Cornish Lime Company success
The Cornish Lime Company (CLC), based outside Bodmin, evolved from the building company Darrock & Brown and expanded as a result of a growing awareness of the benefits of its products. The company is now one of the UK's leading producers and suppliers of lime products for building and restoration projects and also supplies a wide range of sands, aggregates, natural paints, natural cements, paving and tools.
Along with many small businesses which are faced with numerous opportunities to expand, CLC took the decision to complement the owners' in-depth knowledge of the marketplace with specialist business advice and expertise from outside the company. In doing so CLC has consolidated its position after a period of rapid expansion and evolution.
One aspect of this was the involvement of three graduates with specialist knowledge which began a process that brought a new dimension to the company's structure and strategy as CLC Managing Director Phil Brown explains: "This began when we became involved with the Unlocking Cornish Potential graduate placement scheme. We have benefited hugely from the expert skills of three graduates now, each of whom had their own specific mentor to help guide their projects and advise us. Tim, our latest graduate, has just completed a very successful 12 month placement, which will bring the company tremendous benefits in the long run."
Tim Sisson, from Plymouth, had graduated from the University of Plymouth with a degree in Chemistry with Computing and joined Cornish Lime Company through Combined Universities in Cornwall's UCP scheme as a Graduate Researcher. During his project Tim conducted a major feasibility study into a possible sand engineering facility – preparing a business plan and three year financial performance summary. He also investigated opportunities for expanding the product range of the business – in particular a range of CHC-free paint strippers designed to remove non breathable, 'inappropriate' paints.
The system of assessing new projects which Tim devised has become invaluable to the company as his UCP mentor Laurie Hearn, a marketing and business development consultant who runs Halo Consulting (UK) Ltd, explains: "Now there are procedures in place so commercial feasibility is confirmed before money is spent – this will ensure a profitable and structured approach to expansion. It has allowed Phil to be creative and think innovatively, Tim to assess the viability of these ideas and the new Commercial Manager to plan and run the business accordingly. This really has been a year of evolution for the company and shows the value of mixing flair and expertise with structured business models and financial frameworks." Laurie mentored Tim throughout this project and during this time advised the company's owners about marketing and business development issues.
MD Phil Brown has been delighted by the outcomes, commenting: "I cannot endorse the UCP scheme enough. Why more companies don't take advantage of it is beyond me! We have expanded considerably in the last 12 months – doubling capacity – thanks to Tim. I think this job helped him to find some real focus too and gave him the opportunity to learn more about the technical aspects. With the superb job he has done here already, we like to think he will be with us for the long haul."
Tim is equally grateful for his experience, saying: "It was very daunting to begin with but I feel, over the past year, I have gained a good technical knowledge of building conservation, restoration materials and techniques. I think I have gained a great deal of business and commercial awareness too – particularly with Laurie's help. Overall I think the business approach we have developed at Cornish Lime will stand us in good stead even during potentially difficult times and that will also benefit the local economy."
The Unlocking Cornish Potential scheme, which is supported by Objective One and managed by Cornwall College, specialises in arranging placements for graduates within Cornish businesses to work on projects which will improve company success and also provide real life work experience. With over 300 UCP placements arranged over the last four years and over 70% of those graduates gaining full time employment as a result, UCP continues to represent a valuable resource for Cornwall's businesses.
For further information please contact Emma Stallard, Combined Universities in Cornwall PR and Communications Officer on 01326 259908 / 07896 042524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
The UCP project seeks to measurably improve the efficiency, competitiveness and growth potential of SMEs in Cornwall through the placement of graduates in companies to undertake business development projects. These projects can last from 6 to 12 months.
Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's economic renaissance. The principal partners are the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College. It aims not only to provide the students of the future with more choice and greater opportunities, but also to boost the economic fortunes of the region for the benefit of one and all.
The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
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