Scottish Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee visits Aberdeen Centre of Entrepreneurship

(L-R) John Mason MSP, Deputy Convener, Andrew Burnett Operations Director Elevator, Gordon McDonald MSP, Graham Morgan Deputy Chief Executive Elevator and Gary McEwan, CEO Elevator
(L-R) John Mason MSP, Deputy Convener, Andrew Burnett Operations Director Elevator, Gordon McDonald MSP, Graham Morgan Deputy Chief Executive Elevator and Gary McEwan, CEO Elevator

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Elevator welcomed John Mason MSP, Deputy Convener and Gordon McDonald MSP, Member of the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee, and Alison O’Connor, Senior Economic Analyst at the Scottish Government, to their Centre of Entrepreneurship in Aberdeen earlier this week.

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The visit was part of the Committee’s inquiry to understand the range of business support services available to new and existing small and medium sized businesses at a local level across Scotland, with a particular focus on Business Gateway, and how best practice can be shared and replicated.

Elevator delivers Business Gateway services across Aberdeen City and Shire and Tayside – providing support to around 20% of Scotland’s Business Gateway start-up companies through a unique approach to economic development.

Built on the effective delivery of Business Gateway services, Elevator has created a social enterprise model that has enabled them to re-invest almost £600,000 into the Scottish Economy, generating £6.6million of value.

Between April 2014 and November 2018, Elevator supported more than 5,300 business start-ups across the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area – a 43% increase in start-up business activity. While just 8% of Scotland’s population live in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area, with support from Elevator, this region delivers 12% of the National Business Gateway target.

Elevator is continually looking for opportunities to drive regional economic growth. For example, recognising the high volume of redundancies in the oil and gas industry in recent years, they established our Grey Matters Programme, which has created 11 new ventures since it was launched in 2017.

Elevator has recently also partnered with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) to create TechX Plus. It provides 12 months’ incubator space and tailored business support for companies graduating from the OGTC’s successful technology accelerator programme, TechX Pioneers.

Gary McEwan, CEO at Elevator, said: “We were delighted to host John and Gordon from the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee to share our experience and highlight the potential for our unique business model to benefit start-ups across Scotland.

“Elevator is at the heart of a vibrant ecosystem for start-ups in the North East of Scotland and Tayside. We’re seeing an increasing demand for business support and it is extremely positive that Elevator is being recognised for the positive impact we are making to the entrepreneurial community in Scotland.  

“In addition to Business Gateway services, we deliver a range of commercial initiatives, reinvesting profits to benefit local authorities. Our Aberdeen Centre of Entrepreneurship was the first of its kind and our aim is to replicate similar hubs across Scotland; starting with the launch of Studio Dundee in 2020, which will receive £3million from the Scottish Government through the Tay Cities Deal.”

Deputy Convener for the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee, John Mason MSP, said: “As part of our wide-ranging inquiry into business support, the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee visited Inverness and Aberdeen where we had the chance to speak with a diverse range of Highland businesses and support services, including Elevator and Business Gateway.

“We’ve been asking entrepreneurs about their experiences of starting up and taking the next steps to grow their business. We’ve also been asking people who deliver business support services where they think the challenges and opportunities are, which has really helped us understand what support small and medium sized businesses need. Encouraging entrepreneurship is vital for economic growth in Scotland and we want to ensure businesses can develop and grow with the right amount of support.

“Hearing from businesses, councils and support services including Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Elevator and Business Gateway in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, has been really invaluable in helping us shape our inquiry.”

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