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13.06.05
actnow Honours the Unsung Heroes of the Cornish Broadband Revolution

actnow, the pioneering Objective One partnership project set up to spearhead the growth of broadband amongst businesses in Cornwall, has instigated Cornwall's first ever awards scheme to recognise the major breakthroughs being made by local businesses through use of broadband and information and communications technology (ICT).

Nominations for the 2005 actnow awards were invited from Cornish businesses, in five different categories including 'most innovative use of broadband' and 'most improved business through the use of ICT'. Businesses shortlisted for an award have been invited to attend a lunch reception on June 21st at Fistral Blu in Newquay. Winners of each category will receive a prize worth £500.

The categories are:

1. Most innovative use of broadband. Shortlisted businesses are The Rosslyn Hotel (Falmouth), Locally Ltd (Truro), Gaudi's (Truro), DF and MJ Rider (Truro), Enact Energy (Camborne).
2. Best website. Shortlisted businesses are The Bear Mill (Redruth), Elixir Healthfoods (Wadebridge), Hidden House Bulbs (St Austell), Bluefish Promotions (St Austell) and Audio Therapy DnB Jungle UK (Callington).
3. Most improved business through the use of broadband and ICT. Shortlisted businesses are The Financial Advice Centre (Par), Neutralize (Camborne), Barlows Cycles and Hire (St Austell), Langmans Restaurant (Callington) and Rally.Nuts.com (Truro).
4. Best agricultural use of broadband – best use of broadband and ICT by a farm business. Shortlisted businesses are Chyreen Fruit Farm (Truro), Menawicket Farm (Lostwithiel), Ruses Mill (Launceston), Folly Farm (Penzance) and J Congdon and Sons (Saltash).
5. Best use of broadband to improve accessibility. Shortlisted businesses are Spanish Dreams 2 Reality (Truro), Mor Design (Falmouth), Nalders Solicitors (Truro), Preston Goldburn Solicitors (Falmouth) and Kimberleys Estate Agents (Falmouth).

The £20 million actnow partnership was set up in April 2002 with the aim of promoting economic advancement in Cornwall through the use of broadband technology and ICT. So far, nearly 6000 businesses have received advice and financial assistance through the project, which has attracted international interest as it is one of the most successful ever projects designed to stimulate broadband use.

Nigel Ashcroft, project director of actnow says: "Amongst the thousands of businesses in Cornwall which are benefiting from actnow, there are a few which stand out as really breaking new ground and using broadband to completely transform their business and the way they work. It is businesses like these which are the real heroes. They show what can be achieved and are an inspiration to others. We want to honour the achievements of these unsung heroes through the 2005 actnow Awards."

It is estimated that nearly 1700 jobs have been created and that Cornwall's gross domestic product has benefited by more than £20 million. John Berry, Managing Director of Cornwall Enterprise, the lead partner in actnow, says: "actnow is helping to develop a more knowledge based economy that we see as the future for Cornwall. The businesses which have been shortlisted for the 2005 actnow awards are the kind of businesses we want to see more of in the future. They are leading the way and creating a bright new Cornwall."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership in Cornwall said: "actnow has been one of the major successes of Objective One. It has brought about a step change in Cornwall meaning thousands of businesses in the region can now compete globally because of the high speed Internet access. It is a key project on the road to a more knowledge-based economy and these rewards reflect that."

For more information contact Emma Lydon, of actnow on 01209 722850.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in actnow through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

The actnow programme is a demand-led initiative to encourage businesses in Cornwall to gain the support they need to move into the new broadband economy. Including about £5.25 million from Objective One, it is one of the largest private and public sector partnerships in Cornwall since the county was granted Objective One status by the European Union in 2000.

The partnership comprises Cornwall Enterprise, BT, South West of England Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council, Business Link, Cornwall College and DEFRA.

Broadband operates at much higher speeds than a standard internet connection with products up to 40 times faster. Products can be ordered from a range of service providers.

For more information contact Emma Lydon, of actnow, on 01209 722850.

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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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