2020 AccelerateHER Awards Target Fife’s aspiring entrepreneurs

Fife-based female business founders are once again being offered an opportunity to raise their company’s profile and win a place on an international trade mission with today’s (Thursday 14 November) launch of the 2020 AccelerateHER Awards.


This year’s awards programme is seeking applications from businesswomen whose companies fit into one of the following four categories:

  • MedTech and Science;
  • FinTech and Cyber Security;
  • CleanTech and Climate; or
  • Disruptive Innovation.


© Sandy Young Photography scottishphotographer.com
AccelerateHer 2019 Finals – Edinburgh

A winner will be selected for each category and announced at an awards final event in March 2020.


Winners will all secure a free slot on a market-building trade mission to Europe, North America or the Middle East to showcase their business to industry contacts and global investors.


The 2020 programme will also include a ‘Rising Star’ award for the female founder with the best early stage business idea.


The AccelerateHER Awards, which celebrate and support aspirational Scottish-based female founders, are running for their fifth consecutive year. Organised by all-female business angel group Investing Women, the awards are designed to inspire and support more female-led companies in Scotland. They are open to ambitious women who play a leading role in companies with strong global growth potential, providing participants with an ideal platform to connect with Investing Women’s network of angel investors, commercial advisers and other successful businesspeople.


Entrants will initially be asked to submit a video pitch via the Investing Women’s website, outlining their business, its ambitions, growth plans and international potential.


A panel of highly experienced judges will then review the submissions and draw up a shortlist of entrants who will present to a panel in February. Up to 12 companies will then be short-listed with winners announced at the AccelerateHER Awards final being staged in March 2020. Deadline for entries is Friday, 20th December 2019.


Last year’s AccelerateHER Awards winners were Rachel Jones of SnapDragon; Lina Gasiunaite of Biotangents; and Corien Staels of Staels Design. Dr Carla Brown, the founder and Director of Game Doctor, won the ‘Rising Star’ award. To date, more than 2,500 female business founders have joined the AccelerateHER community.


Launching this year’s AccelerateHER Awards programme, Jackie Waring, CEO of Investing Women said: “These awards celebrate both the achievements and future potential of many female founded businesses in Scotland. This year’s focus on technology, life sciences and environmentally-focused businesses is designed to dovetail with the appetite of the global investment community which is keen to support such enterprises.


“I would urge all ambitious Fife-based female founders who wants to raise their companies’ profile on an international stage to enter the awards. This includes those whose businesses are only at concept stage who could secure recognition through the Rising Star category. The competition gives participants an ideal platform to promote their companies and attract initial or additional investment to help them grow their business on a global scale.”


For more information and to submit an entry visit www.investingwomen.co.uk/accelerateherawards2020/

New Real Living Wage Rate Announced

Today (Monday 11 November) is the start of Living Wage Week, the annual celebration of the Living Wage movement in the UK


To kick off the celebrations, the Living Wage Foundation has announced that the new Real Living Wage has increased from £9.00 per hour to £9.30 per hour across Scotland and the UK.


The real Living Wage is a rate of pay independently calculated based on what people need to earn to live in the UK.  It’s a voluntary scheme for employers and applies to all employees over 18 years of age.


The new rate is £1.09 per hour more than the national minimum wage for over 25 year-olds.


Whilst there are currently over 70 Living Wage employers in Fife, around 20% of employees in the region are still paid less than the Real Living Wage, leaving many families struggling to cope.


Earlier this year Glenrothes became the first town in the UK to start an initiative to become a Living Wage Town.



Visit https://our.fife.scot/fairerfife/livingwage/ for more information on how to join the growing number of Fife employers who are paying the Living Wage .




Local Employers Support Making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town

Fife-based employers from private business, third sector and public sector organisations, gathered at an event held in Glenrothes on Thursday 7th November to network and learn about the benefits of becoming an accredited Living Wage employer.


The business breakfast seminar was hosted by Fife Voluntary Action, a member of the Fife Living Wage Action Group, and provided an opportunity for local companies to meet businesses that are already accredited Living Wage employers to find out first-hand about the advantages of signing-up to the scheme. The event, part of Fife Business Week, also provided an opportune time to celebrate the progress being made in Glenrothes in the week prior to the annual announcement of the new Living Wage rate for 2020/21.


Councillor Fiona Grant said: “Glenrothes is leading the way by becoming the first town in the UK to take this place-based approach to tackling the issue of low pay and in-work poverty. By Making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town we can create conditions where businesses prosper and residents can live good lives. The Action Group has been very effective in setting out the plan and motivating others to become involved.  I’m delighted with the progress we have made to date and looking forward to more businesses and organisations signing-up in the next few months. I encourage all local business owners and employers to find out more and consider becoming accredited by visiting our website at our.fife.scot/livingwage/.”


Kenny Murphy, Chief Executive of Fife Voluntary Action, said: “ We are delighted to be partnering with Fife Council, Living Wage Scotland and the Fife Living Wage Action Group to host this event. I believe paying the real Living Wage is a value that most employers in our community share, but many are not aware of taking the next step to becoming accredited. Events like this give businesses the opportunity to meet others who are accredited, ask questions and hear about the benefits. The Action Group is encouraging all employers in the Glenrothes area to lead the way and pay the real Living Wage as a way of demonstrating their commitment to their community. ”




Fife businesses to benefit from funding support for innovative in-work degree programme

Fife College University Hub in Dunfermline will host a second tranche of its innovative one-year top-up degree programme in January 2020.


The BA in Business and Enterprise offers local businesses an opportunity to upskill their workforce with a minimum disruption to work routines,  while benefitting from the innovative and creative ideas that their employees will bring to the workplace whilst on the course.


SMEs in Fife can also benefit from a grant towards the course fees from Fife Council’s Economic Development Services.


Pamela Stevenson, Enterprise and Business Development Manager at Fife Council said: “This locally-delivered degree programme provides a fantastic opportunity for businesses to enhance their capability, even while participants are still studying. It has proved to be an excellent way for businesses to upskill their workforce and develop their future management team needs.”


The year-long top-up programme, run by Edinburgh Napier University, is available for those in work – both employed or self-employed – who have relevant work experience and an HND or SCQF Level 8 equivalent qualification.


Using practical work-based content, the programme develops business, management and enterprise skills and leads to the award of a BA degree.


The programme involves a combination of assessments, workshops and independent study, with attendance one day per month at the Fife College University Hub in Dunfermline.


Assessments are practical and applied, including reports around work roles, work-place based assignments, presentations and case studies.


Business owners, managers and employees can find out more at a drop-in information session at 4-6pm on Tuesday 10 December at Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline.


Alternatively, visit http://bit.ly/Fife-topup-degree for more information or to apply for a place on the course.



Companies invited to Fife Council’s annual House Builders Conference

A key event in the house building industry’s calendar – Fife Council’s annual House Builders Forum – will take place at the Lochgelly Centre on the afternoon of Tuesday 26 November.


Fife’s 13th House Builders Forum – ‘Realising Opportunities – Mid-Fife Matters’ – is designed to help develop industry partnerships and increase housing supply and development.  This year, the Forum explores the theme of ‘Realising Opportunity’ and considers current issues that affect the house building industry, as well as looking at priorities for the sector.


All house building industry sectors – from small to medium-sized firms to multi-national operators – are welcome to attend.


Th council is also keen to attract developers from outwith Fife to the event.


The key note address from Fife Council will focus on the significant capital investment in regeneration and infrastructure coming to Fife from two City Deals – the Tay Cities Deal and Edinburgh and SE Scotland City Region Deal.


The conference programme also includes a presentation by Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) whose address follows hot on the heels of Fife Council and the Scottish Government’s declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’.


Cllr David Ross, Fife Council Co-Leader, said: “The Fife House Builders Forum is a great opportunity for industry professionals to come together.  At Fife Council we have a steadfast commitment to collaboration and sharing of best practice.  Our own affordable housing programme is highly successful and already challenging us to drive innovation across the industry to remove barriers to development.”


Co-Leader Cllr David Alexander added: “Anyone associated with Fife’s house building industry should attend – house builders, development companies and those working within construction-related professionals.  It’s important for public and private sectors to continue to work together and for all of  us to engage well with communities.


“This event will showcase the investment and innovation opportunities within the region and describe the improving market conditions within Mid-Fife.


“Mid-Fife has readily available sites, good infrastructure including existing transport links and lots of potential.  It includes a high quality natural and built environment and is set to benefit from considerable new investment.  This includes over £70 million of funding for a dedicated rail link to serve Levenmouth and the surrounding areas.”


Email housebuilders.forum@fife.gov.uk to reserve your free place.

Fife businesses to showcase products at the Country Living Fair in Glasgow

Fife Council is supporting Fife businesses to exhibit at the Country Living Fair at the SEC, Glasgow on 21 to 24 November.


If you are planning to attend the show, make sure you visit stand C26 where businesses such as Freedom Unlimited (Dalgety Bay), Scogli (Burntisland), Tayport Distillery (Tayport) and the writer and food ambassador Christopher Trotter will be exhibiting.


Also exhibiting will be House of Bluebell (Auchtertool), The Wee Tea Company (Dunfermline), Wemyss Malts (Kingsbarns) and the award-winning Eden Mill in St Andrews.


Gordon Mole, Interim Chief Officer, Business and Employability at Fife Council said: ” The Food and Drink Sector has been identified as a key priority for Fife and the Council has committed to resource its development.  Fife has world-class innovative producers and we are committed to supporting them access new markets and attract new customers.  Using the Trade Development Programme to assist companies to exhibit at the Country Living Show is a great example of how Fife Council works closely with businesses to support their growth plans.”


The Trade Development Programme has been developed by Fife Council to help businesses participate in, or visit, exhibitions in a wide range of industry sectors.  It organises group stands at major national events, such as this year’s Royal Highland Show.  Companies also receive a range of support services from advice and information to customised training.


The Fife business businesses attending this year’s Country Living Fair should make quite an impact on the anticipated 19,000 visitors to the show with their high-quality handcrafted items.  As they attract new customers and grow their business, Fife Council’s Economic Development team will provide them with further support and advice  to help strengthen their capacity to grow and be successful.


For more information on Fife Council’s Trade Development Programme email dorothy.smith@fife.gov.uk