Fife Council launches new Business Charter

A new business charter that aims to promote local jobs, apprenticeships and payment of the living wage has been launched.

 

The charter, which also sets out how Fife Council will support the region’s businesses, outlines the part businesses can play in making sure the benefits of Fife’s economic growth are shared by all.

 

Companies in Fife are being encouraged to adopt the Fife Business Charter which aims to promote the creation of employment and training opportunities for local residents, including those with disabilities. It also encourages businesses to work with schools to support learning and career opportunities for local children.

 

Fife Councillors and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership launch the new charter along with representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses and Fife Chamber of Commerce.

At the launch of the Charter, Cllr David Ross, Co-Leader of Fife Council said: “This Business Charter signals our commitment to a new way of working to ensure that we work with Fife businesses to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the Kingdom in order to create a Fairer Fife.

 

“Businesses are increasingly judged on their values and corporate responsibility policies and adopting the charter is a fantastic way of demonstrating your company’s commitments to those values.”

 

The Charter backs the Council’s drive to develop a Fairer Fife to reduce inequalities and encourages businesses to:

  • Commit to local recruitment and employment
  • Adhere to the principles of fair work and pay
  • Make a commitment to actively support and invest in the community
  • Create employment and training opportunities for local and young people
  • Promote greater inclusion for people with physical and mental health issues.

 

Having recently won the title of ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’ Fife Council remains committed to supporting Fife’s businesses.

 

Co-Leader Cllr David Alexander explained: “The Charter is also designed to make contact with the council easier and more effective.

 

“It sets out what the council will do to help all the region’s businesses whatever their size and sector and signposts them to where they can receive advice and support to both start-up and grow.

 

“It commits the council to procuring as many of its goods and services from Fife suppliers as possible and outlines how we will help businesses comply with statutory requirements.”

 

The Charter was developed in conjunction with the Fife Economy Partnership, Fife Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses.

 

Michael Longstaffe, Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership said: “The Fife Economy Partnership, along with Fife’s two main business networks – the Fife Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses – welcome this business charter and the council’s commitment to supporting businesses of all sizes and sectors.

 

“We encourage businesses to check out this new charter, take up the council’s offers of support, and show their commitment to supporting inclusive economic growth in the region by taking the Fairer Fife Pledge and by signing up to the Scottish Business Charter.”

 

The Charter can be found at https://businesscharter.fife.scot.

Fife Council welcomes town centre funding from the Scottish Government

Fife is to benefit from a new £50 million Scottish Government fund to improve struggling town centres.

 

Fife Council is to be the largest beneficiary of The Town Centre Fund, which is to be distributed amongst all 32 local authorities to finance a wide range of investments to make town centres more vibrant, enterprising and accessible.

 

Convener of the Council’s Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee, Cllr Altany Craik, welcomed the announcement saying: “Our recent budget called for more funding from the Scottish Government to support our efforts and I’m pleased this request has been answered with this announcement.

 

“The Scottish Government has recognised the importance of investing in Fife’s town centres by allocating over £4.3 million for Fife.

 

“The funding will be used to support our town centres to become more diverse and sustainable and to increase footfall through local improvements and partnerships.

 

“This new fund complements wider support for town centres available through Scotland’s Towns Partnerships.  Fife Council works closely with the Partnership and will look at both quick wins and longer-terms strategic plans for its town centres.

 

“We will look to focus this funding on Mid-Fife, where we are developing an action plan and working closely with partners and communities to ensure that its town centres have a vibrant and essential role in supporting future economic and housing growth.

 

“Across the UK, town centres are facing persistent and serious challenges as consumer behaviour and economic changes cause difficulties in filling retail units and higher vacancy rates.  This is not just a Fife issue – it is a UK issue.

 

“We are 100% committed to supporting the evolution of town centres, particularly where challenges have been more pronounced. For example, in Kirkcaldy, we’re working closely with the local Business Improvement District, Kirkcaldy4All, business owners, property managers and organisations such as the Kirkcaldy Ambitions Partnership to deliver an enhanced town centre experience for shoppers and visitors.”

 

Click for more information about the fund.

 

 

 

 

Levenmouth Local Energy Project Business Breakfast

Find out how to get involved in the  Levenmouth Local Energy Project at a Business Breakfast on 28 March.

 

Businesses in the Levenmouth area are invited to attend the event which which is taking place from 8.30-10.30am at the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre in Methil.

 

Organised by Fife Council and Green Business Fife, as part of a pilot project to reduce heat and energy consumption in the area, the event will also give you the opportunity to get free advice on how to reduce your energy and waste costs.

 

Resource Efficient Scotland will be on hand to outline the services it can offer, including its SME loan fund which is currently offering a 15% cash back.

 

Cllr Vettraino, convener of Fife Council’s Environment, Protective Services & Community Safety Committee, said: “This event is a great opportunity for Levenmouth businesses to come along, make new contacts and learn how they can reduce their business energy costs from expert Resource Efficient Scotland Advisers.”

 

Click for further details about the event and to book your place or email info@greenbusinessfife.co.uk

 

Click for more information on the Levenmouth Local Energy Project or contact carlene.simpson@fife.gov.uk

New Training and Enterprise Hub opens for business

A new £500,000 state-of-the-art Training and Enterprise Hub in Kincardine is boosting the area’s economic prospects.

 

The Hub is a ‘game-changing moment’ for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust which, for almost 20 years, has been supporting and improving the lives of the half-a-million people who live in Scotland’s coalfields communities.

 

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) invested £250,000 of its own funds to buy and renovate the former Clydesdale Bank Building in Kirk Street, Kincardine, with Fife Council and the Scottish Government providing match funding from the Scottish Government Local Economic Development Capital Stimulus Grant Fund, supported by the Longannet Task Force.

 

The Hub is now the CRT’s national headquarters and the base for a ten-strong team of staff who are working to help tackle the loss of jobs and economic benefits from the closure of Kincardine Power Station.

 

From spring of this year, the Hub will also be a business support and enterprise location for Fife Council and Business Gateway Fife.

 

This will allow the council and other organisations to deliver events, training and other support services from the Hub to new and existing businesses in the area.

 

Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, said: “I am delighted that the Kincardine Training and Enterprise Hub is now open for business.  This facility, part-funded through the Scottish Government’s Local Economic Development Capital Grant Fund, will be an excellent asset to enterprising individuals, start-ups and businesses with growth aspirations.  It will also provide the Enterprise Hub’s tenants with access to a modern facility that will encourage collaboration, networking and business growth.”

 

Councillor David Ross, Co-Leader of Fife Council and Co-Chair of the Longannet Task Force said: “I am pleased that the Coalfields Regeneration Trust has been able to support the Longannet Task Force and Fife Council in delivering local projects including this training and enterprise hub within Kincardine.

 

“The partnerships forged with organisations like CRT allow Fife Council, Business Gateway Fife and partners to support local people, employees and businesses to reduce the economic impact of the closure of Kincardine Power Station.”

 

Councillor David Alexander, Co-Leader of Fife Council added: “This new Hub is a huge step in the right direction for the economy in and around Kincardine, and is just one of the projects being driven by the council to boost innovation and provide modern business and industrial premises.”

 

For more information, including the facilities and services provided by the Hub and how to book, email crt.hub@coalfields-regen.org.uk

 

 

 

 

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University of Dundee to provide new Graduate Apprenticeships

The University of Dundee is one of the providers of a major new programme of Graduate Apprenticeships launched by Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

 

A total of 110 places are to be funded by SDS,  with the University working in partnership with employers to provide qualifications in subjects covering Business, Civil and Manufacturing Engineering, IT and Software.

 

Businesses can either recommend an existing employee to undertake a Graduate Apprenticeship or take on a new member of staff.

 

The scheme allows Graduate Apprentices to combine their tuition at Dundee while working at an organisation involved in their relevant sector of study.

 

Kirsty Scott, Industrial Liaison Officer at Dundee said: “Graduate Apprenticechips are making huge contributions to employers by retaining staff and skills in the local economy. By unveiling our largest number of Graduate Apprenticeships to date, we at the University of Dundee are illustrating our commitment to our local community and helping more people fulfil their career ambitions.

 

The University will offer places in five courses from September 2019:

 

  • Business management (including Financial Services)
  • Engineering, Design and Manufacturing
  • Civil Engineering
  • IT: Management for Business
  • IT: Software

 

For more information, visit the University of Dundee’s website.

 

Research by the University of St Andrews could help in disease diagnosis

New research led by the University of St Andrews could hold the key to the diagnosis of the early stages of various diseases and lead to new drug discoveries.

The research, published in Nature Communications, has developed an innovative new way to hold samples using sound whilst they are gently imaged using light. The ability to hold and image objects will have a profound impact across biomedical sciences, especially those focused on disease identification, neuroscience and developmental biology.

 

Professor Kishan Dholakia from the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy said: ” This is a new way to perform drug-based studies for cardiovascular disease and developmental biology.  We anticipate this approach can also be used for high throughput drug discovery, an important topic for future healthcare.”

 

Click to read the full story.

 

 

 

Project to revitalise River Leven communities secures investment

A project to revitalise the River Leven in Fife has secured more than £300,00 in funding.

 

One of the first initiatives of The Leven Catchment Project has been awarded £250,000 from Sustans Scotland’s Community Links scheme and £65,000 from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s (SEPA) Water Environment Fund.

 

The funding from Sustrans and SEPA will finance feasibility and scoping work, which started last month, for the ‘Connectivity Project’ – one of a series of projects designed to help deliver a wider vision for the region which focuses on a 5km stretch of the River Leven at Levenmouth.

 

Plans include developing a series of paths to connect the isolated communities along the river and unlocking opportunities on vacant and derelict land in the area.

 

“The River Leven catchment in Mid-Fife was historically home to several hundred mills and factories, with a proud population of miners and workers in manufacturing industries,” explained SEPA water specialist Pauline Silverman.

 

“There are now significant challenges in the area and the river has become a barrier between communities, disconnecting people and towns from each other.  The purpose of the Leven Catchment Project is to achieve environmental improvements to spark new ways of working with key partners and communities to create social and economic opportunities.”

 

Key partners in the project with SEPA are Fife Council, the Forth Rivers Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Fife College and Scottish Water.

 

Visit the SEPA website for more information about the project.

Fife packaging firm plans £1.1m investments

Fife-based packing group, Pitreavie, has revealed ambitious plans to invest £1.1 million this year, including on a new office complex and expanded warehouse at the company’s Glenrothes head office.

 

Founded in 2010 by two friends, Pitreavie has rapidly grown from a Fife-based two-man operation into a national supplier with over 100 employees and an annual turnover of more than £13 million.

 

Last month it acquired Aberdeen-based Leiper Associated Packing, taking the number of businesses it owns in the city to three, and in 2018, it acquired a company in Worcester, its first acquisition south of the border, opening up new markets across the Midlands and beyond.

 

Its plans for Fife include the development of a packaging Centre of Excellence where customers can learn about new products and how best to package and transport their goods.  This new development is expected to be open in September.

 

Gordon Delaney, Group Commercial Director said: “Last year, we announced a large investment of £650,000 and spoke of our future plans.  These plans are now coming to fruition and we are thrilled our growth strategy is ahead of schedule allowing us to use expert knowledge in more locations, helping more customers.”

 

Visit the company’s website for the full story.

Fife Fintech Academy to expand after successful pilot

The pilot of a new initiative to address potential skills gaps in Scotland’s fintech community has been hailed a success.

A trial course, run jointly by Dunfermline payment specialist Renovite Technologies and Fife College, took place last month.

 

Around 15 participants with varying levels of experience, from trainees through to seasoned software developers, took part in the course designed to provide a solid foundation in retail card payments which could then be applied diectly to a work environment.

 

The course was the first to be run since Scotland’s first Fintech Academy was launched in Fife last September.  The Academy,  which is supported by a consortium of fintech companies, including Renovite and Dunfermline-base software firm Ingenico, Fife Council, Fife College and FinTech Scotland, aims to provide a steady flow of highly qualified applications for specialist fintech roles in the region to avoid a skills gap developing.

 

Jim Tomaney, Chief Operating Officer at Renovite Technologies said:

 

“It’s fantastic to see the fintech and education community coming together to promote STEM skills development and pre-empt the potential for a skills gap emerging.  I hope organisations and individuals with an interest in working in the sector continue to support and take part in the initiative and help build on its success.”

 

Following the success of the pilot course, a programme of further courses will now be rolled out – contact Fife College for more information.

Fife payment business to showcase wares on international trade mission

Payment specialist Renovite Technologies has been selected to showcase its payments technology to Swiss and Austrian financial firms.

 

The Dunfermline business has been selected by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and Scottish Development International (SDI) to take part in a fintech trade mission to Vienna and Zurich later this month.

 

Taking place from January 23-24, the mission aims to stimulate business between the UK delegation and financial institutions in Switzerland and Austria.  Renovite and a select group of other Fintech companies will be meeting with banks, venture capitalists and other organisations with an interest in fintech and innovation.

 

Previous fintech missions to Switzerland led by the DIT have subsequently generated £45 million in business deals.

 

Jim Tomaney, chief operating officer at Renovite Technologies said:

 

“We are thrilled to have been selected as a delegate for the mission and look forward to showcasing how our work is enabling positive change using state-of-the-art cloud technology.

 

“It’s really a very positive sign that major financial organisations are now rising to the challenges and demands of an increasingly complex payments environment by looking to businesses that can offer the kind of agility and innovation they can’t source from traditional suppliers.”

 

Renovite Technologies, which also has offices in California and New Delhi, established its European headquarters in Dunfermline in 2017.  The UK team has grown from four to 20 since then and plans to add another ten employees – including six trainees – by the end of 2019.

 

Click for more information about the trade mission.