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09.05.05
Surf wear for web surfers

A traditional retail outlet is expanding online with help from Objective One investment. Big Wednesday, a successful Falmouth-based surf wear business, will soon have its own online shop after employing a graduate through the Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) scheme. Owner John Brook said he expects trade to increase rapidly once the website is launched. "Big Wednesday has been trading successfully since 1992 and I wanted to take it to the next level, with our own website for an online shop. I talked to Allyson Glover from UCP and when we advertised for a commercial business manager we got a phenomenal response."

UCP, which has received investment from the Objective One European Social Fund (ESF), was set up as part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative to give graduates a challenging, rewarding start to their careers and to bring new expertise into local companies who may not have had the resources to pursue their plans for growth. The project is managed by Cornwall College.

University of Plymouth business IT graduate Daniel Hinchliffe was about to go travelling in Europe when he read the advertisement. Mr Hinchliffe, 24, said: "I literally left for three months' travelling one hour after the interview. I realised this was the job for me so I kept in touch throughout my travels and started at Big Wednesday in November 2004. I love the job. Most of my friends from university went to work in London and wondered what I was doing but now they all seem jealous."

Under the UCP scheme, Mr Hinchliffe was supported by mentor Toby Parkins, who runs St Agnes-based uknetweb, a company that specialises in internet developments. Mr Parkins said: "One step for Big Wednesday would have been to open another high street outlet but John decided to go even further and open an online outlet. Now he will be retailing all over the world which ties in really well with the Objective One aim to bring more money into Cornwall."

The Big Wednesday website, which has been helped by actnow, another scheme which has received Objective One investment and is rolling out high speed broadband coverage across the region, will be launched before the summer. As in the Falmouth Church Street shop, stock will include surf wear, surfboards, bodyboards, wetsuits, shoes and sandals, bags, watches, sunglasses and surfing accessories.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "Objective One is working in many different ways to create new opportunities for successful businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Big Wednesday is a perfect example of this with Objective One investment helping to both provide a graduate's skills and the high speed IT infrastructure for the website."

"Dan has been brilliant," said Mr Brook. "We now realise we are going to be so busy with online business that we are looking to employ a second graduate through the UCP scheme."

Allyson Glover, UCP project manager, said: "This is a classic win, win situation; Dan has found the perfect opportunity to put his degree into practise and be part of an exciting new business. John has gained the expertise he needs to take his business online and a valuable member of staff."

For further information contact the Objective One Communications Team on 01872 223439 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Unlocking Cornish Potential scheme through the European Social Fund (ESF). The Objective One Programme has also invested in the actnow project through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP): UCP programmes place graduates with small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall and can last between six and 15 months. Investment in UCP through Objective One means that participating businesses receive 30% of the cost of taking on their graduate for the duration of the project. Graduates and their employers also receive support from an independent mentor, 70% of previous UCP graduates have been offered a permanent position with their host company at the end of the project. UCP was the first project launched by the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative to offer direct business support. It is managed by Cornwall College.

actnow: Is a £20 million project of which £6,920,818 came from the Objective One ERDF. Broadband operates at much higher speeds than a standard internet connection with consumer products typically 10 times faster and business products up to 40 times faster. Products can be ordered from a range of service providers. Project partners include Cornwall Enterprise, BT, Cornwall County Council, South West England Regional Development Agency, Business Link, Cornwall College and Objective One.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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