Argyll firms take up new business support scheme

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Businesses across Argyll and Bute are already taking advantage of a European-funded business support programme launched at the end of last year.
More than 20 local firms have registered for the Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme and four have already been approved for grant funding.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Business Gateway is encouraging growing businesses in the Oban and Lorn area to get in touch and find out more about the support available. The programme gives growing local businesses the chance to access grant funding and specialist advice to help them expand.
The programme, totalling almost £550,000, is funded by Argyll and Bute Council and the European Regional Development Fund, and is open until the end of December 2018 or until funds are fully allocated, if sooner.
The types of grant available are a growth grant of up to £5,000, a new employee or graduate placement grant of up to £12,000, and training, trade fair and accreditation grants of up to £1,500 for businesses in key growth sectors.
The specialist advice on offer from subject experts includes up to two days of free advice on human resources, e-commerce, digital, marketing, growth strategy, funding and tendering.
To access support, businesses must first register for the programme. The programme is open to micro-, small- or medium-sized businesses based in Argyll and Bute aiming to increase their turnover by £50,000 or more within the next three years. Anyone wanting to register or discuss their eligibility should visit or talk to a Business Gateway adviser on 01546 604 555.
A Business Gateway adviser will work with businesses registered for the programme to develop a growth plan and access relevant support. The programme is an additional service and complementary to the support already offered by Business Gateway. Anyone not eligible for the programme is also being encouraged to talk to Business Gateway as other external sources of funding may be available to help a business start-up, survive, or grow.

Workshop places are still available
A limited number of spaces are still available at four free half-day digital skills workshops coming up soon in Oban.
The ever popular Introduction to Social Media workshop runs on March 22. This is ideal for anyone who hasn’t yet used social media for business and who is looking to find out how to get started.
The workshop is delivered by Rene Looper of Tuminds Ltd, a social media expert and trainer with hands-on experience of running his own small business. Rene will talk through the benefits and pitfalls of using social media, and give practical tips on which online tools to use and how.
For those looking to use digital marketing to deliver real benefits for their business, the DigitalBoost Digital Marketing Strategy workshop takes place on April 5.
It covers how to create a digital marketing plan to meet business goals and shares techniques for improving content and reaching a wider audience.
Creating captivating content for the right audience is crucial and this inspiring workshop explains digital trends, how to work with the big search engines and how to improve search results.
The DigitalBoost Paid-for Digital Advertising on April 5 is aimed at those with a digital marketing plan in place and some experience of paid-for digital advertising.
It will help improve the effectiveness of current activity by exploring the merits of the different types of paid-for advertising and the mix of platforms to choose from. It also includes guidance on ad content, sizes, keyword planning, tracking and analysis of campaigns to help pinpoint areas for improvement.
Producing quality digital content helps customers develop a meaningful relationship with a brand and can boost sales.
The DigitalBoost Producing Engaging Online Content workshop on April 6 will help businesses understand what kind of content their customers need, how to source it and how to measure its effectiveness. Ideal for those who already have a business website or use social media for their business, this workshop will help take digital content to the next level and boost sales.
To book a place at any of these workshops, contact Business Gateway on 01546 604 555 or email business.gateway@argyll-
These workshops are not due to be repeated in Oban until the autumn so anyone currently inter­ested in improving their digital skills is encouraged to book a place at these April workshops.