By Lauren Crooks
Businesses across West Dunbartonshire have benefited from support through the Council in the past year.
Business Gateway, which is operated by the Council’s business support team, provided support to 200 new business start ups; held 92 free skills workshops for 528 different clients including start up and established businesses; and delivered the Digital Boost programme to offer expert ICT advice in group and one to one settings.
The service also assisted 42 businesses with expert help workshops in subjects which require a high level of expertise, including intellectual property advice and business strategy.
The practical support runs alongside financial support provided through a range of discretionary grants to help local businesses grow as well as create local jobs.
In the past year, 81 businesses received a growth grant, 33 were supported with a training grant and 42 new businesses received a start-up grant to help get them launch.
In addition, the service has played a vital role in supporting local business throughout the pandemic by administering over £31million in Covid-19 related grants to 4179 businesses.
A business recovery programme was also developed which included free webinars; one to one expert advice and support to adapt and recover after the lockdown period.
The information was shared with councillors this week in a report to the Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development Committee.
Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development Committee, pictured right, said: “We know how challenging these past 18 months have been for everyone, particularly local businesses who had to close their doors for so long and then adapt to changing demand when they did reopen. I am pleased to see that the Council is offering so much additional support to ensure our town centres can continue to thrive.
“The range of support available for start-ups and growing businesses in West Dunbartonshire is among the best in Scotland and something we should be really proud of. I’d encourage anybody starting up or considering it to contact the team for advice.”
Councillor Diane Docherty, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “We are committed to offering our support and advice to help businesses succeed and it is encouraging to see such good results from Business Gateway.
“Supporting new businesses is vitally important, as they help improve our communities by creating jobs for local people, and attract trade and further investment too.
“It has been an uncertain time for business owners, and I am proud that we have been there to offer expert guidance to help them adapt and expand where required.”
Picture above by Sean Davenport of Myre Media