The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has announced a £2 million investment to create a dynamic new workspace on Newquay’s seafront.

The C-Space project will fuse business space with a local produce café and bar, events venue, production studio and retail showcase, by partially converting Hotel Sunnyside, Newquay. 

C-Space is a collaboration between Newquay-based Crowdfunder, the Cornwall Food Foundation, which manages the Fifteen Cornwall restaurant and apprentice chef programme at Watergate Bay, and the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) which has a track record for developing creative, multi-use spaces in landmark buildings and supporting social enterprise.

C-Space will become the permanent home for Crowdfunder’s expanding business, with 30-40 staff. Since 2014 Crowdfunder has raised over £55 million for projects across the UK and expects to raise £200 million by 2020.  

There will be business space for permanent tenants, and start-up and incubation space for fledgling businesses, many of which are expected to be funded through the crowd. Support will come from RIO, which has extensive experience of innovating and incubating enterprises, especially in the creative and cultural industries.

Hot desks will allow new businesses to rub shoulders with established businesses and major brands, including national Crowdfunder clients like Virgin, GoDaddy and M&S, who will be encouraged to use the space. A fully equipped studio will be used for online training, webinars and project broadcasts.

Rob Love, executive chairman at Crowdfunder UK, said: “We’re really proud to be bringing something unique to Newquay – giving Crowdfunder a dynamic accessible presence in Cornwall’s most exciting town and catalysing new opportunities for the whole community.  “We want to work with Newquay and our partners around the world to attract a host of new business to join us in crafting a unique, world-class ‘ideas factory’ in the C-Space which will become the ultimate workspace by the sea.”

LEP Chief Executive Glenn Caplin said: “C-Space will be a huge asset for Cornwall, a place to forge a community of collaborators where ideas can be fostered and funded, creating businesses and jobs. The project partners have a track record of creating quality, well-paid jobs and helping people without qualifications or skills to progress. It will be a multifunctional workspace and venue that anyone can use, and a vibrant hub for Newquay.”

Stephens Scown LLP has advised Crowdfunder on the transaction with Tim Lane advising on legal issues around the funding and Ben Wheeler advising on the real estate aspects of the deal. 

Tim Lane, a solicitor in the corporate team at Stephens Scown LLP said: “The best part of my job is helping clients to bring their ideas into reality, and with this project in particular the wider benefits to the community in Newquay and Cornwall as a whole are incredibly exciting. Any project involving public funding will have its own complexities, so it is very satisfying to have helped Crowdfunder to navigate this. I look forward to seeing the ideas that are generated at C-Space over the coming months.”

PKF Francis Clark’s Andrew James who assisted with elements of the application for funding, commented: “I am very excited about the potential for this project to be transformational for Newquay and the wider Cornish economy. Also, personally I am excited about the collaborative elements of the project – particularly as they involve a number of sectors I, and others at PKF Francis Clark, are engaged in including Fin Tech, Food and Drink and Start Up businesses. It was a pleasure working with Rob and the other partners on this project and I must say I was wowed with the project when first described to me and the team did an excellent job in getting that wow factor across in the application for funding. It bodes well for project delivery.”

Work on C-Space is expected to begin in November, including the creation of a ‘showroom’ where local people can drop in and find out more about the project as work progresses. The hope is that C-Space will be up and running by summer of next year.