Fife-based women-owned businesses to benefit from growth programme

Women’s Enterprise Scotland is running a new business growth course in Fife to help local female-led businesses reach their full potential.

 

The Leadership for Growth course run by Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) on behalf of Fife Council Economic Development is designed specifically for Fife women business owners wishing to lead their business through growth to be sustainable.

 

The free 6 month programme involves four workshops, covering a range of topics and activities including leadership and motivating others, managing change, and leading for success.

 

it is designed to help businesswomen increase their confidence in leadership by enabling them to strategically analyse their business against their vision for the future, develop, implement and evaluate strategies to grow their business using models and tools.

 

This is the 4th year WES has run the programme in Fife and over 50 Fife based women-owned businesses have already benefited from the Leadership for Growth programme.

 

Previous participant Errin Todd of Dalgety Bay based Lobster Pod said; “I really benefited from participating in the Leadership for Growth programme, as it helped me to critically assess my business strategy and identify action areas. The programme boosted my confidence and our business growth has been transformational since I completed the programme. I enjoyed meeting other like-minded women on the course and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to take their business growth to the next level.” Lobster Pod produces shellfish transportation systems and the business is on track to double its 2018 turnover in 2019.

 

The first session will be held at the Enterprise Hub in Glenrothes on 16 September.

 

Click for more information and to book a place on this free course or contact info@wescotland.co.uk

 

Fife to boost its offshore wind sector

Councillors have formally endorsed Fife Council’s involvement in a new industry cluster – Forth & Tay Offshore Wind – designed to capture the significant opportunities offered by the offshore  wind sector.

 

On the 15 August, members of the Council’s Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee agreed Fife’s participation in the cluster and an action plan developed with partner local authorities Dundee City, Angus, Perth & Kinross, East Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils along with offshore wind developers SSE Renewables, EDF Energy and Red Rock Power.

 

Councillor Altany Craik, the Committee’s Convener said: “The growing offshore wind sector offers considerable opportunities to Fife.

 

“The UK is already the world leader in offshore wind, with more capacity than any other country, the biggest offshore wind farms and most powerful turbines.

 

“We want to ensure that Fife plays a key part in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities.”

 

The cluster will focus activity around developing supply chain capability and raise the region’s profile and capabilities for the offshore wind sector.

 

Fife Council has agreed to contribute £10,000 from existing budgets to support the delivery of action plan priorities over 2019/20.  This contribution is being matched by other local authorities.

 

Developments in the Forth and Tay area offer considerable opportunities to the regeneration of coastal areas – representing 12% of UK capacity and £20 billion in capital investment.

 

Forth & Tay Offshore is one of eight clusters being developed across the UK.  The early stage development of the Forth & Tay Cluster has seen regional collaboration in action across both Tay and Edinburgh & SE Scotland City Deal areas and close partnership working with the offshore wind development community.

 

Earlier this year, the offshore wind industry welcomed the landmark announcement of a Sector Deal with the government.  This agreement will help to create tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs across the UK and attract billions of pounds in investment.

VeriCall contact centre officially opened by Minister

The Scottish Government’s Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation formally opened VeriCall’s flagship UK contact centre in Kirkcaldy yesterday. Tuesday 13 August.

 

Ivan McKee MSP visited VeriCall’s new premises at Lomond House in the town’s John Smith Business Park to unveil a plaque and learn more about the company’s fresh approach to customer engagement.

 

In May this year, VeriCall announced its plans to move to Kirkcaldy after receiving a £1 million Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant from Scottish Enterprise.

 

The centre will create 209 permanent full-time jobs over the next two years, all of which will be paid at least the Scottish Living Wage.

 

To coincide with the formal opening, VeriCall also announced that directory enquiries operator, 118 118, as the company’s first major client. The contract with VeriCall has ensured that 118 118 has returned contact centre jobs to the UK from the Philippines.

 

Speaking after the launch, Mr McKee said: “In May, Scottish Enterprise awarded Vericall a £1 million Scottish Enterprise grant to support them to grow, innovate and create new jobs. Therefore I was delighted to officially open their new flagship contact centre in Kirkcaldy and welcome the 209 jobs new jobs that are being created.

 

“The Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies are committed to providing our small businesses with the right mix of tools and skills and we look forward to watching the business grow and develop.”

 

Founded in 2017, VeriCall has attributed its growth to recognising that consumers increasingly wish to engage with businesses via social media or direct messaging services whilst also having the ability to complete all the same activity that was previously dealt with over the phone.

 

Due to the technology approach adopted by VeriCall they are able to blend the traditional and emerging contact channels to deliver improved customer experiences that meet modern expectations in a cost-effective manner, a key attractant to potential clients.

 

VeriCall has undertaken a recruitment drive since announcing its plans for Kirkcaldy, with the company already having a workforce of approximately 60 employees.

 

Adam Taylor, Managing Director of VeriCall, said:“At VeriCall we understand that to deliver exceptional customer contact experiences takes exceptional people, across all areas of our business.

 

“We have been delighted by the quality, enthusiasm and dedication of the team we have been able to put together in a short space of time. This, coupled with the support of Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise, confirms the decision taken to use Fife as our launchpad to growth was the correct choice.

 

“We look forward to a bright future working to create jobs and opportunities in Scotland for many years to come.”

 

Scottish Enterprise provide RSA grants to investment projects that will create and safeguard employment in selected areas of Scotland. In the financial year 2017/18, Scottish Enterprise offered £14m in RSA grant funding to 75 companies to support expansion plans and job creation.

 

Scottish Enterprise worked in partnership with Fife Council to attract VeriCall to the Kingdom, fending off competition from other UK locations.

 

Mark Hallan, Director of Global Investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “As Scotland’s national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise is committed to delivering investment and jobs into our communities. We were therefore very pleased to provide VeriCall with a £1m RSA grant that supported the company’s exciting plans for Kirkcaldy.

 

“The formal opening of VeriCall in Kirkcaldy will have been a special occasion for everyone connected with the company, and I am delighted that the Minister will have had the opportunity to hear more about VeriCall’s innovative work.

 

“VeriCall has shown a real commitment to Kirkcaldy since moving to the town earlier this year, and I understand its initial recruitment process has proven to be successful. Scottish Enterprise looks forward to continuing its productive working relationship with VeriCall and attracting similar companies to locate in Fife.”

 

Councillor Altany Craik, Convenor of Fife Council’s Convener – Economy, Tourism. Strategic Planning & Transportation Committee, added: “I am more than pleased that VeriCall has established its headquarters in Kirkcaldy.

 

“We’re committed to improving Fife’s economy and ensuring local jobs for local people by encouraging investment in the region. The Scottish Government and Fife Council set up the Fife Task Force to assist the mid-Fife area, following local job losses. Part of that work involved providing ready to go premises in John Smith Business Park, alongside other technology firms.”

 

Cowdenbeath shortlisted for Great British High Street Rising Star Award

Cowdenbeath has been shortlisted in the Rising Star category of the Great British High Street Awards.

 

 

Run by VISA, the awards recognise where high streets are succeeding in overcoming the challenges of a rapidly changing environment.

 

 

The Rising Star High Street Award celebrates up-and-coming local communities who are on their way to transforming for the future.

 

Cowdenbeath has been nominated due to its partnership working and creative plans to improve digital and transport connectivity to increase the town’s footfall.

 

 

 

The Great British High Street Judges will be visiting the town later this month.  Their decision accounts for 80% of the overall score, with the final 20% of the vote being determined by public voting.

 

 

Show your support for Cowdenbeath by voting online at https://thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk/high-street-of-the-year-awards/rising-star-cowdenbeath

 

 

Voting closes on the 7 October and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in November in London.

 

 

Plans to Re-open the Levenmouth Rail Link Approved by the Scottish Government

The Scottish Government yesterday approved the proposal to reopen the Levenmouth rail link with stops in Leven and Cameron Bridge.

 

Following the Levenmouth Sustainable Transport Study, a proposed rail link combined with improved bus services emerged as the best performing options.  Once developed, the link will provide connections from the east of Fife with Edinburgh and Dundee.

 

The rail link has been closed to passenger travel for five decades and Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson said he hoped the line would be operational again within five years.

 

Mr Matheson said: “The detailed appraisal work that has been carried out suggests that improved transport links, which give Leven a direct rail link to the capital, will lead to an enhanced local economy, bringing better access to employment and education and the potential for new investment.

“Easier and more sustainable travel options will make it easier for people to reach hospitals, schools and visit other areas of the country as well as giving better access to Levenmouth.”

 

The project will now go forward to the detailed design phase with initial estimates of construction and preparations costs of around £70m. Mr Matheson also committed an additional £5m to a Levenmouth Blueprint fund available to partners to maximise the benefits of the Scottish Government investment in the area.

 

The new, revived rail link will provide tourism and employment opportunities to the Levenmouth area within the next five years.   Train journey times from Leven to Edinburgh will be approximately 70-75 minutes and The Levenmouth Transport Study suggests that by 2037 there will be 750,000 passengers annually boarding or alighting trains in the area.

 

Fife Council Co-Leader, Councillor David Ross, said: “We are delighted that the link to Levenmouth is set to reopen.  We have relentlessly campaigned for this link that is set to increase employment opportunities, as well as improve access to education, health and leisure services.

“Fife Council is committed to improving life-chances for all, and this means providing local jobs for local people and improving connectivity and regional transport. The rail network is now set to be taken forward to the next stage of development, and we look forward to seeing detailed designs. We fully support this project and we will do everything that we can to bring it to fruition.”

 

Fife Council Co- Leader, Cllr David Alexander added: “This is a critically important project. Improved transport will unlock growth, jobs, tourism and new housing.

“Fife Council is committed to improving communities across Fife, and particularly in the mid-Fife area though our Plan for Fife – this is one of the key projects that is enabling us to regenerate and develop the area to benefit local people and businesses.”

 

 

Fife Council and Local Businesses Tackling Skills Gap in Fife’s Financial Technologies Sector

A payments firm, with a base in Dalgety Bay, has joined forces with Fife Council to tackle the digital skills gap with a new fintech initiative.

 

Fife Council has teamed up with payments firm, Ingenico to create a Fintech Consortium to tackle the digital skills gap.

 

The Fife Fintech Consortium is headed up by Ingenico and involves technology companies of various sizes with an aim to educate and encourage local young people to learn about the industry.

 

Fife Council’s Convener of Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee Cllr Altany Craik commented: “The opportunities being created here will help avoid a potential skills gap and give people the qualifications and skills they need to work in this industry. It’s a fantastic example of different sectors working together for everyone’s benefit.”

 

Matt Kennedy software development manager at Ingenico who is heading up the Fintech Consortium said: “With the support of Fife Council, the consortium is a great vehicle for local fintech companies to collaborate positively on common areas of interest such as funding, education and building a larger talent pool within Fife Fintech.”

 

Fife Council is also hosting a careers event on September 17 at Scotland’s national Fintech Festival with speakers from Sainbury’s bank, Ingenico, Renovite and Strathclyde University.

Book a place here.

Electric Vehicle Charging Point Company Secures £25k Investment from Business Loans Scotland

EVi Charging Points is a Dunfermline-based company which was founded by business partners Neil Beattie and Christopher Campbell in early 2018.  The company was created to install electric charging points across the country, to meet the demand anticipated with the ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2032 from the Scottish Government.

 

The electric vehicle market expected to be in the region of £85 billion and, after being in operation for over a year, the team at EVi Charge Points were keen to raise invaluable working capital that would help support the initial startup phase of the business.

 

Business Loans Scotland offer loans from £25,000 to £100,000 to businesses under their Scottish Growth Scheme.  The Directors were delighted to secure the loan, as part of a wider funding package, to help grow and expand their business.  The loan secured will enable EVi Charge Points to recruit additional employees, including apprentices, and provide them with relevant training to support them as they move into working in the electric vehicle industry.

 

Speaking of the loan secured, Director of EVi Charge Points, Neil Beattie said:

“EVi Charge Points applied for a BLS loan through Business Gateway and we were impressed with the assurance levels to which we were held during the process. Assistance was provided when required and the application was agreed to allow EVi to invest further in our team’s personal development and marketing of Electric Vehicle Charge Points to a wider national audience.”

 

Fund Manager of Business Loans Scotland, Andrew Dickson, added:

“I am delighted that Business Loans Scotland has been able to support EVi Charge Points with loan finance to grow their business. This loan helps to demonstrate our passion and commitment for supporting Scottish SMEs with the working capital they require to fulfil their growth aspirations. This investment will assist in creating new jobs which in turn will have a positive impact on the economy. I look forward to watching EVi Charge Points prosper and would encourage any Scottish SMEs looking for access to gap funding to speak with myself or any member of the BLS team.”

 

Visit https://www.bls.scot/ for more information about the support available from Business Loans Scotland.