By Lucy Ashton
Hundreds of businesses across West Dunbartonshire have benefited from support from the Council in the past year.
Business Gateway, which is operated by the Council’s business support team, provided support to 201 new business start-ups; held 37 free business skills webinars for 202 different clients; and delivered the Digital Boost programme to offer expert ICT advice in group and one to one settings.
The service also delivered grant support to 81 businesses to help them grow and create local jobs; helped 84 business employees with training grants to assist with training costs; 42 businesses benefited from a start-up grant to help set up; and
In addition, the team helped deliver £56,258 of business growth grant support to 28 local businesses which levered an additional £251,068 of private investment into the local area.
The service has also played a vital role in supporting local business throughout the pandemic by administering over £33 million in Covid-19 related grants to over 1,500 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.
During 2020/21, West Dunbartonshire supported 22.3 start-ups per 10,000 population which compares favourably with the figure of 11.2 start-ups per 10,000 population for the whole of Scotland.
Labour councillors David McBride and Lawrence O’Neill.
Councillor David McBride, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “There is no doubt that local businesses have faced an extremely challenging period over the last two years and that is why our business support team is more important than ever.
Coming out of the pandemic and straight into a cost-of-living crisis will mean local traders need even more support and I’m pleased to see that alongside financial support, there is a range of practical support being offered to help businesses make growth plans, market their business well and keep on top of finances.”
The information was shared in a report to the Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development Committee this week, which also outlined the Council’s Economic Development strategy.
The plan details the economic vision for the area for the next five years, with priorities including a focus on stimulating economic investment and growing the business base; establishing an inclusive economy by improving the skills of our people and supporting them into work; creating a prosperous place where people choose to live, work, visit and invest; addressing climate change and supporting a green recovery; and building stronger partnerships and new approaches to delivery.
Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “This new Economic Development Strategy provides a clear approach to ensuring West Dunbartonshire’s economy continues to thrive over the next five years, and will ensure we can determine the best way to allocate resources.”
To contact the business support team for advice, support or financial assistance, please visit: Business Support | West Dunbartonshire Council (west-dunbarton.gov.uk)
Picture: Vale of Leven from the air.