Latest Business news and updates for Plymouth businesses

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Plymouth business news

10 December 2021

Please find below an overview of the latest business advice and guidance. In today's newsletter you will find news and updates including:

  • SailGP returning to Britain’s Ocean City in 2022
  • Major milestone reached for proposed Plymouth and South Devon Freezone
  • Plymouth Boost: the new free digital upskilling programme for SMEs run by Cosmic
  • Environmental support for businesses
  • Further measures against Omicron variant come into effect
  • Great match for Argyle at Haxter Court
  • BIT Group launches new IT, Cyber and Information Security apprenticeship service
  • Latest news from iMayflower
  • £1,000 grant opportunity for businesses
  • The Box wins Abercrombie Award
  • Trading with the EU
  • Blue Carbon Artist in Residence aims to strengthen links between city and sea
  • Events
  • Funding streams

If you have any specific concerns or are in need of support, please contact us.


SailGP returning to Britain’s Ocean City in 2022

Adrenaline is set to be pumping throughout Plymouth Sound next July, as the world’s most exciting racing on-water returns to the city.

SailGP will host its Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth for the second year running, following a bumper event in 2021, which saw an estimated 27,500 spectators enjoying the spectacle that brought £6.9 million into the local economy.

The thrilling racing is set to take place on 30 and 31 July 2022. Plymouth is one of the initial eight locations confirmed on the line-up for SailGP Season 3, which also includes stops in Bermuda, Chicago, Saint-Tropez and Dubai.

As the first climate positive sports and entertainment property, SailGP will continue to push boundaries in the global event industry and its ‘Race for the Future’. Since its inception in 2019, SailGP has been measuring, reducing and contributing its entire carbon footprint and has set an ambitious target of 55 per cent reduction of its carbon footprint – based on science – by 2025, as well as committing to being fully powered by nature by 2025 on shore and on the water.

In 2021, SailGP partnered with Plymouth based Ocean Conservation Trust to connect sport and conservation, with a programme of free engagement and educational opportunities, a mammal protection plan for the racing weekend and the restoration of seagrass meadows in Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.

For 2022 – alongside continuing this important conservation and development work aligned to the National Marine Park – the city will also sign the league’s Climate Action Charter, committing to local impact projects that focus on clean energy impact and wider ocean conservation.

As part of SailGP’s better sport strategy, diversity and inclusion will also be a continued focus during Season 3. This includes giving opportunities to female athletes as part of its Women’s Pathway Program to accelerate inclusion within the sport and inspire change.

SailGP will also use its community-engagement arm – SailGP Inspire – to introduce young people from diverse backgrounds to the sport and give career opportunities within the wider marine industry.

During 2021, 120 local young people enjoyed sailing experiences thanks to the Inspire programme and a legacy programme with local sailing organisations ensured the event had a long-term impact, offering a further 480 on-water experiences to young people from Plymouth.

Find out more here

Council leaders of the proposed Freezone

Major milestone reached for proposed Plymouth and South Devon Freezone

Plans to create a Plymouth and South Devon Freezone which will unlock millions of pounds worth of public and private investment as well as create thousands of jobs has reached a key milestone with the submission of the Outline Business Case to Government.

Plymouth City Council, in partnership with South Hams District Council and Devon County Council, have now submitted the document to the Government following months of close working between public and private sectors to develop a business case that supports local, national and international businesses to leverage the benefits of being part of the region’s only Freezone.

The Plymouth and South Devon Freezone outline business case submission focuses on the city’s high value engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors and builds on Plymouth’s strengths in marine and defence specialisms and further develops opportunities in the space sector. It will be a regional hub for trade and investment, jobs and regeneration and be committed to clean growth.

A Freeport is a designated area within UK borders where different economic regulations apply. The Plymouth and South Devon Freezone satisfies HM Government criteria of being within a 45km radius of the port of Plymouth and as such includes three key sites at South Yard, Langage and Sherford.

The Government are keen to develop a highly ambitious, world leading Freeports model which will include a comprehensive package of measures, comprising tax reliefs, customs, business rates retention, planning, regeneration, innovation and trade and investment support. Plymouth and South Devon are just one of eight proposed Freeports currently in England and the only one in the South West region.

Find out more here

Digital Boost Plymouth

Plymouth Boost: the new free digital upskilling programme for SMEs run by Cosmic

Do you feel the changes in digital technology are happening at too fast a pace? Or are you or your team in need of a little top up, a friendly exchange or a refresh of your digital marketing and sale skills?

Then Plymouth Boost, the new digital upskilling programme delivered by a team of digital experts at Cosmic is here to help.

Run in partnership with Plymouth City Council and designed with small and micro businesses in mind, the programme offers a series of free digital training workshops and one-to-one sessions, presented in a friendly and collaborative way, to help your business reach new customers, increase online sales, promote its brand digitally and gain a competitive advantage in 2022.

Here’s a selection of a taster series of workshops coming up early in the New Year for you to join:

To learn more, explore other available topics and secure your place visit Cosmic’s  Eventbrite page. Alternatively email the Support team on or call 0330 088 3005.

Please note: this initiative is only available until March 31 2022 and is open to any business based in Plymouth. 

Further measures against Omicron variant come into effect

England will now be moving to Plan B to try and control the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. Plan B measures include:

  • Face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues (excluding hospitality) from Friday 10 December
  • Those who can will be advised to work from home from Monday 13 December
  • The NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather from Wednesday 15 December

Find out more here

City landscape

Environmental support for businesses

Organisations taking action is vital for the climate but it can be hard to know where to start. We've pulled together resources that have been compiled to support organisations through the process of taking climate action as well as signposting to several other useful resources.

The resources have been put together to support the actions listed under the environmental theme of the Resurgam Charter, providing advice on how to meet each of the following activities:

  • Have, and implement, a policy on minimising environmental impact through the organisation that includes action on climate.
  • Map the organisations environmental vulnerabilities and integrate adaptation into decision making.
  • Calculate carbon emissions and report them year on year.
  • Reduce the environmental impact of transport 
  • Reduce the impact of buildings.

Find out more here

James Watt and Nick Kelly, Leader of Plymouth City Council

Great match for Argyle at Haxter Court

Council Leader Nick Kelly officially unveiled Haxter Court this week and got a behind the scenes look at Plymouth Argyle’s warehouse, which is now in one of the units.

The four flexible units at Haxter Court, Broadley Park, were built and all let out in the pandemic, showing just how much demand there is for the quality employment space in the city.

Plymouth City Council invested £2.4 million into the 1.65-acre Haxter Court plot which consists of two blocks, providing quality employment space for small, medium and large businesses to lease.

The development consists of four flexible industrial units ranging from 3,750sqft to 22,500sqft and all four units are now let. The industrial estate at Roborough is already home to a significant number of companies including Cittal CSM and Burts Potato Chips.

Haxter Court will further extend the already well-established Broadley Park industrial estate to the north of Plymouth and is in close proximity to Derriford and the new Forder Valley Link Road.

Find out more here

BIT Group

BIT Group launches new IT, Cyber and Information Security apprenticeship service

Devon-based BIT Group is offering a new apprenticeship service for anyone wanting to train and access the world of IT, Cyber and Information Security across the Southwest.

The 12 and 24 month apprenticeship programmes will start in January 2022. In addition to time with an employer, BIT Training is offering the opportunity to work in their Security Operation Centre where those training will gain valuable industry experience that they can take back to their employers.

The programme offers an alternative route into the technology profession and opens the opportunity for organisations to level up and make it accessible to more people.

Find out more here


Latest news from iMayflower

Plymouth is a creative city with a proud track record and growing international reputation for creative digital and immersive tech. We have come together through iMayflower to ensure that Plymouth makes the most of this platform for the benefit of current and future generations living, studying and working here. 

In case you missed it, the latest iMayflower digest includes:

  • Sustainability and Innovation: November's Techstars Startup Weekend, Fab City, Upcycled glass company launch, power of solar energy and digital technology
  • Immersive Experiences: Illuminate 2021, light up Illuminate, 
  • Cultural experiences: The Hatchling; Illuminate Festival, Plymouth immersive lens
  • Extra seasonal celebrations: Funds raised for creative, digital projects, Illuminate and Market Hall recognised on Radio 4's Front Row

Read the full digest here

To receive regular updates about iMayflower, sign up here.

Grant opportunity

£1,000 grant opportunity for businesses

Are you an SME or start up business looking for financial support? Not sure exactly what you need?

If you are looking for new ways to develop and grow your business, then ‘Meet The Expert’ Business Support Programme is for you. The support available is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is completely free to SME’s across Devon.

‘Meet The Expert’ offers a bespoke service: access £1000 fixed sum grant for external consultancy support which could be used to access a variety of advice.

As part of this support package you will also be signposted to local and specialist business support organisations and training providers.

Limited availability, for appointments in 2022 please contact Kate Whitta

Find out more here

The Box

The Box wins Abercrombie Award

The Box, Plymouth's iconic new museum and archive, has been awarded the prestigious Abercrombie Award.

The Abercrombie Awards are hosted by the Council every three years to celebrate the role of groups, architects, designers and building companies in shaping the city.

Named after the architect responsible for the plan to rebuild Plymouth after the Blitz, the awards take a look at a huge range of work from small conversions and projects to transform open spaces to multi-million pound housing or business projects.

A £46 million project opened in September 2020, The Box was chosen as the stand out winner at the awards night on Friday 12 November.

See the full list of winners

Millfield's Trust

Win a furnished office for 6 months!

Millfields Trust offer high-quality office space with flexible terms to suit your business needs. What’s even better? They're a Social Enterprise, ploughing ther profits back into the local community.

As part of giving back, they have teamed up with one of their valued tenants, Services Design Solution; an award-winning engineering consultancy who, like them, appreciate how daunting starting your own business can be.

Millfields Trust are offering one local fledgling business – preferably in the STEM sector – the chance to win a rent-free, furnished office for two people, including:

  • No business rates to pay
  • Free internet access
  • Dedicated mentor and business expert

Applications must be submitted by 22 December 2021.

Find out more here

European Flag

Trading with the EU

HMRC is giving businesses a reminder of what rules of origin are and the upcoming changes to the requirement for supplier declarations to support proof of origin.

Rules of origin for trade between the UK and EU

The UK’s deal with the EU, called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), means that the goods you import or export may benefit from a reduced rate of Customs Duty (tariff preference). To use this, you need proof that the goods you:

  • import from the EU originate there
  • export to the EU originate in the UK.

You can find more information about how to prove the origin of goods you trade between the UK and EU on GOV‌‌.UK.

New requirements for supplier declarations from 1‌‌ ‌January 2022

For some goods, the exporter may also need to hold supplier declarations. Supplier declarations are documents that your supplier provides to you, that help you establish whether the goods you’re exporting meet the product-specific rules of origin. These are needed as supporting evidence to confirm the origin of the goods, when the manufacture alone is not enough to meet the product-specific rules of origin.

From 1‌‌ ‌January 2022, if you issue statements on origin for goods you export to the EU, you must have supplier declarations (where required) at the time you export your goods. More information on when supplier declarations are needed is available on GOV‌‌.UK.

You can find more information about using supplier declarations to support a proof of origin on GOV‌‌.UK.

Where you can get help with importing and exporting

HMRC have a range of webinars and YouTube videos on importing and exporting with the EU that you can watch by going to our help and support for UK transition page.

If you export to the EU, the recently launched government Export Support Service is a free service giving you access to online and phone support. You can access it on GOV.UK or by calling 0300‌‌ ‌303‌‌ ‌8955.

Plymouth Hoe waterfront

Blue Carbon Artist in Residence aims to strengthen links between city and sea

Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, is to become home to the UK’s first Blue Carbon Artist in Residence as it expands its efforts to engage local residents and visitors with the wonders of the marine environment.

Artist Rosie Sherwood will work with people and organisations across the city to create an immersive seagrass experience within the National Marine Aquarium.

Based on scientific and visual research carried out in the city, it will use light, visual arts and sound to showcase an underwater seagrass habitat similar to that found within the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.

With satellite installations across the city, it will aim to raise awareness of seagrass’ ability to store carbon from the environment and to highlight the role blue carbon plays in supporting climate and coastal resilience more widely.

The installations will also aim to spark a city-wide dialogue about the role of local biodiversity in climate change action, and encourage residents to take action to reduce their personal impact on the environment.

Launched in the wake of the COP26 conference in the UK, the Blue Carbon Artist in Residence programme is being led by the University of Plymouth, the Ocean Conservation Trust and Plymouth City Council.

Supported by funding from the Natural Environment Research Council, it will be developed over the next year however it is envisaged the installation will remain in place at the National Marine Aquarium until 2024.

The project builds on the city’s status as one of the world’s most forward-thinking centres for marine research, innovation, education and action.


For further information on the latest events, visit Invest Plymouth's event page.

If you have a Plymouth event you'd like promoted, you can submit your own events here


Digital Boost Plymouth

Cosmic | Online | Multiple dates

Digital Boost Plymouth offers free, fully funded digital skills training to all businesses based in the Plymouth City Council area, until March 31 2022.

A broad range of high-quality, digital skills training is available right now.

Future workshops include:

  • 13 Jan – Making the most of Microsoft 365
  • 19 Jan – Making the most of Microsoft 365 Plymouth Manufacturing Group
  • 27 Jan – Introduction to Paid Online Advertising
  • 10 Feb – Facebook & Instagram Ads
  • 1 Mar – Understanding GDPR & Cyber Security
  • 17 Mar – Instagram: Next Steps
  • 23 Mar – Facebook: Next Steps

Find out more here


Networking on Zoom

Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce | Online | 16 Dec

As the world begins to ease out of the pandemic, things are changing rapidly and you may feel uneasy about returning completely to 'normality'.

The Devon & Plymouth Chamber are here to ensure that none of their members are left behind now that we have started to return to in person events. That's why they would like to welcome you to this networking event on Zoom.

Hosted by their Membership Executive, Samantha Kerswill, everyone will have the chance to introduce themselves before attendees are transferred into smaller rooms to connect with each other on a more personal basis.

There are no speakers for this event - it is purely networking so register now to start connecting.

Find out more here

Funding streams

£7.9m Fund Launched to Help UK SMEs Exhibit at Overseas Tradeshows

The UK Tradeshow Programme (UKTP) is an enhanced tradeshow support service which aims to educate UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) about the benefits of exhibiting at overseas tradeshows.

The Government intends to provide support to between 2,000 and 3,000 businesses per year, to be approved under the scheme from December 2021 to March 2023, within the budget of £7.9 million. All successful applicants will receive training on successfully exhibiting at tradeshows in general, and the specific approved event(s) that they have applied for. Some businesses may also receive a grant of either £2,000 or £4,000 up to 40% of costs as financial support

Applications are now invited from businesses wishing to exhibit at overseas tradeshows. Applications must be made at least six weeks before the start of the event.

Find out more here


Fund to Improve Adult Learning through Technology - New Round Opens Soon

The VocTech Seed Fund provides funding for initiatives that can improve the accessibility and delivery of adult learning through the use of technology.

Funding will be offered to organisations undertaking projects that have the potential for using digital technology in novel and imaginative ways to develop new services or improve access or delivery of adult vocational learning. The programme will help supported ventures to develop their ideas into robust digital products or services.

Successful applicants can each expect to receive grant funding, typically of between £15,000 and £50,000 for projects lasting from three to twelve months.

There will be two VocTech Seed calls in 2022. The first call opens on 12 January 2022. The deadline will be 9 February 2022.

Find out more here

Get involved!

Submit your events

Don't forget you can also share your events FREE on our website, just simply fill in the event submission form.

How your business is adapting to greener solutions

We encourage people to email us at with stories on what they are doing within their business to make tomorrow better than today, by thinking about their environmental benefit. Our business community of almost 8,000 subscribers, are keen to hear how your business has started its journey, seen success or innovated how you do business to adapt new greener solutions?

Find out more about Plymouth's Climate Emergency Action Plan


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