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Business Gateway boosts city start-ups


Aberdeen has seen a significant number of business start-ups in the past eight months, with almost half (42%, 293 firms) of all new businesses established in the North-east between April and December setting up in the Granite City.

Business Gateway has delivered 217 start-up and growing business training courses across Aberdeen City and Shire during that period, attracting 1,239 attendees. Of these, 59% of courses were delivered in Aberdeen to 897 attendees.

Aberdeen City Council leader Barney Crockett welcomed the news, which reflects the area's continuing vibrant economy and market confidence.

Between April and December 2013, 33 businesses from Aberdeen City were brought into Business Gateway's growth portfolio. This represents 39% of the Aberdeen City and Shire total.

The majority of these (76%), were businesses already established and looking to develop new products, increase their workforce or expand into new markets, both domestically or internationally. These businesses have an average of 11 employees and trade at a turnover level close to 2,000,000 per annum. Collectively this represents income to the local economy of almost 65,000,000 pa.

Business Gateway intends to support the growth plans of these businesses so that they will collectively realise 100% growth in jobs and turnover within a three year period. Not surprisingly, energy represents the most common business sector represented, although the portfolio is wide-ranging and incorporates food and drink, tourism, manufacturing, digital media and technology.

Each business successfully brought into the growth service can look forward to being allocated a business adviser for an 18 month period. This process begins with a review of current operations, before an action plan, which may utilise services available from other local providers including Scottish Enterprise for support, is prepared.

Many Gateway clients are looking to tackle specific business development areas and it is their advisor's job to look at how to tackle these requirements and any associated knock-on effects. In some cases, access to finance may be available but in most, access to the specialist knowledge of the business advisor and their extensive contacts list is what can save both time and money.

Councillor Crockett said: "This snapshot of the Business Gateway services underlines the level of activity in the city and buoyancy of the energy sector which in turn supports a wider economy creating fresh opportunities for new and existing businesses. Aberdeen's entrepreneurial spirit appears to be well served and supported by the organisation.

"We clearly recognise the need for this type of entrepreneurial support and to that end the city council's own business growth service works closely with Business Gateway and other providers to support business start-ups and to provide ongoing help, support and advice to existing firms, with events including Business Boosters and the Positive Procurement Programme, as well as the innovative Enterprising Academies scheme."