University of St Andrews strikes new European deal

The University of St Andrews has signed a partnership agreement with one of Europe’s leading universities.


The University is to expand its existing cooperation with the University of Bonn under an agreement that provides for new and far-reaching collaborations in research, study and administration.


The two universities have agreed to provide increased exchange opportunities for students, academic staff and professional and administrative staff.


Staff and students from St Andrews will be given the opportunity to research, teach and study at Bonn, and vice-versa.  The agreement also provides for the establishment of joint study and research programmes and work shadowing offers for administrative staff.  Both universities also intend to develop joint research and teaching activities.


University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Mapstone, said: “We are delighted to have signed a wide-ranging Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Bonn, which sets out our commitment to deepening our partnership in the years to come and, very importantly, will see a continual exchange of people and ideas between our two institutions, and between Scotland and Europe.”


Click to read the full story.

Fife businesses gear up for Southern Manufacturing

Manufacturing businesses from across Fife are preparing to attend the Southern Manufacturing and Electronics show, at Farnborough International in February.


The UK’s largest regional manufacturing technology, electronics and subcontracting exhibition has proved fruitful in recent years for Fife-based businesses, winning contracts and making new contacts.


Southern Manufacturing will celebrate its 21st show in 2019, where around 800 exhibitors and thousands of visitors are expected to attend the three-day event (5–7 February 2019).


Attending from Fife will be Contract Solutions Precision Engineering, AGS Electronics, Fife Fabrications, Reel Service and Eurospray. I4 Product Design will also take part in the visit as a means of supporting collaboration and supply chain links with Fife businesses.


This is Eurospray’s first time attending Southern Manufacturing. The Glenrothes-based business, Scotland’s largest sub-contract paint finishing facility, intends to use this exhibition as a platform for showcasing its leading-edge finishes to new contacts.


Jim Fairnie, Managing Director of Eurospray, said:

“This is our first time attending Southern Manufacturing, but we’re doing so to   showcase our paint finishing expertise to a wide range of sectors and industries.

“We anticipate that the event  will be an effective means of business development, as we will have the opportunity to network, meet new businesses, which in turn we hope will lead to new sales opportunities.”


Fife Council Economic Development Team’s Trade Development Programme is supporting these local businesses to visit Southern Manufacturing.


Pamela Stevenson, Lead Officer, Enterprise and Business Development, Fife Council, said:

“Year-on-year, Fife businesses have reported success at Southern Manufacturing. The exhibition has offered the opportunity to network with colleagues in the industry, meet potential new customers and secure new contracts.

“With manufacturing evolving all the time, this exhibition is key, as it brings together the latest developments in industrial technology and engineering services, as well offering insight into some of Europe’s top engineering specialists.”

(Photo from Southern Manufacturing 2018)


For more information about Southern Manufacturing, please email:


Workplace Innovation Fund

The Workplace Innovation Fund – developed by Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway – can contribute up to £5,000 towards activities that will allow your business to introduce new and innovative workplace practices. The Fund will support projects centred on at least 2 out of the 3 following themes:


People – Your employees will individually and collectively have a range of ideas to make the business better. It is important to listen to their ideas and motivate beyond pay such as recognising the benefits of diversity, reward and supporting learning & development.


Place – Through better use of your workplace you can develop a culture of fresh thinking and a place where creativity can thrive. This isn’t just about moving desks or introducing new equipment. Reviewing your organisational structure can identify areas where employees are empowered to make decisions, remove silos, and increase cross-team working.


Practice – By actively involving your people in the design of your business developments you are more likely to find new and more efficient ways of working; making full use of their skills and experience to the greatest effect. Employees who feel empowered are more likely to drive change and work in a more collaborative style.


What it can be used for

Bespoke projects around the theme of Workplace Innovation. You may wish to look at issues such as developing the culture of your organisation, introducing new values or altering the existing values & vision of your company, how technology can be used to bring staff together to share knowledge, and identifying future leaders & succession planning.

They are not able to fund…

  • Purchase of ICT hardware, software, licences; or
  • Physical resources such as office furniture.



Companies have an ambition to increase turnover by £200,000 over a 3-year period. Companies must also be able to fund any projects upfront before claiming costs.


How to apply?

For further information and to apply please fill out a pre-qualification form on the Scottish Enteprise website. If you meet the above eligibility and would like to discuss your project, please contact Alison Hemsi. 

Good luck to finalists in the Fife Business Diversity Awards 2018

The Fife Business Diversity Awards 2018 will recognise the success of businesses, organisations and individuals who excel in promoting the employment of people who face disadvantages in the labour market.


Hosted by the Opportunities Fife Partnership, the annual event will take place on Friday 7 December at the Bay Hotel, Kinghorn.


People may experience disadvantage in finding and keep a job due to person issues, disability or health conditions, as well as lack of work experience, skills or qualifications.


These awards specifically acknowledge determination, resourcefulness and originality in creating equal opportunities for all in the work place.


Fife Provost and Councillor Jim Leishman, said, “I believe every one of us has a talent. Some of us discover it early in life, and many of us need support to find it. But I’ve learned that it’s not just about find your talent and skills, it’s about taking the opportunities that life presents us and facing the challenges of everyday living to put these talents and skills to use. It’s about being determined and facing adversity and not giving up on the dreams and goals we want to achieve.”


Lucinda McAllister, Service Manager for Employability and Supported Employment Service at Fife Council, added “I wish to thank our nominees for allowing us to learn about your journey, sharing a journey that was personal and inspiring – well done to you, you truly deserve the recognition you have received.”


Fife celebrates another bumper year for tourism

More than eight million visitors were welcomed to Fife over the past year.


Worth around £570 million to the Scottish economy, new figures suggest tourism in Fife now supports 11,000 jobs in the area and, with expenditure increasing annually by 4% over the last nine years, the region appears to have weathered the impact of the recession and changes to the economic climate.


This year has also seen Fife enter the top five most ‘instagrammed’ regions in Scotland, with images being shared with thousands of international online and social media followers.


The region’s annual tourism conference recently attracted industry experts from across the country including Justin Reid, Head of Marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at TripAdvisor, who revealed that more than five million people had search for Fife on TripAdvisor over the last two years. USA, Germany, France and Canada were among the top markets viewing Fife.


Fife Tourism Partnership manager, Ann Camus, said:  “Fife is continuing to buck the trend in the tourism industry, and the latest figures revealed at the recent conference demonstrate just how popular Fife is as a destination for national, international and local visitors.”


Fife was also awarded WorldHost Customer Service Destination status earlier in 2017, with more than 100 local businesses putting at least 50% of their customer facing staff through training to achieve a top level of customer service.


With such a high level of customer service, it came as no surprise that Fife businesses shone at the recent Scottish Thistle Awards for tourism, with accolades for Crail Food Festival, Cruise Forth, the Boudingait in Cupar and The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry.


The East Neuk Festival was also awarded the highly prestigious RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Music Award for Audiences and Engagement earlier in the year.


Chairman of Fife Tourism Partnership Alistair Bruce, said: “2018 will be an exciting year for Fife, especially celebrating the Year of Young People.


“We’ll be developing augmented and virtual reality experiences around Fife’s rich history and continuing to encourage businesses to get behind the World Host initiative.”

Businesses asked to comment on Fife’s new economic strategy

Businesses across Fife are being invited to have their say on a new economic strategy that has been developed for the region.

Fife’s Economic Strategy 2017-2027 sets out the way Fife Council, the Fife Economy Partnership and Opportunities Fife Partnership will work together over the next 10 years to achieve stronger, sustainable and more resilient economic growth for Fife’s businesses.

Businesses can comment on the new strategy online over the next few weeks.

Their views will help the Council and the two Partnerships ensure that the new strategy has identified and will tackle the issues and challenges that Fife companies currently face.

Stephen Doran, Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership, said: “Moving forward we want to achieve more than simply a pre-recession level of economic performance for Fife.  We want to tackle the underlying challenges in our economy and labour market in order to both increase the competitiveness and resilience of Fife’s businesses and at the same time reduce inequality.”

“It’s important that we make sure that our new strategy includes appropriate activities for us to achieve this.”

“The online questionnaire gives businesses an opportunity to tell us what they think of the new strategy.  This will help us ensure that the Strategy’s Delivery Plans are tailored to meet their needs.”

“We’re also wanting the business community to get more involved in helping to deliver out new economic strategy and are restructuring the Fife Economy Partnership to make this possible.  We’d be delighted to hear from any business interested in becoming involved in one of the Partnership’s new delivery groups.”

Cllr Lesley Laird, Depute Leader of Fife Council and Spokesperson for Economy and Planning said: “Our new Strategy, approved yesterday by Fife Council’s Executive Committee, sets out how we will all work together, as well as with the Scottish Government, its national agencies and with our city region partners to achieve sustainable and fair economic growth for Fife.”

“We’ve taken on board the issues businesses raised when we consulted with them earlier this year and this is a further opportunity for people to let us know what they think.”

“Both the context and challenges for Fife in the foreseeable future is one of change.  Collaboration and co-operation are vital for Fife’s economy to respond to the complex set of challenges that this change creates.  We encourage all Fife’s businesses to get involved in helping to deliver the ambitions of this strategy and to work with us to deliver activities to make sure that Fife becomes the best place to start and grow a business.”

To have your say, complete the online survey at

For more information about how to get involved in the Fife Economy Partnership’s new delivery groups and to register your interest in joining one of the groups, email

Alison Laughlin, Economic Adviser 

Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 22 78  Contact Alison Laughlin online

By Post: Kingdom House Kingdom Avenue Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LY

Article posted 14 December 2016

Grants for SMEs to access Energy Conversion and Storage expertise

Energy Conversion and Storage is one of the major challenges facing the energy sector.

Many renewable energy sources are intermittent in nature. Being able to convert and store electricity during periods of excess production is therefore essential.

Grant funding is available through the Energy Technology Partnership for SMEs to work with Scottish Universities on new and innovative energy projects.

For more information email

Alison Laughlin, Economic Adviser 

Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 22 78  Contact Alison Laughlin online

By Post: Kingdom House Kingdom Avenue Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LY

Article posted 12 December 2016

New Enterprise Hub Fife gets underway in Glenrothes

Work is underway on a new enterprise hub designed to inspire entrepreneurs and boost business growth in Fife.

Enterprise Hub Fife, which is set to open in spring 2017, is being developed on the first floor of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s premises in Glenrothes town centre.

The Hub will offer a joined-up ‘one stop shop’ approach, providing enhanced enterprise and business services to commercial and social entrepreneurs and business start-ups.

It will also help home business owners, sole traders and micro-businesses by providing them with access to hot desk hub space which is affordable and flexible.

The Hub is set to offer high-speed broadband and IT connectivity which will enable web-conferencing and the delivery of training workshops and webinars.

Councillor Lesley Laird, Depute Leader and Spokesperson for Economy and Planning said, “This approach to developing and running a successful creative enterprise hub will help strengthen the services that Fife Council’s Economic Development Team delivers, along with our key business delivery partnership, including Business Gateway Fife and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

“Our aim is to engage with aspiring business start-ups and micro-businesses by offering a ‘one-stop-shop’ approach to stimulate growth in the local economy.

“By providing all the necessary resources under one roof, we are helping make it easier for businesses to access support services as well as encouraging a collaborative business environment.”

Malcolm Buchanan, Chair of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scottish Board said: “We are delighted to be entering into this partnership with Fife Council. The Royal Bank of Scotland is a key supporter of businesses across Scotland. Initiatives like this play an important role in driving enterprise and helping create an eco-system where entrepreneurs and local communities can prosper.”

The Hub will provide a range of business services, including support from experienced business advisors and experts, mentoring and finance services from Royal Bank of Scotland’s Business Banking and Commercial Team, access to finance to support early stage growth starts and small businesses to enhance growth plans.

The Hub is one element of the Fife Task Force’s three-year Action Plan which was created following the closure of Tullis Russell and other businesses in Mid-Fife.

Kirstin Marsh, Project Manager (Fife Task Forces)

Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 47 18 75  Contact Kirstin Marsh online

By Post: Kingdom House Kingdom Avenue Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LY

Article posted 12 December 2016

Applications open for Business Accelerator Programme

Start-up and growing businesses are invited to apply for a place on Acorn Enterprise’s free 20 week Business Accelerator Programme which will run from Tuesday 7 February 2017 to Friday 30 June 2017 in Rosyth, Fife. Designed for new business owners – from idea stage to 3 year’s trading – this will be the 7th time the programme has run.

Launched in June 2013, the programmes run twice a year – February-June and September-January – offering 15 new businesses a chance to develop their confidence, clarity and business skills.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • office space to encourage collaboration and networking

  • weekly seminars to develop and challenge

  • a mentor who provides accountability.

Applications for a free place on the latest programme must be submitted by Wednesday 1 February.

Click for more information and to submit your application.

Alison Laughlin, Economic Adviser 

Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 22 78  Contact Alison Laughlin online

By Post: Kingdom House Kingdom Avenue Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LY

Article posted 9 December 2016

Fife Business Week 2016 Hailed a Great Success

Supporting new and established businesses was the theme of this year’s Fife Business Week which attracted around 700 people to more than 30 events across Fife – 160 more people than last year.

In its seventh year, Fife Business Week again proved to be the highlight of Fife’s business calendar.  Running from 7 to 11 November, there was a variety of sessions on offer to entrepreneurs, businesses and employers giving fresh insights into workforce development, finance and strategy and digital connectivity.

The week kicked off with a breakfast event in Kirkcaldy hosted by Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) in Fife Board to showcase how businesses can benefit by engaging with the Board.

The major Scottish Towns Conference took place in Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Centre and one of its workshops provided a great forum to exploring pratical solutions to delivering digital infrastructure.

Other events included a Fife Economy Partnership business breakfast with Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy.

Stephen Doran, Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership said: “The Fife Economy Partnership is ambitious to see the local economy flourish and thanks to our partners, we delivered a comprehensive line-up of events that enabled businesses to access the range of public and private sector support agencies, business experts and entrepreneurs to help move their business forward and secure future success.”

Fife Business Week 2016 was organised by Fife Council’s Economic Development Team and Business Gateway Fife on behalf of the Fife Economy Partnership.

Alison Laughlin, Economic Adviser 

Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 22 78   Contact Alison Laughlin online

By Post: Kingdom House Kingdom Avenue Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LY

Article posted 6 December 2016