Chamber Matters: Funding for Growth
Published 28 Mar 2015Trudy Morris, chief executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, talks about the work the Chamber does with the Caithness Business Fund and the importance of small businesses to the local area.
One thing that's always been important to the Chamber is to appreciate the role that small businesses play in the local economy. Too often, the focus for investment and support is on large high growth companies. While these companies are an important part of a strong and diverse economy, SMEs account for 99% of all private sector businesses and make a large contribution to job creation.
The Caithness Business Fund was set-up in 2013 with money from Baillie Wind Farm Ltd, who – in addition to supporting the surrounding area through their community benefit fund – wanted to see a wider area of Caithness and North Sutherland benefit from local windfarms. It is a private sector fund which distributes small grants to start-ups and small businesses. The Fund has seen some real success stories in the two years it’s been running, with a number of exciting small businesses getting support to help them get off the ground.
One such recent success story is Jill Innes, an aspiring young videographer. From the very start of the process, Jill displayed a real passion and drive to succeed. With support from the Chamber through a pilot being funded by DSRL and the NDA to give business mentoring support to start-ups, Jill was able to put her business plan together and successfully apply for a grant from the Caithness Business Fund to help her start up.
With the money from the fund and support from the Chamber, Jill has now successfully launched her business, Storyboard Films, and is already working with a number of private and corporate clients.
Jill is just the latest success story for the Fund, with previous recipients such as Kris Hamilton of Hamilton Optimum Training, Chris Sinclair of Sinclair Aerial Surveys, and Annie Body of Annie’s Bakery all achieving great things with support from the Fund.
We're always happy to look at new applications for the Caithness Business Fund. The Fund recently had another tranche of funding from Baillie Windfarm, which contributes £25,000 RPI to the Fund each year, so there’s never been a better time to apply. Small businesses are hugely important to the economy and the local area, and we’re here to help.
If you've got a great business idea and just need a little boost to get it off the ground, or if you'd like to set up on your own but aren't sure where to start, just give us a call. The Chamber team is always happy to help support and guide you through the exciting process of starting up on your own.