A team led by the University of Exeter are looking into new ways that small businesses can adapt to make the most of all the untapped local talent pools, by employing more people who are ageing, who have a long-term health condition, and/or a disability.
The Inclusivity Project works alongside the LEP’s Beacon project, extending the evidence base for inclusivity and promoting business innovation for workplace wellbeing.
Why is this crucial to Cornwall’s small business future?
This is an issue that affects every business, because of the upward trend in the UK’s older population. The ageing population is rising more sharply in Cornwall’s rural population than in urban areas. Of course, illness, mental illness and disability, which often develop while people are at work, increase with age too.
Recruiting and replacing key team members is costly, and staff absence can hit small businesses very hard, so it’s vital that Cornwall gets its SMEs ahead of the curve.
How does the Inclusivity Project work?
The Inclusivity Project has a business support team, offering 1:1 support and opportunities to develop new workplace wellbeing products and services with the support of University of Exeter experts from the fields of health and business.
Additionally, The Inclusivity Project will be supporting new tech-assisted solutions. If businesses have an idea for a digitally-supported product, process or service that can enhance workplace wellbeing, The Inclusivity Project would love to collaborate.
Meanwhile, back at the University of Exeter…
As well as supporting small businesses with practical support, The Inclusivity Project also has a research team. Three key pieces of research are underway which aim to understand the barriers to inclusive employment and hear the small business perspective in more detail, and more thoroughly, than ever before.
The project also has a Policy Adviser, helping findings contribute to government policy nationally.
Who’s behind The Inclusivity Project?
The research team are working together with local groups (disAbility Cornwall, Age UK Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, the Local Enterprise Partnership, and the South West Academic Health Science Network), with the support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The Inclusivity Project is initiated by the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, and is based at the Knowledge Spa in Truro. It unites experts from the university’s medical school together with its business school, called Impact, Innovation and Business.
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