A £7million, five year contract has been awarded to continue a scheme which offers support to local businesses across the north-east.
Elevator – The Scottish social enterprise for work on entrepreneurship, enterprise and employability – will deliver the Business Gateway service for Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City councils from April.
Elevator has been delivering economic development activities to the local business community on behalf of the local councils for 30 years.
Business Gateway is a national service supporting start-ups and growing businesses, offering free advice and support.
As well as one-to-one support, the Business Gateway offering includes a catalogue of workshops helping to develop key business skills such as sales and marketing, financial management and ICT.
Businesses with an aspiration to grow can also get support to help them realise their plans.
Business Gateway can also provide support to those facing difficult trading conditions by providing consultant support to diversify, restructure or enter new markets.
The award of the contract comes at a time of great investment across the region and is seen as playing an important part in the delivery of the Regional Economic Strategy.
The region already has a strong start-up culture and it is important to build on this so that new businesses are able to invest in the area and sell their goods and services across the globe.
Aberdeenshire Council is managing the contract and Co-Leader, Richard Thomson, said: “The award of this contract comes at an exciting time for the north-east. Across the region we are seeing regeneration as well as new investment in our towns and facilities and with this comes new opportunities for start-ups and growing businesses.
“Aberdeenshire Council recognises the importance of its local businesses and this investment will help secure future prosperity and maintain our international trading position.”
Aberdeen City Council Leader, Jenny Laing, said: “We are delighted to show our support for start-ups and growing businesses as we take further steps to make a positive impact on our region.
“We are in the midst of the largest transformation programme our city has ever seen, the plans for the future are not just about bricks and mortar it is about improving opportunities available to individuals and businesses alike.
“The Regional Economic Strategy, along with the City Region Deal and the City Centre Masterplan, all highlight the region’s ambitious plans to make sure it continues to be an attractive, prosperous and sustainable place in which to live, visit and do business.”
Chief Executive of Elevator, Professor Gary McEwan, said: “The Elevator Team is delighted to renew its relationship with Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City councils in delivering the Business Gateway programme on their behalf.
“This successful partnership has assisted many thousands of businesses to start and grow, and the most striking outcome is that our region is indeed the most entrepreneurial in Scotland.
“All successful economies, regional or national, have a strong underlying start-up culture across a diverse range of sectors.
“This is certainly the case in the north-east and against the challenging economic backdrop that currently exists, we will renew our commitment to inspire, educate and nurture emerging businesses that have the ambition to grow and develop.”