As a law firm with its roots firmly here in the South West, at Stephens Scown we believe the calibre of businesses and level of innovation in the region are often underestimated.

Some people in London still wrongly think of the South West as a sleepy backwater, whereas those of us who work here know it is home to companies who rank alongside the very best in a wide variety of sectors. In some cases, their regional identity is an essential part of their growth story.

Many of the images which spring to mind when people think of Devon and Cornwall are, of course, sources of pride for us – from stunning coastlines to the rugged beauty of Dartmoor. The key is to use this association as a chance to highlight the region’s credentials as a fantastic place to live, work and grow a business.

As the region looks to the future at the South West Growth Summit, it is right that we think about how we can exploit our distinctive assets to reach new markets, create employment and increase productivity.

We know from working with many businesses here that the region’s geography can be an asset when it comes to attracting talented staff and marketing your products or services. This can apply to professional services, as well as sectors like tourism and food and drink.

Our Love Where You Live campaign celebrates our special corner of the world, and we have encouraged staff and clients to get involved by sharing their favourite places and experiences. We chose to do this because the firm has grown up here, as have many of our people, and we find many clients like working with advisors who understand the region.

So, when we were named UK Law Firm of the Year at the British Legal Awards 2016, we saw it as another step in putting the South West on the map. While focusing on our regional identity has helped us to succeed, we have seen many of our clients do the same in a variety of ways.

Rustler Yachts was established in 1985 and now employs 45 people at its site between Falmouth and Penryn, making beautiful, hand crafted vessels which are sold around the world. This success is thanks in no small part to the firm’s Cornish location, with Falmouth Bay providing a picturesque backdrop in marketing materials, while customers always enjoy coming to visit.

Sandford Orchards has grown to employ 16 people since Barny Butterfield started making cider as a hobby in 2003. The rich, fertile red soil around Crediton produces perfect cider apples, which the company sources from local orchards, as well as its own. Taking this produce and turning it into a quality craft cider with a strong brand, Barny is now selling this most traditional of West Country drinks to China, the US and Russia.

Palstone Lodges is reaping the dividends of investing in landscaping and planting over 30 years to create a stunning holiday lodge site on the fringes of Dartmoor. The business has evolved from a caravan and camping site into its current impressive form in response to the Okehampton bypass, which meant fewer people stopping off on their way to Cornwall. Realising it needed to change to survive, Matt and Sally Morgan saw an opportunity afforded by the landscape near South Brent to create a haven for holiday home owners. They were also keen to help mitigate the impact of second home ownership on small communities by providing an alternative for those who love the area but are not able to live here all year round.

We look forward to continuing to support the Back the South West campaign by seizing every opportunity to shout about the many business success stories happening right now in our wonderful part of the world.

Michael Beadel is a partner in the real estate team and chairman of Stephens Scown. To contact Michael, please call 01872 265100, email or visit

This article was first published in the Western Morning News on 19 October 2017

Photograph courtesy of Rustler Yachts