COCKINGTON Court has won the Best Tourism Initiative at the Devon Federation of Small Businesses Council Awards.
The awards recognise the contribution made by local authorities to introduce initiatives which help small businesses prosper and grow.
Cockington Court in Torquay was established as an innovation centre and visitor attraction following an extensive renovation and new-build programme which restored the listed manor house and stableyard studios; created 15 new, purpose-built craft studios and eight innovation centre offices.
The project combines the incubation of early stage start-up companies from the creative sector and markets it as a visitor attraction to build on an existing base of around 100,000 visitors per year with the craft centre attracting an audience beyond the original traditional tourist.
Torbay Development Agency, which runs the court, enables intensive business start up training for Cockington tenants through business mentors and the Outset Torbay programme, targeting people from the most deprived areas of Torbay.
The court has been in excess of 90 per cent occupancy since six months after re-opening and has fostered a strong business community to reap the benefits of the project.
Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver said: "Small businesses are the backbone of our community and contribute much to the local economy both in terms of jobs and by providing a rich variety of companies which help make our economic landscape unique and colourful.
"Cockington Court, as well as being a long-standing favourite visitor attraction at the heart of the English Riviera's quintessential thatched village, is one of the key initiatives of Torbay's economic development company."
FSB Devon regional chairman David Shepherd said: "We are delighted to see the developments made at Cockington Court to help so many local businesses grow from strength to strength."
TDA chief executive Steve Parrock said: "The Cockington regeneration project was conceived as a catalyst for regeneration at Cockington Court and in the wider area of Torbay and in particular to support cultural and creative businesses and tourism.
"Over the next 20 years the anticipated outcomes of the project include 300 new jobs, 117 new businesses, 201 businesses assisted and a total of £9.6million additional gross value added helping the TDA deliver its aim to create economic prosperity for the Bay."