Jim Plunkett-Cole

Principal Analyst

Jim Plunkett-Cole, the founder of Smart Growth Analytics, is a professional economist and analyst, and one of the most experienced and innovative local area economic development practitioners in the UK.

Jim has more than 15 years' experience working to the highest levels for public and private sector clients across the UK, on analytical projects which cover each and every aspect of local area economic activity and competitiveness. As well as bespoke projects, he currently acts as strategic economic advisor to a range of organisations, including Principal Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Jim draws on a wide range of source data and information, and employs the widest possible range of analytical tool and techniques, to develop a robust intelligence / evidence base. These techniques include primary research business survey and analysis and the development of bespoke sector-based economic models and analytical frameworks (e.g. to enable scenario development and forecasting).

Prior to founding Smart Growth Analytics, Jim was Principal Analyst at GWE Business West, a large sub-regional economic development and business support organisation. Before his time at GWE, Jim was Senior Research Consultant with Prism Research in Shropshire, one of the UK's first and most successful economic development and business research companies.

Jim loves his work and thrives on the challenges it brings with it. In his own words, "The client often wants you to study a certain aspect of their business or local economy because they have an inkling about something, but don't have the evidence. That's where we come in, and very often, the evidence shows they were right!".

Jim also suggests that, if you follow the good advice of his first ever 'mentor' in economic development research and analysis, then you can't really go far wrong. "Establish the evidence to identify the problem or issue... and then establish the evidence for what can be done about it!."

Jim has a BA (Hons) in Economics.


To deliver contracts that have a scope wider than specialist economic analysis, Jim works with a range of Associates, in particular:

Gavin Eddy – Founder and CEO of Forward Space Limited, which owns and operates shared workspaces and coworking spaces for independent workers including The Old Church School, Frome and Boxworks@Engine Shed, Bristol.

John Cornbill -  Owner and Managing Director of The Insight Works Limited, which provides expertise and resources to a wide range of public and private sector clients, offering support in the design, delivery and improvement of projects.

Clive Wray - Owner and Director of Wrayco Limited, which specialises in service development, tender and proposal preparation, project implementation planning, initiation and delivery management.