Catalysing business growth: Collaboration in Cornwall

The brief

Businesses today are discovering that collaboration and partnership are important elements in growing their enterprise. But this discovery – that what works well for big firms also works for small – is not an obvious step for SMEs. Many miss out on the benefits of collaboration – and finding, assessing and developing such collaborations is also time-consuming and challenging for the vast majority.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by YTKO Group, Partner to Succeed was established in 2008 with a three-year mission: to create and execute the right strategy to help small businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly leverage the benefits of quality collaborations, and, in so doing, become bigger players in competitive markets, creating jobs and economic growth.

Our response

Informed by the significant experience of cross-sector innovation, partnership and supply chain development in YTKO Group’s Norfolk Network, Partner to Succeed’s strategy was first to promote the concept of collaboration – sharing knowledge, risks and rewards – to deliver sustainable growth and market expansion, and then to provide knowledgeable, informed support, to facilitate and strengthen such partnerships.

By encouraging businesses to trade traditional silo-thinking for more flexible strategic alliances; to be less guarded and more open to joint ventures, Partner To Succeed helped all parties benefit mutually by their collaboration. The team equipped entrepreneurs, start-ups and small firms with the right tools to compete on level terms with big-budget corporate competitors.

From researching new markets, business-planning and grant-sourcing, to identifying and short-listing suitable partners and developing all-new supply chains, the Partner to Succeed team supported businesses throughout the collaboration process: allying skills, competencies and capacity with those of suppliers, customers, and competitors.

Results

Partner to Succeed’s commitment to collaboration proved highly effective as a strategy for engaging across all sectors with ambitious, growing businesses in the South West.

Working in partnership to mobilise new skills and technologies, improve productivity, reduce costs, develop new products and markets and increase profitable sales revenues, nearly 400 companies in Cornwall engaged with Partner to Succeed over three years.

Many outstanding collaborations have resulted, including an innovative new world-class product that combines the high quality computer generated imagery (CGI) skills of Hayle-based TigerX, with the mine surveying expertise of 3DSMi. The result of this collaboration is the application of 3D technologies that optimise mine development and production for Anglo American in South Africa.

And as a result of Partner to Succeed’s success, increasing business collaboration is one of the key priorities for the region’s new LEP going forward.