Year of success for Business Gateway

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Published Date: 

26 Jul 2017 - 11:34

MORE than 100 new firms are in business in Argyll and Bute thanks to the help of Business Gateway.

Over the past year it has helped 104 fledgling companies start up, and supported nearly 1,000 existing businesses.

It’s part of a year of success for Business Gateway Argyll and Bute, which supports local firms.

New figures from the organisation show that, from April 2016 to March 2017:

  • Business Gateway supported 104 new companies to set up in businesses – four per cent above the annual target
  • It helped 979 existing businesses – the target is 200
  • The annual first-year turnover of the start-up companies helped is projected to be £3.7 million
  • The number of full-time jobs created by the new firms is expected to be 109
  • The one-year survival rate for businesses is 86 per cent, more than the target of 77 per cent and above the national benchmark of 80 per cent
  • The three-year survival rate for businesses is 70 per cent, beating the local target of 62 per cent and national target of 67 per cent
  • Over the 12 months Business Gateway held 154 workshops for businesses in Argyll and Bute, with more than 920 people attending
  • Customer satisfaction with those using the service is 85 per cent, above the national figure of 83 per cent.

It also runs the Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme, which was launched in October 2016 and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

It has a total value of £544,200 and will run until the end of 2018. The programme provides additional support to growing businesses via specialist advice, workshops and grants to eligible small and medium-sized enterprises. You can register for support and grant funding at

Council Leader and Policy Lead for Economic Development, Councillor Aileen Morton, said: “These figures are a real success story for Business Gateway Argyll and Bute.

“We are proud to be one of Scotland’s most promising regions, and this hugely successful year is testament to that.

“Together with the Council and our other partners, Business Gateway is helping build a prosperous future, boost the economy, and make Argyll and Bute an attractive place in which to invest, work and live.

“With results like this, a host of new businesses launching and existing firms growing, we’re going from strength to strength.

“If you are thinking of starting a new business, or are already operating and would like to take advantage of Business Gateway’s support, please get in touch and the advisers will be happy to help.”

Business Gateway offers free and impartial advice to anyone wanting to start up or develop a business in Argyll and Bute, with regional advisers covering the area. It provides one-to-one support from its advisers and arranges a variety of locally-run courses.


Sweet success for Helensburgh chocolatier

A former Army medic who formed her own chocolate business is seeing her products go down a treat.

Melanie Neil, who is based in Helensburgh, launched CocoaMo in 2014 with support from Business Gateway, creating artisan chocolates using local and organic ingredients and single origin cocoa.

She said: “I was keen to make Business Gateway my first stop before I launched CocoaMo, as I had no previous business experience. My adviser was a wealth of information, providing me with details from accounting to food standards contacts. This help, along with everything I learned from attending the free courses Business Gateway host, has been invaluable to me and CocoaMo’s growth.”

Melanie has continued to benefit from support and in 2016 was a winner in the Business Gateway competition to secure a trade stand at the Best of the West festival.

After taking early retirement from her position as a medical professional with the Army, Melanie, a keen baker, wanted to master the techniques of a professional chocolatier. She began working on her first collection after taking an intensive chocolate Master Chef course.

Dunoon architects reach for the skies

Dunoon-based architects practice Architeco, which specialises in sustainable design, has recently expanded, moving into bigger offices and taking on extra staff.

With support from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute, the company is investing in cutting-edge technology to ensure it stays out in front in its field.

Architeco was awarded a Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator programme grant, allowing it to invest in software that can accurately predict the energy performance of new buildings.

Founder Colin Potter said: “This is a huge investment for a small business and Business Gateway was essential in helping us access the funding to purchase additional licences and hardware. Our adviser has been incredibly helpful and we are now looking at other opportunities to explore, such as staff training that will bring new skills to our practice.”

Architeco was set up in 2011 and has continued to grow, working across the country. It is now a team of seven. Colin was one of the first architects to be certified as a Passivhaus designer, which is for low-energy buildings, and to gain accreditation in sustainable design from the Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland.

To get in touch with Business Gateway Argyll and Bute, call 01546 604555 or email

You can also find out more at