Fife Council celebrates ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’ win

Fife Council welcomes the two UK Government awards which formally recognise the region as the ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’.

 

Councillor Altany Craik, Convener of Fife Council’s Economy, Tourism. Strategic Planning & Transportation Committee collected the honours alongside other council representatives who attended the Ceremony held in the House of Commons in London yesterday (30 Oct 2018).

 

Fife was named as the winner of two categories: the ‘Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit’ category and overall winner award; marking exceptional economic successes within mid-Fife.

 

The awards celebrate Fife Council’s achievements in supporting young people to develop entrepreneurial skills, get into education, training or employment and in creating an environment that helps businesses flourish.

 

These accolades highlight the strength of partnership working within Fife, including that of Fife Task Force established by Fife Council and the Scottish Government during 2015 and the continuing focus placed on partnerships between the private and public sector through the Fife Economy Partnership.

 

The awards presented to Fife Council were arranged and hosted by the UK Government Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which recognised that with more than 340,000 small businesses in Scotland, entrepreneurship is thriving.

In presenting the category and overall award to Fife, the BEIS Deputy Director for Business Growth, Angie Cannizzaro, said,: “Regions across the UK competed for the coveted title of Most Enterprising Place in Britain at the fifteenth Enterprising Britain Awards, with Fife awarded the top honour this year. In addition to the Most Enterprising Place in Britain award, Fife Council won the Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit category for its achievements.”

 

Councillor Altany Craik thanked the BEIS Deputy Director and the award organisers, represented by the President of Investment in Young People (Neville Reyner CBE DL Hon DLitt).

 

Councillor Craik said, “Fife Council is delighted to accept this award and recognition from the UK Government. We thank our partners including Scottish Government and the Fife Economy Partnership in addition to our schools and young people who have helped us to create fairer economic growth, where everyone benefits by encouraging enterprise, providing good employment opportunities and securing business investment in the region.

 

“Fife is closely linking education and learning with employers to help us develop our young workforce, get more young people into education, training and employment, and empower future business leaders.

 

“These awards show what can be achieved by applying an innovative approach to supporting businesses. We are fully committed to continually improving the prospects for our young workforce and in supporting the growth of enterprise across Fife.”

 

The Fife Council submission highlighted enterprise-led regeneration across Mid Fife including in Glenrothes and joint working within the Council and the Fife Economy Partnership to develop an innovative Culture of Enterprise Framework that connects the school curriculum, employability and local businesses to provide young people with the tools to develop enterprise skills – including innovation, problem solving, creativity and confidence. Fife’s Enterprise Learning Journey is benefiting school pupils (primary and secondary), young adults and business leaders.

 

The award recognised Fife Council’s joint working with the Scottish Government on the Fife Task Force, which aims to move the local economy forward and create jobs and modern, business-friendly infrastructure, including an Enterprise Hub in Glenrothes. The Hub offers a up ‘one-stop-shop’ approach to providing business services and has enabled Fife to host the first Women’s Enterprise Scotland Female Leadership Programme – encouraging diversity in entrepreneurship.

From right to left: Neville Reyner CBE DL Hon DLitt; George Sneddon; Councillor Altany Craik; Peter Grant MP; Angie Cannizzaro.

 

 

 

Approval for projects aiming to boost Kirkcaldy area economy

Four project proposals, identified as being beneficial to Kirkcaldy area’s local economy, have been approved by the Kirkcaldy Area Committee.

 

Earlier this year, a one-off £1 million allocation was made to support economic development in Mid-Fife. The funding has been split equally across the four committee areas and Kirkcaldy Area Committee allocated their £245,000 today with the remaining £5,000 to support a strategic economic development plan for Mid-Fife.

 

More than half of the funding allocated to Kirkcaldy will be used to transform the former ‘Made in Naples’ large vacant unit in the Adam Smith Merchants’ Quarter. Led by the Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions Partnership, the 2,600 sq. ft unit will be turned into a skills development and enterprise space.

 

It will house a training café / bistro that will support the development of at least 48 trainees each year into Fife’s hospitality, tourism and retail sectors.

 

Flexible trading space for up to 20 small independent businesses will also be provided so that businesses who want to make the leap from ‘home to high street’ can do so.

 

Business Gateway will provide on-site support to help businesses grow and thrive with a view to taking on other vacant units within town, adding new dimensions to the town centre mix.

 

The unit will also house a small artisan food hall with locally produced food from Fife being on offer.

 

Funding has been earmarked for a Mitchelston Masterplan to improve the business profile and attractiveness of Mitchelston Industrial Estate. It will also consider how to re-allocate town centre appropriate uses to vacant town centre properties.

 

A High Street shopfront and building repair scheme will be set up offering support to 15 to 20 businesses. Improvement works will be carried out to tired and inconsistent shop fronts in partnership with Kirkcaldy 4 All.

 

A contribution towards a wider study examining the potential for shore side infrastructure to support tourism growth has also been approved, as part of the wider Burntisland Tourism Infrastructure Project.

 

Cllr Neil Crooks, Convener of the Kirkcaldy Area Committee said, “Obviously the recent M&S closure announcement is extremely disappointing. Now more than ever we need to progress these sorts of projects that look to deliver new solutions for our High Street and support local businesses.

 

“It’s a pressure being felt on High Streets up and down the country but I’m pleased that the challenges faced by the Mid-Fife economy are being recognised through this funding. There are opportunities here to deliver quite quickly on projects that have the potential to increase employment and reduce vacant business premises.”

 

Securing the future of Fife’s engineering and manufacturing sector

As part of Fife Business Week 2018, Developing The Young Workforce (DYW) Fife is hosting a free breakfast briefing on the importance of getting young people career ready and other issues crucial to the future of Fife’s engineering and manufacturing sector.

 

The event is taking place on 6 November, 8.00- 11.00, at the Dean Park Hotel, Kirkcaldy – business owners and managers, as well as those with responsibility for recruitment, from across Fife are welcome to attend.

 

The interactive workshop and networking event will look at recruiting a young workforce, future employment strategies that meet the needs of the sector and issues around getting more women into Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) focused careers, as well as celebrating successes.

 

Cllr Altany Craik, Fife Council’s Convener – Economy, Tourism. Strategic Planning & Transportation Committee, said: “This event is a great opportunity for businesses to come along, make new contacts and learn practices that will add something to their business. Find out how a more inclusive young workforce can benefit your business, and also how businesses, the education sector and the Council can work together better to attract and retain talent, and identify local skills gaps and employer demand.

 

“Developing and supporting Fife’s young people is so important for everyone and this event will celebrate the work that has been done so far, and mark out the opportunities that can be taken to do even more for our young people. We want even more partners to come on board – it’s good for our young people, and it’s good for the future of Fife’s businesses.”

 

Speakers include well-known Fife business people, such as Bob Garmory, Purvis Group, Sarah Jardine, Senior Director of Manufacturing, Optos and John Penman, Managing Director, Fife Fabrications.

 

Issues set to be tackled at the event:

  • Talent – developing the pipeline, addressing skills gaps and meeting employer needs.
  • Innovation – How Fife’s engineering and manufacturing businesses can identify and retain young talent.
  • Spreading the benefits – How schools and employers can work together to build the talent pipeline.

 

Bob Garmory, Chair of Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Fife, added: “Your future workforce is currently being educated in Fife’s schools. It is everyone’s responsibility to develop future employees and shape the workforce that we need.

 

“Fife’s Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Board is a business-led partnership that represents a wide range of employers – from small enterprises to multinationals, who are seeking to raise awareness about the range of programmes that businesses can access, to support the development of our future workforce.”

 

Find out more about the event here and discover more events as part of Fife Business Week 2018.

New Cashback Scheme for Scottish SMEs to make energy efficient improvements

Today (Monday 29 October) the Scottish Government, together with Zero Waste Scotland, announced a new ‘cashback’ scheme for SMEs across Scotland.

 

Eligible SMEs can apply for an unsecured, interest-free Scottish Government loan of up to £100,000 for the installation of energy efficient measures such as lighting and heating upgrades, double glazing and insulation.

 

For a limited time, successful applicants will also receive 15% cashback on the value of their loan on the completion of their energy efficient improvements (to a maximum value of £10,000).

 

The loan scheme, which was launched in 2008, is open to SMEs from all sectors for resource efficiency projects that demonstrate cost and carbon savings.

 

For more information and to apply for a loan call Resource Efficient Scotland on 0808 808 2268 or visit www.resourceefficientscotland.com/SMELoan

 

 

 

 

Last call for entries to the 2019 Fife Business Awards

There’s only just over a week for submitting an entry to the 2019 Fife Business Awards before the closing date next Friday (2nd November).

 

Celebrating the most successful and forward-thinking businesses and not-for-profit organisations in Fife, the awards are open to organisations of all types and sizes, and from all sectors of trade, commerce and the third sector.

 

This year sees new and revised categories to better reflect the broad range of businesses and not-for-profit organisations operating in Fife.

 

For the first time, you can also nominate an organisation you think deserves to win.

 

There’s never been a better time, nor more reasons to enter, so make sure you submit your entry – or nominate another great business you know – before the closing date (midnight on Friday 2 November).

 

For more information on the award categories visit www.fifebusinessawards.com

 

 

 

 

Inverkeithing awarded Heritage Lottery first round pass

Inverkeithing is celebrating receiving National Lottery support.

 

Initial development funding of up to £50,500 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to Fife Council to help progress its plans for repairs and improvements to the town’s historic streetscape and buildings. More detailed proposals will then be submitted to apply for a full National Lottery grant of up to £1.2 million early next year.

 

Made possible by National Lottery players, the funding, which is distributed through HLF’s Townscape Heritage (TH) programme, could form part of a £3 million investment in the Town. A complementary bid will be made to Historic Environment Scotland for a Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) in Inverkeithing. If both bids are successful, this would be combined with Fife Council money and other funding contributions, to deliver a five year heritage-led regeneration programme, starting in June 2019.

 

Inverkeithing is competing for this TH funding with other towns across the UK – and is the only place in Scotland to receive a First Round pass this year.

 

Gordon Mole, Senior Manager, Business & Employability, Fife Council, said: “This announcement is great news for Inverkeithing and is another step forward in its regeneration.

 

“It will build on the town’s housing-led regeneration at Fraser Avenue and would realize some of the improvements local people have called for through the current “Imagine Inverkeithing” community-led planning process.

 

“With the Heritage Lottery Funding award this year, we can now work with local partners and Fife Historic Buildings Trust and to develop our second round application, and hopefully see the combined Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme /Towns Heritage programme begin in 2019.”

 

The heritage-led plans for Inverkeithing would enable:

  • The repair and development of the Grade A Listed Town House into a fully accessible Community use hub.
  • A Building Repair Grant Scheme to be established to deliver targeted repairs & improvements to other buildings.
  • A major uplift of the streetscape at the heart of the town, enhancing and restoring historic features.
  • A wide range of heritage themed training & educational activities to benefit local people and aid heritage conservation in the longer term.

 

Historic Environment Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) provides financial assistance, over a five year period, for Conservation Area based regeneration and conservation initiatives undertaken by Local and National Park Authorities, community groups and other third sector organisations experienced in delivering multi-funded projects.

 

Fife Council plans for Brexit

The Co-Leader of Fife Council, David Ross said his administration is preparing for the potential impact of Brexit.

 

Speaking with local businesses, the University of St Andrews and Fife College, Co-Leader David Ross said the future of the local economy is uncertain. “At the moment, our discussions with local businesses indicate it’s very much ‘wait and see’, and uncertainty is one of the real problem areas.

 

“Some businesses rely on significant numbers of EU citizens so any threat to that or uncertainties and lack of confidence could have a major effect on the local economy.

 

Speaking at the annual COSLA conference in St Andrews last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said councils will play an essential role in preparing for the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

 

FM Nicola Sturgeon said at the conference, “Local government has an essential role to play in preparing for the impact for Brexit and the Scottish Government is ready to support you in your efforts.

 

“The Scottish Government continues to argue for a sensible approach to Brexit, which would see the whole of the UK remaining in the single market and the customs union, if staying in the EU is not possible.

 

“However, we also recognise the need to prepare, as best we can, for other Brexit scenarios.

 

“That is why the Scottish Government is undertaking a significant programme of contingency planning.”

 

Scottish Enterprise recently published a toolkit for businesses that aims to equip them with the know-how and confidence to take the next step to grow in EU markets and beyond.

 

A Brexit checklist has also been published on the Scottish Enterprise website and local businesses are encouraged to read the 15-point list and assess how they can prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU.

 

More information can be found at Scottish Enterprise.

 

Rising sales for Kirkcaldy-based flour mill

Increases in global wheat prices have seen sales rise for Kirkcaldy-based Carr’s Flour Mills.

 

Carr’s invested more than £17 million into its Fife site in 2013 and has sites in Cumbria and Essex.

 

Company accounts show sales of £81.7 million for the year to 31 March 2018, with a pre-tax profit of £2.1 million in comparison to a £42.9 million turnover and £2 million profit for the previous seven months.

 

In September 2016, Whitworth Holdings – the UK’s largest flour miller – acquired Carr’s in a £36 million deal.

 

The acquisition of Carr’s was described as a success within the Whitworth Holdings company accounts.

 

Martin George, Whitworth Chairman, said: “Following the successful acquisition of Carr’s Flour Mills Ltd from Carr’s Group plc part way through the prior year, the group has seen continued growth in sales volumes, with turnover increasing to £321.7 million which was also due in part to the increase in global wheat prices following the 2017 harvest.

 

Read the full article here.

Longannet shortlisted as potential train manufacturing plant

Fife’s former power station, Longannet, has been shortlisted as one of six potential UK locations for a new train manufacturing plant.

 

Spanish firm, Talgo, was shortlisted as a potential supplier of 54 trains for High Speed 2 (HS2).

 

The company has confirmed sites near Chesterfield, Leeds and St Helens in England and in Mostyn in North Wales. The Longannet site and Hunterston in Ayrshire have also been selected as potential sites.

 

A decision is expected next month.

 

Carlos de Palacio, president of Talgo, said, “The establishment of a manufacturing facility in the UK is a significant part of Talgo’s future strategy.

 

“Talgo’s aim is to establish true manufacturing – rather than assembling from parts made elsewhere. This means that we will draw from materials and expertise across the UK. This keeps more money in the UK economy, and creates more skilled long-term jobs.”

 

If Longannet is chosen as a potential factory site, it could employ up to 1,000 people and skill-up the workforce to meet the needs of building trains that can run up to 235mph.

 

This would be a major boost to the area, which suffered from the closure of the power station.

 

Talgo aims to enter the UK train market by sourcing components from within the UK instead of assembling parts from overseas. This approach would grow the UK’s manufacturing capability, strengthen supply chains, create more jobs, and boost local economies.