Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 17:21

Cornwall Social Enterprise Zone to launch at the Eden Project on December 10

Cornwall is a place that has long been at the forefront of innovation, but still faces huge challenges, in regards to financial wellbeing and social inclusion.  Despite over 10 years of major EU investment, household incomes in Cornwall remain the lowest in the UK.

Businesses and organisations across Cornwall, to include Cornwall College, the Eden Project, Fifteen Cornwall, the Real Ideas Organisation and the School for Social Entrepreneurs are now working together to create the first rural Social Enterprise Zone in the UK.

The Cornwall Social Enterprise Zone, will be officially launched on Tuesday 10th December, in a ceremony at the Eden Project by the Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd: “At a time when we need new solutions, it is right to get behind our social entrepreneurs. Cornwall is rich in social enterprise and innovation.  So it is right that it should be home to the first rural social enterprise zone in the country. Where Cornwall leads, I hope other regions will follow as the social enterprise and investment movement grows in this country.”

The new SE Zone will mark Cornwall’s commitment to creating an entrepreneurial culture to drive growth, based on people and planet. It’s also hoped it will help attract investment and deliver sustainable prosperity for all.

Jon Rolls from Cornwall College, who has helped local social enterprise leaders to bring the Zone into being said: “Cornwall is not just a holiday destination, it’s a place to do a different kind of business and we need to celebrate the fact that we have some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial people and organisations in the UK, who want to make Cornwall a more sustainable place to live, work and play.”

The Cornwall Social Enterprise Zone will help encourage greater inclusion and innovation across communities; developing entrepreneurial solutions to public sector challenges.

Lindsey Hall from the Real Ideas Organisation said: "Cornwall has a unique history. It is a place where creating jobs and supporting communities is intrinsically linked; where visionary mavericks take industrial wastelands and transform them into business engines and places that make your soul sing; where doing good business is about doing good. The Cornwall Social Enterprise Zone champions this way of working and challenges it to go further; bringing business, social enterprise and the public sector together to build economic prosperity and a brilliant quality of life for all."

The Cornwall Social Enterprise Zone is part of a national campaign to recognise Social Enterprise Places and is awarded by SEUK, the national body for Social Enterprise.  CEO of SEUK, Peter Holbrook commented: “Cornwall remains to be one of the most dynamic places in the UK for social enterprise; it benefits from excellent leaders that are driving economic growth in harmony with local community benefit. Cornwall’s status as a social enterprise zone means that business leaders, politicians and public agencies recognize that social enterprise has a key role to play in shaping the future of Cornwall through job creation, business growth, building community resilience and safeguarding the county’s outstanding natural beauty. This is an outstanding achievement.”