Resource type: Case study

PFA Research

The PFA Research Team with Mike Robertson from SFBC
“Working with Superfast Business Cornwall helped us to realise how we could best utilise technology, understand it and adopt it to boost our own business and launch an exciting new venture for the organisation” Robert Salvoni, PFA Research

A new mobile phone app aimed at gathering the opinions of the public has been launched thanks to support from Superfast Business Cornwall.

What Cornwall Thinks has been created by PFA Research to enable local businesses to access the power of market research at a fraction of the cost of traditional services.

The mobile app, which supports a new digital research website, has been developed with grant funding and support from Superfast Business Cornwall. The anticipated growth of the business post-project should increase turnover and create new jobs.

Robert Salvoni, Chairman of What Cornwall Thinks, said:

“We needed to move our business into a more digital space and working with Superfast Business Cornwall helped us to realise how we could best utilise technology, understand it and adopt it to boost our own business and launch an exciting new venture for the organisation.

“We’re really excited about launching the new website and app. I would really like What Cornwall Thinks to become the go-to-place for businesses, not-for-profit organisations and local government to understand the views and opinions of local people. And the support from Superfast Business Cornwall will help to put us in an unassailable position to showcase a vision for Cornwall by people living here.”

PFA, a leading research and evaluation organisation, became involved with Superfast Business Cornwall last October with the hope of harnessing the power of Big Data – the analysis of a large amount of complex information.

By using superfast broadband with the What Cornwall Thinks app and website, PFA hopes to be ahead of its competitors when it comes to tapping in to emerging research markets. Currently, the majority of its income is generated from supporting Cornish businesses with 19% of revenue coming from outside of the county.

Robert added:

“This is the basis for the future growth of What Cornwall Thinks and we hope that we will be able to expand the range of the mobile app and possibly roll it out across the country while networking with other organisations and increasing our own workforce.”

The trailblazing technology allows businesses to pay for short question sets to be posed to a panel of several thousand Cornish residents. Using an ‘omnibus’ approach to combine survey questions via the digital tool allows even small businesses to use the service.

The app is designed to work on both Android and Apple phones with panellists receiving alerts every time a new survey is available for them to take part in.

Robert continues:

“Companies will be able to ask a question and get an almost instant response. It is really exciting and there is real potential for it to grow and grow.

“The project will create technology and a data asset wholly owned by PFA and develop an opportunity to generate a new consistent revenue stream through the use of a mobile interface.”

He adds:

“Working with Superfast Business Cornwall gave us focus. It can sometimes be difficult to keep all the plates spinning when running a business and trying to launch a new product but the support we received helped us to understand what our goals were and how we could best achieve them. The funding application and support process was straightforward and quick with payments being made as milestones were reached. All of this flexibility helped us to move the project forward.”

The What Cornwall Thinks app is now live, free to use and gives panellists a great opportunity to influence Cornish decision makers. Users are given insights into many of the Cornish issues that they vote on simply go to the App store or Google Play to download it.

Watch our video to find out more about how PFA have been supported by Superfast Business Cornwall.

Could developing an App work for your business – read our guide: How to develop your own App

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Created for small to medium sized businesses based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, this practical bank of information contains free to access in-depth guides, top tips, case studies, videos, blogs and more. The content is impartial and written in plain English.

The benefits of adopting digital technology


Funded by ERDF, Superfast Business Cornwall provides a fully funded programme of support to help businesses understand, adopt and exploit digital technology for growth. Delivered by a small team of experienced Digital Business Advisers, the service offers 1-2-1 impartial advice, website reviews, workshops for small groups and advice on connectivity to Superfast Broadband. Grant funding may also be available for new digital projects which help businesses grow and create jobs.



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