Ask the expert

The Local Growth Accelerator Programme Argyll and Bute is open to businesses aiming to increase their turnover by £50,000 or more within the next three years; or aiming to increase annual turnover to pre-COVID levels or achieve modest growth (below £50,000 increase) within the next three years. Businesses must be based in Argyll and Bute; micro, small or medium sized (fewer than 250 employees and less than €50m turnover or balance sheet total of less than €43m); not account managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise or Scottish Enterprise and not operating solely as retailers.

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Argyll and Bute Council’s Business Gateway can provide expert advice at no cost to local businesses, to support their growth or recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

The range of experts on offer includes those with specialist knowledge in HR, finance, marketing, digital and e-commerce, PR, tendering and business strategy.

Businesses can request a focused one-hour session to address particular issues or questions, via the local Business Gateway team, who will then make the link to an appropriate expert adviser.

To request specialist help, contact Business Gateway Argyll and Bute on 01546 604 555 or by emailing business.gateway@argyll-bute.gov.uk.

Further in-depth specialist advice sessions, up to the equivalent of three days of support, are available to eligible businesses via the Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme, funded by Argyll and Bute Council and the European Regional Development Fund under the 2014-2020 Structural Funds Programmes.

Grant support also remains in place from the programme, with grants of up to £5,000 available to assist growth or recovery plans, as well as grant of up to £1,500 available for training, trade fairs or accreditation.

The programme closes at the end of this year so businesses are encouraged to take advantage now.

DWS Associates is a business consultancy that has expanded with the help of grant funding and HR expert advice from the programme.

‘None of this would have been possible without the support,’ said David Smart of DWS Associates. ‘The intervention made a significant tangible difference.’

Businesses seeking recovery or growth support from the programme must first apply to register for the programme and meet with a Business Gateway adviser by phone or video to discuss their plans.

Details can be found at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/bglgap.

New grant boost for start-up and developing businesses

Following Argyll and Bute Council’s launch in May of two new business grants to help economic recovery, the first local entrepreneurs have already successfully secured support from these funds.

Grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis until all funds are fully committed, so anyone looking for funding should apply as soon as possible.

The Business Start-Up Grant 2022 offers a grant of up to £3,000, phased across three payments, to help new businesses about to start, or those who have very recently started.

More details including how to apply are available on the council website www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/business-start-grant-2022.

The Small Businesses Development Grant 2022 can support 75 per cent of costs up to a maximum grant of £3,000, to help grow micro or small businesses.

Further details can be found at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/small-business-development-grant.

Both funds are supported by the Scottish Government’s Local Authority Covid Economic Recovery Fund.