Author: Shuks Esmene, University of Exeter

This recent workshop held at Trebah Garden on 20th February 2020 brought together Cornwall-based small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), University of Exeter academics, business-facing delegates from the voluntary sector and community interest companies to discuss ‘shared growth’. Currently, the concept of shared growth is at an early stage of theoretical development. Its main premise is to promote idea sharing amongst businesses around innovative products and services that also address societal issues. This is particularly pertinent to new products and services that are complimentary to a circular economy (click the link to find out more about circular economies). The idea was presented on the day to co-develop insights relating to its practical application in Cornwall, UK.

The multi-actor environment at the event provided some extremely valuable feedback. Interestingly, it was evident that idea sharing and clustering around certain societal issues was already taking place. However, the audience presented that a support structure involving the following would cultivate trust between businesses to encourage idea sharing:

i) policy guidance

ii) signposting to training opportunities 

iii) individuals acting as navigators between SMEs, academics and the voluntary sector

These insights will no doubt aid the development of ‘shared growth’ as a concept and its potential application in Cornwall, UK.

Finally, the workshop connected the attendees to the University of Exeter’s Innovation, Impact and Businesses (IIB) department, Real Ideas Organisation and Cornwall Essential Oils Ltd. Through these connections, businesses will have an opportunity to access:

i) key contacts at the University of Exeter that can advise on and facilitate potential collaborations

ii) RIO’s training and support activities relating to socially and environmentally responsible business

iii) Cornwall Essential Oils Ltd.’s knowledge and experiences on business-to-business training across supply chains


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