Business project is extended

Dumfries and Galloway Council has made a successful application to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to extend the South of Scotland Business Competitiveness Project to March 2015.

The initiative is run in partnership with neighbouring Scottish Borders Council and now has an overall project value of over £1.6m.

The project, delivered by the council’s business and enterprise team, provides specialist support to the key sectors of food and drink, forestry, tourism and renewables.

Over the past two years the project has supported over 200 businesses in Dumfries and Galloway, including supporting 66 tourism firms to take part in Quality Assurance workshops in partnership with VisitScotland, which helped them increase their star ratings.

More than 80 businesses have been on procurement training to help them when it comes to bidding for work.

Adviser support and grant funding for the food and drink sector has included specific training to help businesses to improve their online presence, enabling them to sell and distribute their products to markets outwith Dumfries and Galloway.

The extension to the project to March 2015 will enable the work already established to be continued and developed. This will include supporting business to take advantage of opportunities in 2014, such as the Year of Homecoming, the Ryder Cup and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The additional funding means more social media workshops and it will help educate businesses on ways to reduce their carbon emissions and waste to help the environment and save money. The funding will also help businesses to seek greater export and marketing opportunities through the council’s membership of Scotland Food and Drink.