CORNWALL is to become the UK’s first rural Social Enterprise Zone (SEZ), aimed at attracting investment and creating an “entrepreneurial culture”.
It will see business, social enterprise and the public sector work together in new and innovative ways to create a “more sustainable place to live, work and play”, county leaders hope.
The scheme will be officially launched on Tuesday, December 10, at the Eden Project by the minister for civil society, Nick Hurd.
He said: “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.”
A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies for the benefit of communities and the environment, rather than maximising profits for external shareholders.
Businesses and organisations across the county are working together to achieve the SEZ vision, including Cornwall College, the Eden Project, Fifteen Cornwall, the Real Ideas Organisation and the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
Jon Rolls from Cornwall College, who has helped create the zone, 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.”
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. 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."