Steve Dunlop, chief executive officer, Scottish Enterprise

Steve Dunlop, chief executive officer, Scottish Enterprise

Those benefiting include a shortbread producer, an agricultural coop and energy firms across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

The Scottish Government created a support package for businesses in Scotland affected by Covid 19 and enterprise agencies worked at pace with VisitScotland and Creative Scotland to design and deliver two short-term funds:

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund for vulnerable Scottish SMEs deemed vital to local, regional and national economies and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund for tourism, hospitality and creative industry businesses that experienced hardship due to Covid 19.

A total of 3,656 awards have been made to companies across Scotland equalling around £145.3M. Visit the Scottish Government website for more information.

Chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Steve Dunlop, said: “It is not an easy time for many businesses and Scottish Enterprise is working hard to provide funding, advice and resources to ensure businesses not only survive, but thrive now and in future.

“The support from the Hardship and Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Funds has allowed companies across a range of industries to continue to trade. We will continue to work alongside Scottish Government and partners to focus on a fair, sustainable and jobs-focused recovery and play a critical role in rebuilding Scotland’s economy.”

Dean’s of Huntly received £150,000 from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund (PERF). The firm produces premium shortbread and has operated with safety measures in place during recent months, starting back initially with a small team and gradually increasing staffing numbers in line with social distancing guidelines and utilising staggered shift patterns.

Managing director Bill Dean said: “The funding is a welcome boost to help gear Dean’s back towards full production. We won’t see precovid normality for some time, but at the moment support like this helps to give businesses confidence.”

Dean’s had recently completed a move to its new warehouse and distribution building and the funding has helped to maintain expansion plans and allow the company to develop new products and plan for the completion of a new 10,000 sq ft production hall.

Bill added: “There is light at the end of the tunnel and Dean’s has great plans for future. We have been doing lots of product development during lockdown and are looking forward to advancing those ideas when we come through this. In addition, we have invested and developed our online capabilities in recent months in order to capitalise from the significant growth seen from this sector during lockdown, and indeed predicted to continue this trend afterwards. Having re-opened our Coffee Stop and Gift Shop, we are hoping to get our cafe bistro operational again in the coming weeks.”

Aberdeen engineering design firm Cadherent received £100,000 of PERF and the grant has provided additional cashflow and allowed the firm to continue to diversify its operations to sectors beyond the oil and gas industry to sectors such as renewables as well as protect its workforce.

Cadherent managing director, David Thomson, said: “Coronavirus has seen a slow-down in orders, as expected. Most of the work our creative studio delivers is driven by clients capital expenditure expenditure and this is often the first expense to be pulled in times of crisis. We applied for a PERF Grant to give us the extra cashflow we need to get through 2020 and to use it to diversify our operations to apply our creative skills to other sectors.

“The availability of the PERF grant has been a huge help to our business during this crisis. It has allowed us to take stock as the situation has evolved without making knee jerk decisions.”

Control Valve Solutions (CVS) is also based in Aberdeen and makes valves for clients in the oil and gas industry.

The business has faced many challenges since lockdown began and responded quickly to establish safety measures, social distancing and working from home against a backdrop of a fall in orders that the company combated through a strategic look at sales.

The firm received £100,000 from the PERF and this was welcomed by managing director of CVS Mick Beavers who said: “We were provided with the PERF details by our account manager at Scottish Enterprise and immediately applied. The process was very simple and the decision was quick, so when we were awarded the grant a great sense of relief was felt.

“The support provided has enabled the business to stay ahead of all operating costs and to make sure every supplier has been paid, it has given the business the confidence to move forward and hopefully come out of lock-down fairly un-harmed.

“We have to be stronger and more resilient going forward, the pandemic has demonstrated how vulnerable the business is and we need to build some cash reserves to cope with any future re-occurrence. We will have to re-shape the business slightly and re-align to the demands and the pressure of the industry we operate in; however, we want to drive forward and still feel investment and recruitment will be on the agenda in the not too distant future.”

North-east farmers’ co-operative ANM Group, one of the country’s largest co-operative businesses which operates livestock marts at Thainstone near Inverurie and in Caithness has had support from Scottish Enterprise to develop its digital strategy. The co-operative also recently received funding though the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund that has proven invaluable.

ANM Group's digital strategy has been used to full effect during the coronavirus pandemic as the business has taken forward online livestock and machinery sales using a blended approach as it has had to limit physical customer numbers on site.

The digital platform side of the business, Thainstone Online, has ramped up its activity over the last four months and has achieved success with livestock recently being sold as far as a farm in Cornwall with upwards of 500 people watching online sales.

Chief executive of ANM Group, Grant Rogerson, said: “It has been a very challenging time for businesses but drawing on the talents of the team at ANM we have continued to operate safely and give confidence to our customers and members.

“We’ve maintained the vital auction mechanism within the supply chain which has allowed our customer to continue to trade. We’ve embraced technology and used it to meet the needs of our customers by not only offering online sales but also using various social media platforms to communicate.

“The knowledge and technology to enable our online sales is something we had been developing and perfecting for a number of years, working in partnership with the University of Aberdeen and Scottish Enterprise. We have really used it to its full effect during this pandemic and as such we have pioneered the system that we will continue to incorporate into our operations going forward.”

Businesses can visit FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot for the latest information on funding opportunities.