“I found Business Gateway very supportive in the early stages of planning my business” agrees young entrepreneur Stephen Gallacher who has recently launched Pristine-Kleen based in Dunoon. “My advisor, Ann Scott helped me develop my business plan and apply for the license needed for my window cleaning business. It was very useful in those early stages to have someone to discuss my ideas with”. “I attended the start-up workshop” adds Stephen “and it was a great way to pick up useful information and skills to help me run my business. It was also good to meet other people getting ready to start a business and really motivated me to go ahead with my plans”.
Christine Learmouth of Argyll Wedding Planner. “The support from Business Gateway has been tremendously helpful regarding all aspects of my business, as well as giving me encouragement when I needed it most”
Karen Baxter and Allan MacDougall, Argyll Smokery. “Our Business Gateway advisor was very helpful to us. She helped us access funding and also recommended various courses and contacts which we found very useful. It’s good to have someone to call who understands the pressures of starting a business from scratch” confirms Karen.
Argyll Smokery is based in Sandbank, Dunoon but plans to reach markets all over the UK and beyond with a range of smoked products that includes salmon, prawns, oysters, scallops and mussels. Their business adviser Ann Scott said, “I was impressed when meeting Karen and Allan with their passion and vision, and with the range of products they plan to introduce”.
“Business Gateway helped me to focus my ideas for the marketing and overall vision for my new glass business” explains Frances Woodhead, who recently started Tiree Glass, creating a range of unusual handmade products on the Isle of Tiree. “They were able to help with finding funding towards marketing costs and get me thinking more widely about how my business would operate. Business Gateway advisors provide a friendly and efficient service for people starting out in business”
After twenty years teaching art and design in Mid Argyll schools, Lynne Girdwood benefited from Business Gateway support when she set up Fyne Silver, a jewellery design studio based in Ardrishaig. An avid beachcomber with an interest in jewellery, Lynne sets translucent sea glass, iridescent shells, vintage pottery and wave tumbled pebbles with sterling silver to enhance their beauty. "Business Gateway have been on hand right from the start, even when the business was no more than a pile of shells and ideas” explains Lynne. “As a business novice, it's reassuring to know that there is always someone at the end of the phone to offer advice."
“I was made to feel relaxed at the workshops, which gave me the confidence to take part” says Sharon Brady, one of the attendees.
“I was enthused by the depth of support available” George Ferguson.
“Learning what to prepare for, how to do it and, what help there is for a new business was very useful” concludes Stephen Gallacher.
“I was delighted in the first instance that such a course was being held locally” said Isobel Lindsay of Millcroft Lavender. “I went on it with the expectation that if I at least understood some of the dynamics and jargon to do with our website then I would be in a better position. I was amazed that I can now construct my own site completely with confidence and make all the updates - let alone I open a Paypal shop with relative ease! The workshop also gave me the chance to network with other small business people and it was a lovely positive start to the year for my business.”
“I attended a number of Business Gateway workshops” adds Pauline Bloor, who recently opened The Dog House, a dog grooming parlour in Kirn. “The skills and information they gave me have been helpful in running my business and it is good to know more support is available if needed from an adviser.”
Caroline Young from Toward, Dunoon benefited from Business Gateway support when she set up Born Outdoors, a new business selling outdoor clothes for kids that are specially designed to keep them warm and dry. Using her Scandinavian roots she sources jackets, gloves and boots specifically made for a range of weather conditions. “With advice from Business Gateway I have been able to get the business up and running in the right manner” explains Caroline. “I attended a number of their courses which I found to be invaluable and I’ve found their website a great resource that I can use at any time and for many of my business questions”.
Moyra Stinson of Back to Backs Massage Therapy commented, “I found Business Gateway’s Online Trading workshop extremely helpful, it removed much of the nervousness I had and I now have a Facebook page and a website which help promote my business.”
Sam Coley of Samteq, a Dunoon based website design company said, “First impressions are everything, today most customers’ first impressions of any business are the home page of their website, you must make it right. A web presence can have many uses, either a simple brochure, information distribution or a full e-commerce shop. The internet is open 24 hours a day; businesses simply cannot do without it supporting the sales and marketing function. “
“The opportunity to meet other people starting their own business and to share ideas and experiences is an important part of the workshops” explains local Business Adviser, Ann Scott. “It’s great to see businesses owners who have met via a workshop continue to keep in touch and support each other”.
Ecopod based near Appin, was delighted with the support available. “It was very helpful to have a contribution towards our costs to help grow our business and it has definitely benefited as a result” explains owner Jim Milligan. The Ecopod boutique retreat overlooks Castle Stalker and offers luxury accommodation which minimises its impact on the environment. Each ‘pod’ sleeps two people and combines classic soft furnishings, high end audio visual equipment and an array of locally-sourced produce and toiletries.