It is anticipated that this report will generate constructive discussions concerning the future provision for this vital component of the rural economy. Despite being consistently overlooked and undervalued, there is a community of vibrant, optimistic, outward looking and dynamic micro-businesses in South Kerrier.

This report looks at the needs of micro-businesses (employing 5 or less full time equivalent staff) within South Kerrier. 120 businesses were interviewed using a random stratified sampling technique with most interviews done face to face. The research focused on:

Supply of and demand for managed workspace
Local supply chains
Management skills
Business clusters
The potential for joint initiatives
Attitudes towards specific potential projects identified during consultations leading to the development of the Integrated Area Plan


The report looks at the needs of micro businesses (employing 5 or less full time equivalent staff) within South Kerrier. 120 businesses were interviewed using a random stratified sampling technique with most interviews done face to face. The research focused on:

Supply of and demand for managed workspace
Local supply chains
Management skills
Business clusters
The potential for joint initiatives
Attitudes towards specific potential projects that were identified in previous research

The results of this research importantly demonstrate that, despite previous research, at least in this part of Cornwall, the ability and desire of micro-businesses to grow and make a significant contribution to the economic regeneration of the area should not be underestimated or dismissed. In particular, the research demonstrates that:

76% of the sample wanted to grow over the next 5 years
63% felt that they would grow over the next 5 years
Average annual turnover is £79,928.57
An average of 45% of turnover is brought in from outside of Cornwall
62% of micro-businesses had positive perceptions about South Kerrier
43% of those who wanted to grow had used a support organisation - the most used support organisation was Business Link at 33%
Hotels and restaurants bring the most money into the area from outside of Cornwall (67%)
An average of 41% of micro-business spend goes out of South Kerrier
Manufacturing spends the most money outside of South Kerrier (56%), this is due to the specific materials needed being unavailable in the area
25% of micro-businesses perceived that they had benefited, in some way, from Objective One

Other findings include:

Minimal formal business training has been done by micro-businesses with 55% having had no formal training
45% are not a member of any organisation - the most popular organisation to join was the Federation of Small Businesses (17%)
10% would consider incubator units if they were available
25% want a joint marketing scheme
46% felt that a campaign modelled on In Pursuit of Excellence would benefit them
60% like the idea of a South Kerrier micro-business website
38% felt a cycle network would benefit their business

Conclusions included:

Contrary to received wisdom regarding rural micro-businesses, there is a strong desire to grow in 76% of businesses
Positive, proactive support to encourage growth for micro-businesses is not available
There is confusion about the various support organisations and a lack of confidence in them due to the varying quality of support
Other restrictions to growth include premises size, VAT and red tape (e.g. NI, Payroll Health and Safety)
Micro-businesses in South Kerrier are generally proactive in sourcing locally
The Eden Project has had a positive effect on South Kerrier
Levels of management skill vary dramatically
More hands-on support is needed to help micro-businesses grow and help overcome the restrictive influences on growth
There is strong recognition of the need for good marketing

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