Work to begin on £4.1m world-leading FASTBLADE test centre

The first major engineering works on FASTBLADE, a state-of-the-art composite structures research facility, will begin in Rosyth later this month.

A team of Babcock engineers will begin construction of FASTBLADE’s 75 tonne structural reaction frame in early July, and will start fit out of the new facility at Babcock’s Rosyth site.

 

The facility, part of an industry-academic partnership between Babcock International Group and the University of Edinburgh, will initially be used for lifetime fatigue testing of renewable energy tidal turbine blades, using pioneering technology which will be the first of its kind in the world.

 

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and University of Edinburgh, the facility will be an international centre of innovation in the research and testing of composite materials and structures for a variety of industries such as tidal energy, marine, transport, nuclear and aerospace.

 

FASTBLADE is expected to be fully operational in 2021.

 

Read the full story here.

Epipole secures £1.5 million investment

Inverkeithing-based Epipole has secured £1.5 million in funding to market its ground-breaking video retinal imaging device in the US.

 

The funding was led by new investor Greenwood Way Capital with the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, also participating.

 

Epipole’s patented technology enables clinicians to scan the retina using real-time video and then extract high quality images for further examination.  These images are smaller and less expensive than those produced by conventional desktop systems.

 

Read more.

 

Click for more information about the Scottish Investment Bank and how it could support your business.

Town Centre Businesses Recovery and Re-Opening Survey

Fife Council is inviting businesses in Fife’s town centres to let it know how it can help manage town centres safely for all as the lockdown restrictions ease.

 

Owners, managers and employees of retail, hospitality and leisure businesses based in any one of Fife’s town centres – any businesses which which are normally open to the public – are being asked to complete a short online survey.

 

Town Centre businesses and Fife Council will need to plan for shoppers and visitors returning, with reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements, queuing outside premises, and the requirement and opportunity for some businesses to use outdoor spaces.

 

Cllr Altany Craik, Convener of the Council’s Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee explained: “We are developing recovery plans to help address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on towns and local shopping centres across Fife. A vital part of this planning is to support local businesses as our town centres begin to re-open.

 

“We’d like to hear about your plans, and the support that you need to re-open and trade both safely and successfully, as the lockdown eases.  This will help us to manage our town centres effectively.  Recovering from the impact of Covid-19 will challenge different businesses in different ways, and we want to do all we can to help.”

 

The survey, which will be open until 6 July only takes a few minutes to complete and can be found at   www.fife.gov.uk/tc-recovery-survey

 

In some areas, the council will need to reduce the amount of road space available for vehicles, in others full pedestrianisation might be needed to be in place at certain times.  These are just some of the range of options which will be considered, including measures to support walking, wheeling and cycling.

 

Cllr Craik added: “The council is working hard to support a range of business sectors in its town centres, including retail, hospitality and leisure, culture and public transport and we want to hear from as many businesses as possible.”

 

Click for information on the support and advice available for businesses during the pandemic. 

 

 

 

 

BID St Andrews launches #LoveStAndrews Marketplace App

The St Andrews Business Improvement District (BID) has launched an app to help its member businesses to continue to trade through the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The new app – #LoveStAndrews Marketplace – launched today (Monday 15 June) provides a platform for local businesses with existing deliver and/or click-and-collect services. as well as for businesses wishing to start offering such services.

 

With support from the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 BID Resilience Fund, BID St Andrews has developed the app in partnership with the Hungrrr Development Ltd, developers of an online and app food ordering system.

 

“BIDS across Scotland are playing a critical role during these challenging economic times.  Not only are we offering hands-on support to our BID Members, but we are working hand-in-hand with local and central government to try to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on our local economies.  Town centres will play a vital role in the “bounce back” and we hope the Marketplace App will be another way we can help by providing businesses with a flexible revenue platform as they adapt the way they operate going forward.” said Jane Kennedy, BID St Andrews Manager.

 

Louise A Fraser, Chair of BID St Andrews and owner of the town’s Fraser Gallery added: “As Chair of BID St Andrews, I am delighted that we are able to support local businesses in accessing a new platform that will help them promote their business to both new and existing audiences – from within the town as well as further afield. As we move forward, the parameters within which businesses can operate will be changing and our Marketplace app will allow them to offer their products and service with delivery and collect options, in addition to physical sales.”

 

For more information, email BID St Andrews at info@bidstandrews.co.uk

A business in Mid-Fife? Take part in an online survey to help inform an action plan to grow the area

Are you a local business operating within the Cowdenbeath, Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and Levenmouth areas?

If so, you are invited to take part in a short business survey that shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete.

 

The survey aims to help Fife Council understand how its interventions affect you and other businesses in your area.

 

The results from the survey will be used to inform the development of a Mid-Fife Economic Action Plan aimed at helping to stimulate economic growth in the area.

 

Click to access the survey which will be available until Friday 12 July.

 

If you have any questions about the survey or the action plan (which is being developed by Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise), please contact Peter Corbett – tel: 03451 55 55 55 ex 440997 or email peter.corbett@fife.gov.uk

 

Inverkeithing celebrates another major heritage funding award

Inverkeithing is celebrating a £1,255,900 grant award from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for essential repairs and improvements to its historic streetscape and buildings.

 

The Townscape Heritage (TH) funding, which was confirmed by the Scotland Committee of The National Lottery Heritage Fund earlier this week, means that a regeneration package of over £3 million is now available for a five-year programme of heritage themed improvement and investment in the town.

 

The National Lottery award will be combined with a £1 million grant awarded to Inverkeithing in April from the Historic Environment Scotland Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) along with Fife Council money and other funding contributions.

 

Welcoming the news, Councillor Alice McGarry, Area Convenor for Fife Council’s South and West Area Committee said: “This is more good news for Inverkeithing and its regeneration.  It reflects the positive and constructive input from local people and groups which was taken on board whilst the applications were being developed. It also represents a major step forward in starting to realise local people’s vision for the town as expressed in the Imagine Inverkeithing Community Masterplan developed last year.  People wanted to see new investment, jobs and a diversification of the local economy, whilst protecting and enhancing our built and natural heritage.”

 

” The National Lottery and CARS funding will enable the repair and redevelopment of the Town House as a community use hub, major streetscape uplift in the High Street and Market Square and a grant scheme for repairs to other historic buildings in the town centre.  There will also be a wide range of training and educational courses and activities for the whole community, designed to improve heritage skills and knowledge.”

 

Councillor Altany Craik, Covener of the council’s Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee added: ” Like many towns today, Inverkeithing has to contend with a range of negative market forces, like changing shopping habits.  Its historic centre also needs investment to tackle dilapidation associated with an ageing building stock.  To have a sustainable future the town needs to evolve and improve its offer to attract both local residents and visitors.   The town’s heritage and history is currently underplayed, but given its location on the Fife Coastal Path and Pilgrims Way, proximity to the Forth Bridges and Edinburgh, and its major transport links, Inverkeithing has the potential for a step change through heritage-led regeneration, and this funding can enable that to happen.”

 

The Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration Project will be managed by Fife Historic Buildings Trust (FHBT) in partnership with Fife Council.

Fife Council agrees use of town centre funding

Fife Council has set out its plans for using the £4.335 million allocated to it from the Scottish Government’s new fund for town centres.

 

The Town Centre Capital Grant Fund, launched in March, was set up by the Scottish Government in partnership with COSLA to support councils to ensure that their high streets are more diverse, sustainable and successful in the face of changing and evolving retail patters.

 

Announcing the council’s plans for spending its grant allocation, Co-Leader Cllr David Ross said: “As a council we’re already committed to investment plans for our town centres to help create thriving places all around Fife.  This funding is a welcome extra, but it has to be spent on projects that can start before the end of March 2020.

 

“We need to look carefully, both at where we most need additional investment, and where there are projects which can, realistically, make good use of it quickly.  It’s the town centres in Mid-Fife that are in the greatest need of support and our allocation of funding to projects reflects this.”

 

Co-Leader, Cllr David Alexander, added: “We know that town centres are suffering around the UK.  There are no overnight fixes but, with a range of partners, we’re working towards creating town centres where people of all ages can live, work and visit, to enjoy a mix of leisure, tourism, retail, culture and heritage opportunities.

 

“The committee agreed a set of spending proposals so we can start to see the benefits of this Scottish Government funding as soon as possible.  Fife was awarded the largest amount of funding, and we want to spread the benefits across the Kingdom, but must also address the pressing need for economic support in Mid-Fife in particular, as detailed in the Plan for Fife.”

 

The Council’s Policy and Co-ordination Committee at its meeting on 18 June agreed that the fund would be used to support the following town centre projects:

 

West Fife

  • Work in Dunfermline’s heritage quarter and town centre to create an enterprise hub and support new community and visitor opportunities, building on the rich heritage of the town.
  • Expanding Inverkeithing’s built heritage programme beyond the conservation area to improve the town centre environment.

Kirkcaldy

  • Create a safe and attractive connection between the high street, Kirkcaldy Centre and bus station to welcome people into the town centre.
  • Enhance the Waterfront with new ‘pop-up’ style businesses, statement lighting and planting.
  • Beginning development of new residential and commercial opportunities around the town centre and in the Merchants Quarter.

Central Fife

  • Securing property in Cowdenbeath town centre to support regeneration work
  • Build the climbing tower for Fife’s Regional Climbing and Bouldering Centre (Rockgelly) and carry out landscaping to complete the vision for Lochgelly Town House Square. These works will make the area suitable for a range of open-air community events.
  • Expanding a safe and attractive pedestrian area in the town centre to boost the night time economy in Glenrothes, as well as improve cycle path links and town centre signage.

East Fife

  • Develop the Bonnygate and Inner Court in Cupar for a mixture of residential, commercial and retail use.
  • Refurbish vacant and dilapidated properties between Leven High Street and retail park to attract investment to this area.
  • Better street layouts at the north end of Leven High Street to create an attractive, pedestrian friendly connection between the High Street and the promenade and coastal path.

 

Fife engineering company accelerated by £40k investment from Business Loans Scotland

Situated in the heart of Fife, Glenrothes based Creo Engineering pride themselves in offering a unique manufacturing, design and overhaul service for pumps and mechanical equipment within the engineering industry.

 

With over 100 years of combined experience and after identifying a gap in the market for a business of its kind in the area, Creo Engineering was formed by four Directors Iain Bickett, Brian Menagh, Graham Dudgeon and Gordon Matheson.

 

As a brand-new start up business, the team at Creo recognised that the first few months would be crucial to its success and were determined to minimise any risk potential. With a vision in year one to carry out research and development work into producing their very own product range, the Directors were keen to raise working capital to support this and help the business in its early stages of trading.

 

After approaching their Business Gateway Adviser in Fife to explore the different funding sources available, the Directors of Creo Engineering were made aware of Business Loans Scotland (BLS) and its offering of loans from £25,000 to £100,000 for new and growing Scottish SMEs.

 

Identifying this as a fitting source of funding, the Directors made the decision to apply for a loan from BLS and within a matter of weeks, were delighted to secure a loan of £40,000.

 

Securing the funding has been fundamental to injecting much needed capital into the business and will allow the team at Creo to work towards their goal of producing their own range of pumps, selling these initially within the UK market before exploring further export potential into Europe and beyond.

 

Speaking of the loan secured, Director of Creo Engineering, Iain Bickett said:

 

“The help and assistance through our local Adviser from Business Gateway Fife and Business Loans Scotland have been instrumental in giving us the opportunity to start our business. This support has continued as we look to develop our business through innovation, design and manufacture of our own product range.”

 

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

 

“I am delighted that Business Loans Scotland has been able to support Creo Engineering with loan finance to grow their business. We are passionate about supporting the growth and development plans of SMEs across Scotland, therefore with the help of our loans, businesses can achieve their growth ambitions without delay. With a dedicated pot of £7 million in place, we are keen to support many other businesses, like Creo Engineering, access loan funding which will allow them to flourish in the current economic environment.”

 

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

Dates of 2019 Fife Business Week Announced

The dates of the 10th Fife Business Week have been announced – this year’s event will run from 4-8 November 2019 at various venues across Fife.

 

Organised by Fife Council’s Economic Development Team and branded under the Fife Economy Partnership, the week will comprise a programme of inspiring business seminars, workshops, masterclasses and networking opportunities.

 

The events will bring together private and public sector organisations in a bid to promote business opportunities, especially in the region’s key sectors like Food and Drink, Advanced Manufacturing, Tourism and Construction.

 

The Week is a fantastic opportunity to share best practice and give sound advice to new and growing businesses.

 

Fife Business Week 2019 will be co-ordinated by a variety of partners and will benefit from a significant amount of promotion, including radio, local press, social media and an interactive website.

 

A printed version of the programme will also be widely distributed to Fife businesses and stakeholders.

 

If you would like an event to be considered for Fife Business Week 2019, please download and complete an event submission form and email it to craig.rutherford@bgfife.co.uk by Friday 19 July.  Even if you don’t have a fully spec’d event, please submit a note of interest.

 

Please note that while your event will be included in the brochure and profiled on the website, you will still be responsible for booking the venue, taking the bookings and promoting the event.

 

 

 

 

Two Fife businesses benefit from Wild Card EDGE funding

Two Fife businesses have received support from the Scottish EDGE Fund for their innovative ideas.

 

Bplasticfree in Anstruther and Human in Glenrothes have each been awarded £10,000 from the scheme’s Wild Card EDGE category for businesses who have yet to commence trading.

 

Bplasticfree received funding to manufacture a biodegradable, reusable food-grade waxed cotton alternative to cling film on a commercial scale and to develop a new Vegan food wrap.

 

Human’s award was for the production of a unique artificial intelligence psychotherapist which enables its users to reduce psychological stress and increase levels of well-being.

 

Scottish EDGE is the UK’s largest business funding competition, aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent.

 

The competition awards grants and loans of up to £100,000. Winners also receive an all-encompassing pack of support from Scottish EDGE’s partner organisations to help them fast-track and grow their businesses.

 

This year’s winning businesses came from 37 multisector finalists – shortlisted from 289 – who pitched their business ideas live at Glasgow’s Technology and Innovation Centre and Edinburgh’s RBS Conference Centre on 28 and 30 May to two high-profile panels chaired by Margaret Gordon OBE of EY Foundation and Simon Hannah of Filshill.

 

Click for more information about Scottish EDGE and its application process – round 15 of the funding scheme opens on the 29 July.