Free, practical advice ready to nurture your business

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Whether you are a first time entrepreneur looking to start a business or an experienced business owner looking to expand an existing venture, Argyll and Bute Council’s Business Gateway team can provide practical advice and support for free, and in confidence.

DigitalBoost

As part of a national programme across Scotland, DigitalBoost helps small to medium sized businesses use digital technology to generate business benefits. The comprehensive programme of fully-funded workshops aims to help businesses improve their website presence, understand and communicate with their customers better, and ultimately increase sales.

DigitalBoost workshops are taking place throughout March in Helensburgh, Lochgilphead, Dunoon and Oban. Workshop topics include LinkedIn for Business, Keep Your Business Safe Online, Web and Social Media Analytics, Producing Engaging Online Content and Twitter and Hootsuite. To find out more or to book visit bgateway.com/digitalboost.

As well as the local workshop programme, one-to-one adviser sessions with digital specialists are also available to eligible businesses that would benefit from extra support on digital topics. Access to one-to-one support is by referral from a Business Gateway adviser.

Local Growth Accelerator Programme

Businesses with growth ambitions are being encouraged to look at the support available from the Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme. The programme offers grant funding and specialist advice to help support growth.

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 find out more or to register should visit www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/bglgap

The Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-20 Structural Funds Programme, with a total programme value of £544,200.

One-to-one business adviser support

Business Gateway locally has a team of experienced business advisers on hand to help. As well as providing individual support on a range of issues from marketing and funding to taking on staff, the advisers can also signpost specialist sources of help with particular issues, including manufacturing, exporting, or tendering.

In 2017, more than 530 business adviser meetings took place, helping both existing businesses and those looking to make the move into self-employment.

Business skills workshops

A wide range of free business skills workshops are available. Business Gateway’s workshop programme runs throughout the year offering topics for businesses at all stages of development. Workshops aimed at those about to start or still in the early stages include the start-up workshop which covers planning, marketing and finance, as well as workshops on basic bookkeeping, an introduction to social media for business and how to build a business website.

Existing businesses can access workshops covering HR issues, improving marketing, customer care, reaching more customers, selling with confidence, getting more from a website and effective use of social media.

Last year more than 100 workshops took place in Argyll and Bute, with a combined total of 675 attendees. Over 85 per cent of attendees rated the workshops ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’. A programme of similar topics is planned for this year.  To find out what is on offer and to book a place visit bgateway.com/events.