From space asteroid mining and artisan bacon production to the renovation of a gin distillery, the Scottish economy has received a major boost after more than 53,000 customers connected with Business Gateway in 2018.
As a result, Business Gateway is set to build on its track record with the launch of a new Missing Pieces campaign aimed at further increasing the number of businesses it helps to achieve their potential and contribute to the growth of the Scottish economy.
Scotland’s national business advice service helped budding entrepreneurs address a wide range of issues during 2018. This included performing a key role in helping more than 3,000 SMEs to scale up their growing businesses as well as provide crucial support that has seen over 9,000 new businesses successfully start up.
Hugh Lightbody, chief officer at Business Gateway, said: “By connecting with us, businesses have the opportunity to develop in all areas – whether that is establishing themselves in the market or sustainably scaling-up. In addition to having access to someone offering impartial advice, Business Gateway has extensive online resources and offers free research services.
“At a time when Brexit offers uncertainty, it’s crucial to continue to grow Scotland’s indigenous businesses and build on their deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit. We want to drive growth forward through our Missing Pieces campaign and demonstrate how Business Gateway can support ambitious enterprises by pinpointing vital business functions which contribute towards unlocking their full potential.
“As part of a wider national and local business support network, we also have strong partnerships with a variety of economic development and business support organisations that our clients can benefit from.”
Central to helping businesses succeed has been Business Gateway’s ability to listen to what businesses need, find the pieces they are missing, deliver the right support and make the right connections. Key areas of support include making better use of digital technology, exploring new markets, innovation and access to finance.
Founder of Glasgow-based Asteroid Mining Corporation, Mitch Hunter-Scullion, is looking forward to significantly scaling up his business this year after first approaching Business Gateway in 2017 for support setting up his aerospace company which is developing the Earth's first satellite capable of detecting and identifying platinum-group metal deposits on near-Earth asteroids.
He said: “We are entering our most exciting year yet. We’ve passed the feasibility study and are enjoying being in demand by multiple private equity investment programmes, so we expect to pay the first down payments for our satellite this year while also starting to bring more specialised engineers and business development officers on to the team.
“That’s us building up to the construction phase of the Asteroid Prospecting Satellite One project and we’re looking to be the dominant global force in the sector within three years with expansion in to Luxembourg and Hong Kong. But we wouldn’t be where we are now without Business Gateway’s support. They are extremely supportive, vibrant and responsive, and make Scotland a very attractive place to do business.
“When I first approached Business Gateway, one of the key things they supported me with was producing a business plan and how to do the admin which was especially helpful because I’m dyslexic. This helps you get over the first hurdle and then gives you access to other economic development organisations such as Scottish Enterprise which takes you to the next level of funding support.
“I recommend Business Gateway to any aspiring entrepreneur I meet. The support available is really head and shoulders above any other local economic development schemes I have seen. If you've got a dream business, Business Gateway will help make it reality.”
With a network of more than 170 advisors throughout Scotland stretching from the Highlands and Islands to The Borders, Business Gateway offers a diverse range of free business support services and advice tailored to individual needs wherever they are on their business journey.
Mark Reynolds plans to expand his Aberdeenshire-based Piggery-Smokery business which he established with the support of Business Gateway after being made redundant from his job in the oil & gas industry. Mark, who makes bespoke bacon products in his Alford smokehouse, said:
“Business Gateway acted as a valuable sounding board, filling in the gaps in my own knowledge about running and expanding a business. Having access to their network of expert business professionals has enabled us to start off our business on the right footing and they have provided us with great encouragement. Going forward, we have plans to use them for support with grant applications.”