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Tayside businesses get to the next level with help from Business Gateway

Michelle Shepherd (left) & Fiona McLellan (right)
Michelle Shepherd (left) & Fiona McLellan (right)

After a challenging two years for both established and new businesses across the region, business owners are now getting ready for an exciting period of growth and expansion. This is something that the team at Business Gateway are seeing first hand as they support clients with businesses of all sizes across all sectors.

24-year-old Hollie McNeill is just one of those clients, whose Dundee venture, Pretty Little Cakes, has seen her turn a childhood hobby into the thriving cake shop located on Albert Street.

“My parents taught me to bake from a young age just for fun,” explains Hollie. “I enjoyed it so much that I then began making cakes for family events which progressed to selling them via my Facebook page.”

The young entrepreneur had always aspired to have her own shop but didn’t expect to be able to make that dream come true at just 24, citing it as her biggest achievement to date. Although daunting, taking the leap to secure what Hollie fondly refers to as her “little pink bakery” was made easier by utilising the free support of Business Gateway. The Dundee team was on hand to advise her as she made the transition to larger commercial premises, having outgrown her home base.

After being connected with her dedicated business adviser, Michelle Shepherd, Hollie was able to benefit from Business Gateway’s Business Boost growth service. The package of support is delivered to best suit the client through a combination of phone and video calls, email correspondence or in-person meetings at the client’s premises or Business Gateway Tayside’s offices in Dundee and Perth.

“Michelle has been great in helping me – any questions or issues I’m not sure of, she is always an email or phone call away,” explains Hollie.

Growth Team Leader Michelle has been with Business Gateway for 17 years, proof of her passion for supporting local people to achieve their goals. “I love working with local businesses to find solutions to their problems, “she says.  “The various personalities, business models, and needs bring an exciting new challenge every single day.”

Michelle admits that the last couple of years have had their difficulties. “The majority of enquiries during the pandemic have been essential survivability calls; some discussions have been very challenging and emotional and hopefully businesses have found these chats useful to help get them through. For many, people just needed someone to discuss their situation with and understand what financial support was available to them. For others, they needed to pivot and change their business model overnight and so activity has been forced.”

However, while Michelle is optimistic about what the year holds, the team understands that for some business owners, there will be ongoing challenges given rising energy costs and labour shortages. “For some business owners, there will be difficulties due to high inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. This makes having a robust strategy vital to identify savings and operational efficiencies and is something our advisers can help develop in 1:1 sessions.”

Business Gateway Tayside supports those at any stage of their business journey across Dundee, Angus and Perth & Kinross – from rural ventures to the city centre or online businesses. Funded by Tayside Local Authorities, it is completely free to receive the support and advice needed to ensure budding and existing business owners have the building blocks needed to start, develop, and grow.

Fiona McLellan, Contracts Manager at Business Gateway Tayside said, “Our team really does make a huge difference. You are dealing with professionally qualified advisers who continually develop their skills to give the best and most up to date advice on what’s happening in the local economy, information on grants and access to a wide range of consultants at the top of their game for one-to-one help, all free of charge.”

To find out more about how you could benefit, simply give the team a call on 01382 443 400 or check out the Business Gateway Tayside website.

“How Business Gateway Helped Me…”

Read on to find out what business owners said about their experience with Business Gateway Tayside.

Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson, of Auchterarder-based clothing brand, Robertson’s of Scotland, said: “Our experience has been second to none. Our adviser, Andrew, has guided us towards the most amazing support to further our growth. We have been overwhelmed with advice that we didn’t even know was available to us and this has subsequently resulted in increased revenue and opportunities, so we can’t thank Business Gateway enough.”

Kathy Powrie, of 2nd Chance Tea Room in Inverkeilor, said: “Business Gateway helped me understand what it takes to launch a successful business, giving me practical and helpful advice on my business plan, contacts in the area and funding opportunities. It’s been a fantastic source of help and I would encourage anyone to see what they can learn from their local advisers.”

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