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08.06.05
Best performance ever for Business Link Devon and Cornwall

Peter Castell and Bob DowBusiness Link Devon and Cornwall announced its best ever performance results on June 8th 2005 at a presentation for business leaders across Cornwall. Over 20,000 businesses, including 7,576 in Cornwall, sought information, advice and guidance from Business Link over the last twelve months, a 19% increase on the previous year, resulting in an additional forecasted £269 million of extra sales for the businesses and the creation of 2,414 jobs.

Business Link's focus has been on helping local business owner managers, with aspirations for growth, develop their skills and innovate either by the development of new goods and services or by looking at improving internal systems and processes to the adoption of new technologies to help them become more competitive.

In Cornwall 735 businesses were provided with in depth one to one project support to help them achieve increased productivity and sales. It is these companies that have contributed the majority of a forecasted £109 million in additional sales. Bob Dow chief executive of Business Link Devon and Cornwall explained: "Growth of the local economy depends upon the businesses within growing. In turn this requires a coordinated support network delivering advice and training development that will develop competitive advantage. We provided over 60,000 individual pieces of information to businesses across the region, as a result of a telephone or web enquiry last year.”

Business Link is involved in a wide range of business activities and is firmly committed to farming and rural businesses throughout Cornwall providing a range of support programmes to help improve performance and investigate new business opportunities.

They also report the highest number of people looking to start a new business approached them last year. Bob Dow says: "2,880 individuals were actively considering setting up their own business in Cornwall. They have been given essential advice and support through our partnership with the local Enterprise Agency network.”

Business Link has actively been pursuing budding entrepreneurs by working with local community groups and running Start-Up Road-Shows, which appeared in 15 supermarket car parks and town centres across Cornwall last autumn and this spring. 850 businesses did take the plunge and will receive ongoing advice to give them the maximum chance of success. Additionally, 2200 businesses have been assisted in the adoption of broadband technology through actnow, an Objective One project.

Bob DowBusiness Link Devon and Cornwall's chief executive Bob Dow pictured in Bodmin with a copy of Business Link's latest performance results

"We have worked hard to place the needs of businesses at the forefront of any development activity,” explains Bob Dow. "We work closely with Objective One, which has provided the means to expand our service and undertake innovative projects across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We continue to work with the Learning and Skills Council and South West Regional Development Agency to ensure consistency of strategy and activity. Over the last 12 months we have delivered more assistance and impact to more businesses at our highest ever level of customer satisfaction. In a rapidly developing market place we believe that this is the ideal position on which to develop even higher levels of support to local businesses.” He added: "Our focus for the next twelve months remains strongly on helping even more owner managers and entrepreneurs improve their business performance and become more competitive. Day-to-day support will be combined with improving skills, introducing best practice, encouraging innovation and stimulating a culture of enterprise. It is a challenging objective but one which, based on the commitment, expertise and experience of our staff and partners, I am sure we will achieve.”

Peter Castell, Business Support Manager at Combined Universities in Cornwall, commented at the event: "All business support organisations in Cornwall have to work in partnership to find the right vehicle to achieve success for businesses in the county, we need to work together in a joined up way to ensure it’s achievable.”

For further information contact press officer Carolyn Daw on 01566 771863 or 07866 697057 or email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link Devon and Cornwall through the Developing Business Support Network project with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); the Rural Business Support Initiative and Rural Diversification Capital Grant projects, both through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and the actnow project through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the DTI's Small Business Service. Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web www.blinkdandc.com and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally it provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners. Business Link has received Objective One investment (European Regional Development Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve performance and grow.

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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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