Diving specialists ‘sea’ growth on the horizon with Business Gateway support

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Scuba diving specialists, based in Dunoon, have been able to expand their services and grow their business thanks to help from Business Gateway.

A grant through the Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme (LGAP), funded by Argyll and Bute Council and the European Regional Development Fund under the 2014-2020 Structural Funds Programmes, has allowed the business to develop.

Wreckspeditions, founded by Jason Coles and Claire Hallybone, provides diving charters for qualified scuba divers to shipwrecks and scenic sights around the Argyll coastline.

Both Jason and Claire boast expert knowledge about local sites of interest, wildlife and shipwrecks, and are qualified diving instructors for those wishing to achieve accreditation.

To support their growth, Jason and Claire worked with Business Gateway to access advice and support from an adviser.

This included help marketing their business, which was supplemented by a course on photography, as well as signposting to funding available through the Business Gateway LGAP.

This funding enabled the team to purchase a breathing air compressor, which means that they are able to provide a new service, filling dive cylinders for their customers, where before their customers would have to travel to Glasgow.

This now means that customers are staying longer in the Dunoon area, reducing the business’s daily running costs, increasing profit margins and has helped make them more sustainable as a business.

They were also able to access further funding during the pandemic to increase their offering to local customers.

This enabled the launch of shore-based training courses, as well as helping the business become a Royal Yacht Association accredited training centre.

This has made the business more resilient for the future, as it is now able to offer a greater variety of training from its base in Dunoon and advertise to a more local market –  rather than being as reliant on the tourism sector – by offering powerboat and VHF radio training to local boat owners.

Jason and Claire also applied for interactive recognition through the Royal Yacht Association to offer online courses which will provide increased flexibility for the future.

Jason, director and skipper at Wreckspeditions, said: ‘Business Gateway support helped us scale up our offering and grow our business, letting us give greater choice to customers.

‘Our business is now more resilient for the future, and in a strong position for growth, and it’s rewarding to see many customers rebook with us for 2022.’

Barbara Halliday, Business Gateway adviser, said: ‘For many business owners, it is beneficial to take a strategic look at their operations and identify new offerings that might enabled growth.

‘In this case, Jason and Claire were able to expand their business and provide their customers with a wider range of experiences.

‘This will place them in a strong position for next year and beyond.’

For further information and help about how Business Gateway can help your business, please visit https://www.bgateway.com/.