10 years of supporting local business pays off

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Ten years on from when the Business Gateway network was established in the Highlands and Islands, including the Argyll and Bute office, new figures reveal the positive impact that the business advice service has had on the region, with thousands of new and existing businesses supported to create more than 7,300 new jobs.

  • Since Argyll and Bute Council’s Business Gateway service opened in 2009, the service has:
  • Helped over 4,500 businesses to develop and grow.
  • Supported more than 1,000 start-up businesses.
  • Contributed to creation and safeguarding of over 1,200 jobs
  • Enabled over 6,000 people to attend free workshops about every aspect of starting, managing and growing a business.
  • Secured and delivered more than £1 million in EU-funded programmes (leveraging over £600,000 EU funding)

Steven Heddle, chairman of the Business Gateway board, said: ‘These figures demonstrate the crucial role that the Business Gateway service, managed and delivered by local authorities as part of their wider business support, plays in driving growth, skills, regeneration and sustainable communities across the Highlands and Islands.

‘Business Gateway has established itself as a key player in delivering Scotland’s economic and digital strategies and ensuring that SMEs across the Highlands and Islands are equipped with the skills needed to drive inclusive economic growth and create jobs for local people.’

One of the thousands of businesses that have benefitted from Business Gateway support is Isle of Jura-based Lussa Gin, founded by Claire Fletcher, Alicia MacInnes and Georgina Kitching in 2016. They approached Business Gateway for advice to help launch Lussa Gin and have continued to access specialist support as the distillery has grown.

Following unprecedented demand in their first year, Lussa Gin renovated and moved into an old stable building to upgrade its still and increase production. The firm now produces up to 8,000 bottles of Lussa Gin each year, which are sold online, stocked in 50 retailers across Scotland and exported across the EU.

The trio’s hard work and investment has paid off, as Lussa Gin was recently awarded the FSB Small Business Start Up of the Year Award 2019.

Co-founder of Lussa Gin Alicia MacInnes said: ‘As we live in a remote part of Scotland, the challenge to get Lussa Gin recognised in the market was initially problematic. Business Gateway offered us invaluable support while navigating our way through a competitive gin marketplace.’

Barbara Halliday, Business Adviser for Business Gateway Argyll and Bute added: ‘Since we first spoke to Claire, Alicia and Georgina in 2016, they have accessed our one-to-one advice, EU funded grant support from our Local Growth Accelerator Programme, DigitalBoost support (such as website development, search engine optimisation and social media marketing) and recently moved through the Business Gateway growth pipeline to work with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

‘Lussa Gin has also been exported to Sweden and Germany and works with six different distributors.’

For further information about how Business Gateway support can help your business, visit www.bgateway.com.