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11.08.05
Cornish Sea Salt All Set For Success With Business Link's New Evoke Service

Tony Fraser (left) and Richard Adams (right) pictured at the old quarry, Porthkerris, proposed site for the new sea salt extraction plantTony Fraser (left) and Richard Adams (right) pictured at the old quarry, Porthkerris, proposed site for the new sea salt extraction plant

Devon and Cornwall's brightest go-getting entrepreneurs and innovators are all set to benefit from a valued package of assistance thanks to Business Link Devon and Cornwall and a new initiative called EVOKE to help companies with high growth potential. EVOKE is a variety of advice, assistance and support for entrepreneurs and inventors with big ideas that have the potential to develop into cutting edge technologies and grow their businesses into multi million pound operations and the next generation of market leaders.

One new business currently benefiting from EVOKE is Cornish Sea Salt Co. where plans are afoot to develop a new sea salt processing plant in a disused aggregate quarry at Porthkerris on the Lizard Peninsula. The project is the brainchild of natural resources specialist, Tony Fraser, whose passion for local history led him to discover that there were three known ancient sea salt works, stemming back to the Iron Age previously located on the Lizard Peninsula. Fuelled by his interest in sustainable businesses Tony started to investigate not only the process for extracting sea salt but he also discovered there was strong market demand for a high quality salt bursting with beneficial trace elements.

Armed with a draft business plan Tony was referred by his Business Link adviser Clare Whitney to the EVOKE program and subsequently to an EVOKE mentor, a chartered accountant, specialising in high growth business set ups. EVOKE was able to assist Tony in turning the draft business plan into a comprehensive 'investment ready' proposition to raise the £1.5million corporate finance required. Theoretically the evaporation process has not changed over the centuries but Tony will be using new innovative energy technology that will make the extraction process more efficient and the business more viable.

Tony found the perfect site at Porthkerris, an old quarry adjacent to the seashore which closed in the 1960's. Working in close consultation with interested parties such as English Nature, The Environment Agency and the local authority, all going well he hopes to be producing pure and natural gourmet sea salt in the spring of next year. Tony says, "EVOKE has added significant value to my business by ensuring that the business plan is an investment ready document, by identifying weaknesses and providing support to address them. The program has ensured that the period from business conception to salt production will be less than two years."

The EVOKE initiative provides access to the highest quality private sector expertise available throughout the UK that will help get the new product or service into the market place as quickly as possible and realise its full business potential. EVOKE also links innovators with academic institutions for support and joint working in areas such as research, testing, endorsement and further development, a vital key to ensure many of the ventures' future success.

Richard Adams, Business Link's EVOKE Manager, says, "EVOKE is principally designed to support the type of businesses operating out of incubation units on science parks and universities, established innovative businesses and individuals looking to build on their industry expertise and go it alone."

"One of our tenants has already benefited from EVOKE," comments Ros Stollard, business development manager, at the Knowledge Spa, Royal Cornwall Hospital. "The advice and support they received has enabled them to move on to the next stage of their development in a strengthened position. The initiative is very valuable to us as we work with these individuals from a very early stage, usually long before they are registered with Companies House. Now we can refer relevant projects to Business Link to ensure they get EVOKE specialist help and support at the offset and the opportunity to link into the CUC's new research and development program.

"EVOKE is targeted at a very small percentage of high value innovators," explains Richard. "These are individuals and businesses that have the potential to become world class market leaders in their field. Support and assistance is tailored to their individual needs to ensure they can maximise their business potential and get their business ideas to the market place as quickly as possible."

EVOKE, delivered by Business Link Devon and Cornwall, is targeted at businesses less than 18 months old or individuals planning a new business that can demonstrate pre-development contracts or business plans that will generate at least £200,000 in the first year of trading and can benefit from business advice and assistance up to a value £10,000. For further information please contact Business Link on 0845 600 9966.

For further information please contact Carolyn Daw of the Marketing-PR Company on 01566 771860 or email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk.

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

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Editor's notes:

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 for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West RDA. 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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