Great Business

Explore a region of innovative businesses, from exciting scaleups to global players.

Clean energy

As the only UK region with access to all renewable resources, the Great South West offers unparalleled potential for clean energy production.

Geothermal Engineering’s United Downs project in Cornwall is the first geothermal power plant in the UK, set to deliver 3MWe of vital renewable electricity and up to 10MW of zero-carbon heat by 2025.

Innovative clean energy companies are tapping into the region’s green hydrogen opportunities. Carlton Power’s Langage Green Hydrogen park is a pioneering project that harnesses renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen fuel for businesses, particularly energy-intensive industries and transport fleets.

At Hinkley Point C, EDF Energy is building two new nuclear reactors, providing zero-carbon electricity for around six million homes. The major long-term development of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea is well underway. Along with the likes of Smart Energy Islands in the Isles of Scilly, and Poole Bay offshore wind farm, the Great South West could be a net energy exporter, and produce 80% from low carbon sources, by 2030.

Food and farming

The region’s fertile soils, mild climate, and extensive coastline provide the perfect environment for a diverse range of high-quality produce. A major farming region, the local food and drink sector generates over £7 billion annually and supports over 119,000 jobs, from small-scale artisanal producers and agri-tech firms to large-scale manufacturers and exporters.

This thriving sector makes our region uniquely positioned to contribute to the UK's food security, by promoting sustainable farming practices, and supporting a diverse and resilient food supply chain.

Aquaculture is projected to be the prime source of seafood by 2030, creating a global market of £200 billion. The region's natural resources and research facilities make it an ideal location to support the increasing demand for sustainable seafood production. We are home to many key players including Wester Ross Salmon, the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, and the Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures.

Agritech in the Great South West is transforming the food and drink sector with smarter tools, with a focus on sustainable farming, precision agriculture technologies, and solutions for food production and distribution. Our agritech SMEs generate over £371 million annually.

Defence

The Great South West has been the UK’s defence hub for centuries, home to world-leading defence companies, research centres, and national capabilities in the supporting marine, aerospace, manufacturing, maritime, technology, photonics, aviation and space sectors.

The region is home to the South West Regional Defence & Security Cluster, Western Europe’s largest naval base, the UK’s first Marine Enterprise Zone at Oceansgate, Smart Sound Plymouth, and ports and docks along the region’s 700 miles of coastline.

The Plymouth & South Devon Freeport, one of eight in the UK, will create globally impactful clusters and a UK Innovation Superpower, and is prime for growing marine, maritime security and renewables businesses.

World-class facilities including the Marine Business Technology Centre, Marine-I, and Defence BattleLab are driving innovation, and the area’s supply chain provides opportunities to test and deploy technologies in real-world settings. The Electronics & Photonics Innovation Centre in Torbay provides facilities for emerging marine, defence and space technologies, and the region is home to national assets such as the UK Hydrographic Office and the Met Office.

This unrivalled access to a rich maritime legacy, skilled workforce and world-class research facilities helps hundreds of businesses in the defence and supporting industries thrive. Thales is at the forefront of the next revolution in naval technology, developing autonomous maritime systems. Defence BattleLab is helping to bring new solutions to defence industry challenges; and Atlas Elektronik is a leading provider of technology solutions to the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy.

Tech metals

The Great South West’s assets, including unrivalled clean energy projects and a gigafactory to produce electric vehicle batteries, will be vital to the country’s electric vehicle supply chain, and delivering the UK’s net zero ambitions.

The region is home to the UK’s only lithium mines, the crucial tech metal needed to produce batteries for electric vehicles. An estimated 80,000 tonnes of the metal is needed by 2035. Planned projects in Cornwall alone could provide up to 40,000 tonnes a year.

As the demand for clean energy technologies and electric vehicles grows, the demand for minerals such as lithium and cobalt could increase by 500%, by 2050.

Cornish Lithium is developing two methods for responsible lithium extraction, to provide a secure and responsible domestic supply. Cornish Metals is also working to reopen the South Crofty tin mine, while Imerys - world leader in mineral-based specialities - extracts kaolin (China clay) extraction and processing, making the UK the third largest kaolin producer and exporter in the world.