The Challenge

How to create a business support start-up programme for social enterprises based in and supporting the challenges of Cornwall.

Running & delivering start up support sessions

Helping develop businesses of all sizes with values at the heart of what they do




2015 – 2018


Real Ideas Organisation, Cornwall Neighbourhoods 4 ChangeSchool for Social Entrepreneurs

The RIO solution 

During the 3 years of the programme we engaged with many people who approached the notion of social enterprise from a very broad spectrum. Some came with a specific social problem to tackle, whilst others had a business idea that they wanted to apply in a community. 

Over the years we have supported client Hannah Pearce to open what she plans to be the first of many stores aiming to revolutionise the way we shop on the high street and reducing plastic waste with brad Un_Rap.

Under the Engine Room programme, Par Track helped a group of local administrators understand the need for a commercial element to enable the track to have a life beyond the Council and have successfully run and improved the community leisure centre.

The Engine Room was not just about financial success stories. Some cases, such as The Real Junkfood Project, are examples of models which have been adopted at a local level to carry out important work. Jess Sneyd has taken her passion and expertise in catering to tackle two main problems; food waste from the retail sector and feeding people who cannot afford to eat properly.

So many of the people we work with have a very specific skill-set or passion that makes the day to day work they aim to carry out a matter of course. The worries experienced by several such enterprises were to do with governance and the legal side. As a result of our guidance, over 20 new CIC’s have been registered, as well as half a dozen more individuals being registered with HMRC as self-employed for the first time.

RIO are still supporting Cornish social enterprise start ups, please contact us if you have any queries. Alternatively, Growth Skills Hub, are also offering  help from funding to strategy, leadership and marketing.

Stats and Facts

  • Start-up’s supported – 37
  • New businesses supported – 58
  • Increases in employment – 40.76 (full time equivalent)
  • New to firm products – 16
How The Project Was Received

I felt like I wasn’t alone at the start of a fairly scary journey. There was someone to talk things through with that was genuinely rooting for me and my success, knew their stuff and was able to guide and challenge really well. The support was broad and easily accessible whenever I needed it. Easily the best part of the Engine Room for me was having an advocate in my corner. I definitely wouldn’t be doing what I do without them.

Amy Fox Fox Project

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