The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 3 May 2013

South Ayrshire Council appoints Eileen Howat as new chief executive

South Ayrshire Council has appointed Eileen Howat to be the next Chief Executive.  Following an open, competitive recruitment process, the Appointments Panel made the appointment today (Friday 3 May).
Eileen (pictured above) has been an Executive Director with South Ayrshire since 2008.  She currently leads the Resources, Governance and Organisation Directorate.  She has previously been South Ayrshire’s Assistant Chief Executive and Head of Finance and ICT.  She has been with the Council since it was formed in 1996 and prior to that held various finance posts with Strathclyde Regional Council.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council and Chair of the Appointments Panel said: “I am delighted that we were able to make such a strong appointment for South Ayrshire.  Eileen brings a wealth of experience and skills which will be invaluable in guiding the Council through the challenges which lie ahead.  I look forward to working with Eileen on continuing our work to deliver the best possible outcomes for the people, communities and businesses of South Ayrshire.’
Eileen said:  “I am delighted to have been appointed as South Ayrshire Council’s Chief Executive.  I am very much looking forward to working with elected members, staff, partners, communities and the public in delivering high quality services throughout the area.
“This is a challenging time for all local authorities but I believe if we work together effectively, we will deliver the best outcomes for local residents, communities and businesses. I am very much looking forward to playing my part in that agenda as Chief Executive.” 
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Web and design agency Paligap launch seventh responsive website

Ayrshire’s premier web and design agency, Paligap, has recently celebrated the launch of its seventh responsive website. The website for Braemar Finance, a member of the financial group, Close Brothers, went live last month following those for the Hillhouse Group, Ingram Motoring Group, Wacky Hounds, and the Bridgend Group.
{Pictured: Lorna Gibson, director of Paligap.]
Statistics show that mobile internet traffic is between 35% and 50% on many websites with this percentage growing day on day.  Evidence of this is shown with a sale from mobile every 2 seconds on Ebay, 38% of UK tablet owners spend more of their time on their device than watching TV and 86% of adults own a mobile phone and use it to access the internet.
Responsive websites adapt in structure and design to suit the screen size of the device they are being viewed on, allowing users to enjoy a seamless user experience no matter where or on what they are using the internet. Navigation changes to be finger-friendly and the design of the site responds to remove the need for scrolling and zooming on mobile devices.
“2013 is said to be the year of Responsive Web Design, and Paligap is definitely at the forefront of this technology, having spent the last year investing in our resource and skills we are delivering fantastic results for our clients and been creating some pretty impressive responsive sites,” said Paligap director Lorna Gibson.
New commissions for Paligap include responsive websites for Royal Troon Golf Club, Coast Entertainments, Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles and Dumfries House Education. Paligap is also of course renowned not only for their web design skills but also for their branding expertise and the recent creation of “Wacky” the face of Wacky Hounds is an excellent example of the creative skills of the Paligap team. If you haven’t met him take a look at
“Paligap are a digital agency at the top of their game. I have no hesitation in recommending their services to anyone who is looking for a state of the art service,” said Wacky Hounds managing director Richard Gibb.
If you would like further information on Paligap, responsive web design, branding or graphic design visit or contact Lorna Gibson,


PR-Inside  Pressbox  The Open Press
Paligap is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Kestrel Press named official printing partner to Bowls Scotland

Irvine-based Kestrel Press, leading Scottish provider of printing, packaging and graphic design solutions, has become official print partner to Bowls Scotland.
[Pictured: Kestrel Press sales director Graeme Ferguson and managing director Colin McCallum.]
Kestrel Press has worked with Scotland’s governing body for the outdoor game of bowls for the past 18 months, its projects including the current Yearbook, National Championships programme and strategy document.
Now, having a formal agreement in place means not only that the company’s remit with the governing body will expand but also that the Bowls Scotland 880 member clubs will benefit by receiving preferential rates.
“Having worked with Kestrel Press over the last 18 months we are impressed with their range of printing services, the flexibility and quality of delivery,” said Alan McMillan, CEO of Bowls Scotland, one of Scotland’s newest sports governing bodies which came into being in 2010 following the unification of The Scottish Women’s Bowls Association and the Scottish Bowling Association.
“By striking a formal partnership for the next year we will benefit from a more cost and time effective service and our member clubs can also enjoy the same excellent services at preferential rates. We look forward to working with Kestrel Press over the coming months.”
Founded in 1973 Kestrel Press provides a comprehensive service from design to distribution of all types of Printing and Print Management.  Its service reaches almost every sector: textiles, pharmaceuticals, financial services, electronics, engineering, construction, transport and the public services.
“We particularly like the way Bowls Scotland has formed from the amalgamation of two traditional governing bodies and is taking on the challenge of modernising the game of bowls and making it more appealing to a bigger market,” said Graeme Ferguson, Sales Director at Kestrel Press.
“It fits very well with what we are working towards here in growing our business, and we are pleased that having given bowls a great service over the past 18 months that they have shown their confidence in us by creating a formal partnership.”
Kestrel Press (Irvine) Ltd,
25 Whittle Place,
South Newmoor Ind Est
Irvine, KA11 4HR
Kestrel Press is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Scottish food and drink industry to target emerging markets for export success

Scottish food and drink exports in 2012 reached £5.31 billion – the second highest on record – according to new figures released by Scottish Development International (SDI).
[Pictured: The Scottish Deli is enjoying export success, after recently tripling supplies of lobster to Japan following participation in an SDI trade mission.]
The figures also show that the top three destinations for Scottish food and drink exports changed during the last year, with the US overtaking France as Scotland’s top export market during 2012. The official 2012 overseas food and drink export figures show that exports to the US grew by 12.5% to £817m during 2012, surpassing exports to France which valued £675m.
The export data also shows Singapore rising up the rankings to occupy the number three spot with exports of £340.5m – the first time an Asian country has occupied a top three spot. This rise is largely due to burgeoning whisky exports to the country, which at £339m, account for the vast majority of total food and drink exports to Singapore.
The total value of Scottish food and drink exports during 2012 was £5.31bn, which represents a 1.4% drop on the 2011 figures, but an increase of 18% on 2010 exports. Food only exports during 2012 were £1.04bn, while the drinks (Scotch whisky) category was worth £4.27bn.
The slight decrease in exports last year is due in part to a drop off in demand from some European countries, as the Eurozone crisis affected consumer spending, particularly across the Southern European countries of Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy.
However, exports to other parts of Europe increased over the same period, with growth in Germany (up 16%) and parts of Eastern Europe; notably Estonia (up 28%), Latvia (up 49%) and Ukraine (up a massive 273%, albeit from a relatively low base).
Elsewhere, one of the most positive developments was a growth in exports to emerging markets across Sub-Saharan Africa (up 9.9% to £246m), Latin America & the Caribbean (up 3.5% to £511m) and Asia & Oceania (up 2.2% to £1,090m).
These results reflect the need for the industry to broaden food exports into new markets, following the success of the whisky model, and Scottish Development International is already working with industry leadership group Scotland Food and Drink and the Scottish Government to develop a new export strategy to target new and emerging markets.
Commenting on the figures, Anne MacColl, chief executive of Scottish Development International, said: “We’ve enjoyed tremendous growth in food and drink exports from Scotland in recent years; working in collaboration with our partners. The intelligence coming from our overseas field teams tells us that the international appetite for Scottish produce remains very strong and we are continuing to see demand from international suppliers. Just last month we hosted a delegation of Spanish seafood buyers all looking to increase their stock of Scottish produce.
“Nonetheless, we can’t ignore some of the ongoing global economic issues which have impacted on exports this year, and we are continuing to support companies to identify where the big market opportunities will be in future years.
“To this end, we are in the process of expanding our presence in regions such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This will allow us to be even more proactive in responding to new international opportunities; particularly in emerging markets where having local staff with in–market expertise is vital to secure new business for Scotland.”
James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink said: "Last year we celebrated food and drink exports passing the £5bn mark, achieving the industry's growth target six years early. This year, we hope that our combined domestic and overseas sales will reach £12.5bn, the target we had set for 2017. This industry remains Scotland's best-performing sector.
"However, latest figures highlight a key area of focus for us. Whisky exports have held up in tough economic times, with growth in Asia and other emerging markets making up for the drop in trade with Europe. The food industry needs to follow that model. Over 70% of our food exports go to the European Union, so we are focused on developing new customers in high growth markets with dedicated resource and increased activity. These markets are looking for premium quality food, with a strong provenance story, so our potential for growth is huge."
Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland produces a spectacular array of high quality premium products which continue to be in demand across the globe. Last year when I led a trade mission to Japan and China – which are two key growth markets – it was clear throughout the trip that the provenance of our food and drink, as well as its heritage and uniqueness, is hugely valued by retailers, chefs and consumers.
“The food and drink industry continues to make a huge contribution to our economy and we have set a new target which aims to grow the value of food and drink sent abroad to £7.1bn in just five years. When some markets closer to home are facing tough economic times, I'm confident the sector will rise to the challenge by targeting export growth in emerging markets such as the middle and far east, as well as the key US market.”
Some Scottish company successes from recent SDI trade missions include the Scottish Deli tripling its orders of lobster to Japan, and Gourmet’s Choice identifying an opportunity to supply Scottish salmon into Ghana.
SDI has also been working with premium international supermarket chains in emerging markets broker Scottish food and drink promotions. Two such promotions were held in the Ole supermarket chain in China and the upmarket Alosra chain in the Middle East with the aim of taking advantage of strong local appetite for Scottish produce. Both of these promotions have been hailed as a success by the supermarkets and SDI field teams are now in discussions re similar promotions with other supermarkets.
Scottish Development International (SDI) works to attract inward investment and knowledge to Scotland to help the economy grow. It also helps Scottish based companies to trade overseas and promotes Scotland as a good place to live, work and do business. It is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and its work is guided by the Scottish Government’s strategy for economic development in Scotland.