Fife Council continues to help businesses access contract opportunities

As the third largest local authority in Scotland, Fife Council continues to work with and support businesses across the region to improve their tender writing skills and access more public and private sector contract opportunities.

 

Fife Council, along with the other 31 local authorities in Scotland, is a registered partner of the national Supplier Development Programme.

 

The Fife Supplier Development Programme provides support to the region’s businesses in 3 main ways:

  1. Raising awareness of the opportunities for SMEs from both the public and private sector.
  2. Increasing business readiness to tender.
  3. Assisting SMEs in accessing tender opportunities through specialist advisory services.

 

During 2019/early 2020, the Fife Programme delivered 10 face-to-face workshops, supporting over 90 businesses.

 

Fife Council is exhibiting at the third annual Meet the Buyer North virtual event on 2 September 2020.  This event will provide an opportunity for businesses to spend a day – or part of a day – meeting buyers from both the public and private sector located in the north of Scotland.

 

To date, more than 1,000 suppliers have registered to attend Meet the Buyer North. Confirmed buyers include Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Fife, Highland, Moray and Shetland Island Councils.

 

The Scottish Government, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Procurement Alliance and SELECT, the trade association for electricians will also be exhibiting.

 

This virtual event is free to attend, but businesses must register for a free account on the Supplier Development Programme website in advance.

 

Click for more information and to reserve your place.

 

For more information on the tendering support available to you, and how to become a member of Fife’s Supplier Development Programme, email fifemeansbusiness@fife.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Town centre small business grant scheme launched to help businesses with Covid-19 safety

Small businesses in Fife’s main town centres could now receive a £100 grant towards the cost of public health and safety measures required to enable them to reopen safely with the launch of the Small Business COVID Safety Grant Scheme.

 

Fife Council is committed to supporting town centres, and small businesses can now apply for help with the cost of implementing Covid-19 public health measures.

 

Applications are invited from businesses located in Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Glenrothes, St Andrews, Cupar, Cowdenbeath, Leven, Lochgelly, Burntisland, Anstruther, Newburgh, Rosyth, Dalgety Bay and Kincardine.

 

What’s being funded?

Grants can reimburse costs already incurred and eligible expenditure can include:

  • PPE, such as face masks, visors and gloves
  • Hand sanitiser and sanitiser dispensing units
  • Protective screens
  • Internal signage related to public safety.

Who can apply?

Small businesses are eligible to apply which:

  • Operate from business premises that are accessed by the public
  • Have no more than three business outlets
  • Employ no more that 5 full-time equivalent employees per business outlet.

 

Apply online at Business Gateway Fife.  For help or advice on this scheme, or other forms of support available, contact Business Gateway Fife on 01592 858333 or email info@bgfife.co.uk

 

The Small Business COVID Safety Grant Scheme is one of a range of new initiatives being introduced in Fife to support town centres in 2020-21.  The scheme is funded by the Town and BIDs Resilience and Recovery Fund administered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership on behalf of the Scottish Government.

 

 

 

University of St Andrews confirms partnership with Michelin Scotland Innovation Park

The University of St Andrews and the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) in Dundee have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore future collaborations in the fields of sustainable mobility and low carbon energy.

 

MSIP, a joint venture between Michelin, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise, is a world-class Innovation Park in Dundee which will drive growth and diversity in the Scottish economy while addressing the global climate emergency.

 

The University is developing its Eden Campus in Guardbridge to enhance innovation in companies working in energy storage, conversion and other technologies, by providing scale-up facilities for research and development, early prototyping and proving technology.

 

Under the terms of the agreement, the University and MSIP commit to the shared delivery of low-carbon technologies, supporting product development in companies, assisting companies in the sustainable mobility and low-carbon sectors to grow by offering test and demonstration facilities and equipment and access to external funding.

 

Both organisations will also explore the potential for work experience and apprenticeship opportunities, while the University will support the delivery of courses, modules or postgraduate training through the proposed Skills Academcy at MSIP.

 

Read the full story on the University of St Andrews website.

Your opportunity to take part in this year’s Virtual Taste of Grampian

Are you a food and drink business based in Fife?  Want to showcase your business at the biggest Food & Drink event taking place in Scotland this year?

 

The 4 local authorities along the banks of the River Tay (Fife, Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross) are organising a presence at the Taste of Grampian virtual event from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 September.

 

Fife Council’s Economic Development Team is looking for food and drink producers in the region to join them in a virtual Taste of Tayside and Fife tent.

 

Working in conjunction with DC Thomson, there are four FREE 5 minute pre-recorded slots up for grabs.  Your session can be as creative as you like, from a tour of your business or a “how to” lesson to showcase your products.

 

Interested in participating?  Email dorothy.smith@fife.gov.uk or graeme.ferguson@fife.gov.uk by Thursday 21 August.

 

If this show is not for you, but you are interested in finding out more about the support available to your business email Fifemeansbusiness@fife.gov.uk and an advisor will contact you.

 

 

Cupar company involved in building world’s most powerful tidal turbine

Gray Fabrication in Cupar is providing components for what is being described as the world’s most powerful floating tidal turbine.

The 72m long O2 turbine is being built by Texo Group in Dundee with key parts being made by Gray Fabrication using material from Liberty Steel in Motherwell.

 

Once completed, the turbine will be tested in Orkney at the European Marine Energy Centre.

 

Gray Fabrication is one of the UK’s leading heavy steel fabrication companies specialising in the rolling, bending and pressing of heavy plate. It provides steel fabrication and plate rolling services to leading companies in the oil and gas, general engineering and renewable energy sectors.

 

The Scottish Government has awarded the turbine project £3.4 million from its £10 million Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.

 

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “We are delighted this landmark turbine, designed by an innovative Scottish company, will also be built in Scotland.

 

“We believe tidal energy technology can not only play an important role in our own future energy system, but it has substantial export potential and this fund will help move tidal technologies closer to commercial deployment.”

 

Click to read the full story.

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.”