After almost four years at Pool Innovation Centre (PIC), a Cornish accountancy practice is moving into its own business premises for the first time.

Catherine Bennett Ltd graduated from the business acceleration centre to new premises just a few miles away in Solomon Road.

Chartered accountant and business owner Catherine Bennett said: “The innovation centre is a vibrant community of dynamic businesses which we are proud to have been a part of.

“It felt like a family – we were looked after and nurtured the whole time we were there and I can definitely say we are a stronger and more robust company for it.”

Bennett doubled the size of her business during her time at PIC, taking on three extra staff members and gaining clients by networking within the centre.

“As a small business owner, just being at the centre made life easier,” she said. “Practically, I didn’t have to think about providing the essentials to make our office tick or whether the network cables were in the right place. It was all taken care of and allowed me to focus on growing my business.

“We took advantage of the lovely working environment, using the café and the on-site business support and mentoring.

“We only left due to the commercial benefits and investment in our future that our own building will give us.”

PIC is one of three Cornwall Innovation Centres operated by the University of Plymouth on behalf of Cornwall Council to help businesses capitalise on their growth potential and create sustainable, high quality new jobs for the region.

It is home to 37 fast-growing companies, including Headforwards and Everest Media. There are now more than 200 people working directly from the centre.

Matt Harrington, head of the Cornwall Innovation Centres, said:We are delighted Catherine and her team have made the big step of moving into their own premises. Whilst we’re naturally sorry to see businesses leave the centre, we’re happy when it’s for the right reasons.

“It is enormously rewarding for our team to see how the support we provide, coupled with the state-of-the-art facilities, is helping Cornish businesses to grow, expand and reach their full potential at a far faster rate.”

Pool Innovation Centre opened first in 2010 followed by Tremough Innovation Centre in Penryn in 2012 and finally the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre in 2013. Together the three business acceleration centres have been ranked as amongst the best in the world by UK Business Incubation (UKBI), achieving INSPIRE accreditation.

The three centres are currently home to 150 companies and have helped create 169 new jobs last year.

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