Four Inspiring Examples of Tech Innovation in Cornwall

Nick Orme, May 15, 2019

Wrongly dismissed as a county with simple seaside towns, Cornwall is often seen as lagging behind the rest of the UK. But, the following points reveal how Cornwall is one of the UK's leading technology centres...

When you think about Cornwall, what springs to mind? We bet it’s cream tea and pasties or sandy beaches and summer holidays. Are we right?

But there’s another side to sunny Cornwall… Despite being one of the UK’s least populous and most rural counties (its only city is Truro, with a population of fewer than 20,000), the UK’s most Southwestern county is a hive for tech creativity and exciting digital innovation.

As part of our new blog series on surprising tech hubs in the UK, we’ve put together these four inspiring examples of Cornish tech success stories...

1. Super-Fast Connectivity

One of the things that holds back tech innovation in lots of rural areas is poor connectivity – but that’s not the case in Cornwall. Back in 2010, BT announced a project to bring fibre-optic broadband to homes and businesses across the area. Five years later, 95% of homes and businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly had access to the same superfast broadband speeds as big cities across the world.

Cornwall has since become a model for the astonishing impact that effective connectivity can have on businesses. In 2016 Tech Nation reported that a cluster of digital economy organisations around Truro, Redruth and Cambourne was the second-fastest growing in the entire UK, with turnover going up by 153% from 2010.

2. Business-Boosting Tech Support

All businesses, not just those in the tech sector, need specialised tech support to thrive – and in Cornwall there are organisations that offer exactly that.

Software Cornwall is a notable example. It’s an open and collaborative group of technology based businesses, education providers and business support organisations that connect, support and promote the growing tech community in Cornwall. They’ve achieved some impressive feats, not least providing networking and representation opportunities to the likes of Crowdfunder, Launchpad, FibreCRM and many more.

As Belinda Walcock, Co-founder at Software Cornwall, says: "Cornwall has always been a world leader in engineering and exporter of quality engineering talent and innovation; from mining and rail, through to telecommunications, marine engineering, and more recently renewables technology.  

"Cornwall has the potential to become a significant global player within the next generation of 21C Digital Engineering. Over the past 10 years we have seen it provide the new businesses, high skilled jobs and product innovations that our communities need."

Of course, we couldn’t talk about the organisations offering specialised tech support in Cornwall without mentioning ourselves. At ITEC Cornwall, we provide technology managed services that help Cornish businesses do what they do best, free from tech headaches.

Our dedicated team in Redruth provide 24/7 support 365 days a year, meaning businesses in the area don’t have to wait for days or weeks for face-to-face support when they need it most. Whether Cornish businesses need a new IT strategy, managed print in Cornwall, managed IT in Cornwall or managed cloud services in Cornwall, ITEC has a bespoke solution.

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3. Tech Sector Growth Officially "Impressive"

It’s not just us here at ITEC Cornwall shouting about the tech innovation in this wonderful county. Last year, Cornwall’s tech sector was singled out for ’impressive growth’.

According to the Tech Nation report, Cornwall’s digital connectivity, quality of life and helpful tech community are key strengths and the tech sector ‘shows no sign of slowing down’.

The report also identified that 2,368 people in the area are working in digital tech occupations and that digital tech businesses in this cluster have a turnover of £50 million, generating £93.4 million for the local economy in GVA (Gross Value Added).

4. Reaching for the Stars

Even the sky isn’t the limit for tech innovation in Cornwall. The county’s technology industry is quite literally reaching for the stars, with an announcement in 2018 that the Goonhilly Earth Station will receive an £8.4 million investmentThe money will establish Goonhilly as the world’s first commercial deep-space communications station, capable of tracking future missions to the Moon and Mars. Not bad for a small, coastal county, right?  

If you're a Cornish organisation looking to make the most of Cornwall's innovation, join us at Future Tech Cornwall here.

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