The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 6 July 2006

Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire

sets agenda for year ahead

SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE AYRSHIRE will deliver economic development projects totalling more than £17million in the coming year.

The organisation’s key priorities include:

  • £6.4m set aside for implementation of national training programmes (e.g. Skillseekers and Modern Apprenticeships), addressing the pressing needs of key demographic groups locally.
  • £¾m investment in support for new business start-ups, with the aim of helping 600 people set up in business in the coming year.
  • £1.1m to support local companies become more active in global markets.

Major business infrastructure projects across the region will continue to benefit, including Prestwick Aerospace Business Park. Regeneration is also on the agenda with the development of Kilmarnock Town centre, Lochshore at Glengarnock and Irvine Bay. SE Ayrshire will continue work in close partnership with other local agencies to help drive these projects forward.

Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire’s commitment to tourism will continue with investment in the Burns Festival, involvement in planning the Homecoming 2009 event and a clear focus on golf and sailing as a means of widening the appeal of the region. SE Ayrshire will also make contribute to metropolitan west region planning for a dynamic coastal framework, which is expected to bring significant benefit for Ayrshire’s coastal towns and communities.

In addition to local priorities Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire will lead the development of Scotland’s aerospace sector by helping to establish new opportunities, encouraging growth and investment and assisting companies develop new markets.

Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire will also be working to ensure there is maximum benefit for Ayrshire from Scottish Enterprise’s nationally driven initiatives such as ITIs (Intermediary Technology Institutes), the Proof of Concept Fund and the R&D Plus programme. In previous years Ayrshire has led the rest of Scotland in terms of R&D Plus investment, with more funding for projects and companies than anywhere else.

Alongside this vital economic development activity, the entire Scottish Enterprise network will be looking at improved ways of working, primarily tailoring their activities to better meet the changing demands of industry. By working together with other regions and cities, Ayrshire can contribute to greater success for Scotland while also developing its own economy.

Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire Evelyn McCann chief executive said: “We have a lot happening this year, particularly with some very big projects such as the development of Irvine Bay and further work at Prestwick Aerospace Park, which we expect to bring significant benefit to these areas.

“Our commitment to delivering tailored training that meets the demands of our ‘in need’ groups remains firm and we hope to build on some of the good results we’re beginning to see. Similarly we are very keen to continue to build a strong bank of start-up businesses, as they play a very important role in our local economy, while also supporting some of the bigger local players to grow and develop either at home or internationally.”

“Looking to the future, I’m absolutely convinced of the benefits of industry-led metropolitan working, which will play to some of our key strengths, for example in tourism and aerospace, and provide Ayrshire with opportunities we haven’t had in the past.”

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Finance deal promotes

better eye care

DAVID Bonellie is a well-known Ayrshire optician with high street consultancy practices in Irvine, Stewarton and Largs.

Always determined to offer his clients the best of care, David recently decided to acquire new state-of-the art cameras to help ensure patients’ eyes can be regularly monitored without any inconvenience or discomfort.

Digital imaging can capture and record photographs of the interior of the eye without the need to insert drops beforehand.

The procedure is quick, easy, comfortable and accurate. This in turn leads to optical and other health disorders being diagnosed sooner than might otherwise have been the case.

GPs and hospital ophthalmologists find the photographs sent by the optician to be extremely useful, as they provide a huge clinical advantage when consulting with patients.

The investment involved in purchasing cameras for all three Bonellie branches was considerable, and that’s where the help of another local company that has also in the past featured on this website came in useful.

David had known Allan Ross and his Stewarton-based company First Independent Finance Limited for several years, but it was only when he read an article about them on this website that it occurred to him that First Independent might be able to source the funds to acquire the cameras.

"And they did just that," said David. "Not only were they the most competitively priced in the market, but they had the whole deal sewn up in 24 hours."

It’s good to see one local company helping another - with a little reminder from Ayrshire Scotland Business News.

David Bonellie concludes: "I’ll definitely be approaching First Independent Finance when I need any more new equipment, or to finance my next car.

"In the meantime I’m delighted to see how our business levels have increased, and the new cameras have gone down really well with our clients."

Allan Ross set up First Independent Finance Limited in 1999 with capital of just £10,000 in a spare bedroom of his house in Stewarton, Ayrshire. Today his company employs 32 people from office premises in the town’s Dunlop Street, boasts an annual turnover of £60 million, and has become the largest general asset finance broker in the whole of the UK.
Allan explains: “We help businesses to find the best source of finance for large items of capital expenditure, whether it be a commercial vehicle, a computer system, printing equipment or a combine harvester.”

When First Independent Finance was set up, it concentrated on providing finance for farmers, as Allan and his co-director Robin Duncan had previously worked as regional managers in the agricultural finance divisions of major banks.
Since then, the company has diversified. Now it no longer offers finance just to farmers, but also to any type of business needing help with capital expenditure. Allan and his team can also organise car finance and personal loans.
Allan says that First Independent Finance offers a one-stop approach to finance dealing by working with more than 20 leading finance houses, and because of the company’s increasing size, it can often come up with some of the best deals available.
It is this one-stop approach, combined with speed of response, quality local service, customer focus and attractive pricing that has led to First Independent Finance’s geographical coverage spreading throughout the UK from Inverness in the north down to Wales and Kent in the south.