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10 positive business stories from Tayside and Fife including a Hollywood deal, appointments and grants

The Courier's weekly round up of positive business stories from Dundee, Angus, Perthshire and Fife.
The Courier's weekly round up of positive business stories from Dundee, Angus, Perthshire and Fife.

Welcome to Business Bites – a weekly round-up of positive business stories from Tayside and Fife.

For news, story ideas and tips, please contact The Courier’s business team at

And don’t forget to sign up to our new daily business newsletter (sign up link under the main picture).

1. Hollywood hat-trick for Fife vintage firm

Cupar firm Scaramanga is once again on the silver screen this month after supplying props to the new Harry Potter Wizarding World film Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Earlier this year, Scaramanga padlocks made appearances in The Batman and Death on the Nile.

Last year, Scaramanga founder Carl Morenikeji supplied his favourite franchise James Bond with his padlocks appearing in No Time To Die.

The Harry Potter film is the 17th large production to use Scaramanga’s props in 10 years, but this is the firm’s first three consecutive premieres.

Three more movies featuring the Fife firm’s vintage products are due to come out this year.

Its props will also appear in two Netflix shows, one Disney+ and one HBO show after starting the year with an appearance in BBC’s Call The Midwife.

2023 already has five movie releases confirmed and possible two global TV shows to follow.

2. Charity launches community renewable energy bond

Triodos Bank has launched a £4.7 million bond offer for Empower Community Foundation.

Empower owns two 5MW solar parks near Arbroath and Salisbury generating electricity from over 38,000 solar panels.

Empower Community Foundation’s solar farm in Angus.

The money raised through the bond offer will enable the firm to refinance higher cost loans used to fund the acquisition of the parks and become its sole owner.

Empower distributes surplus income generated in the projects back to local communities through grant programmes.

This has recently included funding Covid-19 support in Angus.

3. Crieff Hydro appoints new head of revenue

Ruth Cousin brings 15 years of revenue management experience to the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels.

Ruth Cousin, Crieff Hydro head of revenue.

Ms Cousin has previously worked for the Manchester Airport group and Hotel Excelsior in Venice, Italy.

Speaking about her new position she said: “I’m over the moon to have joined Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels.

“I love the variety of properties in the group and I’m looking forward to exploring them all and meeting the teams.”

4. Fife healthcare specialist acquires training centres

Specialist healthcare screening and diagnostics firm Agilis Health has taken over RelyOn Nutec’s UK occupational health division.

The Fife firm has taken over the delivery of the corporate health services at RelyOn Nutec training centres in Aberdeen and Teesside.

Agilis Health chief executive Mike Eriksen and RelyOn Nutec commercial director Lee Fenton.

Agilis Health has committed to a six-figure investment to acquire the firm and will transfer across five employees to its ranks.

The firm launched in 2020 initially focussing on Covid PCR, antigen analysis, and international travel, and has now developed into a seven-figure turnover business.

5. Thorntons reduces gender pay gap

Thorntons Solicitors reports the mean hourly pay gap between men and women narrowing by 13.6% since reporting of the issue began.

Its annual gender pay report outlined the firm’s commitment to promoting equality and showcased an improving picture.

Thorntons’ headquarters in Dundee.

There was a mean hourly pay gap for employees of 16.11% – down from 29.66% in 2017 – and a median hourly pay gap for employees of 19.34% compared to 37.2% in 2017.

The gender balance of roles across the firm’s pay quartiles also improved and it retained its 50/50 gender split for its leadership team.

Thorntons has introduced unconscious bias training for the firm’s decision makers and created an equality, diversity and inclusion focus group to promote equality.

6. EQ Accountants welcomes new partner in Fife

Gordon Buist has been appointed a partner in EQ Accountants Glenrothes office.

Born and bred in Fife, he is a qualified chartered accountant, chartered tax adviser, and a fellow of the chartered institute of taxation.

EQ Accountants partner Gordon Buist.

Mr Buist said: “My ambition has always been to become a partner in professional practice, and I am delighted to join EQ as a partner in the Glenrothes office.

“EQ has exciting ambitions for the future, and I look forward to helping to grow the firm with excitement.”

7. Angus Council rewards £600,000 to local businesses

Business Improvement Grants have been allocated as part of the council’s effort to support local firms out of the pandemic.

Among those receiving cash awards are seven local firms who successfully pitched for £25,000 each before a Dragon’s Den-style panel of local business leaders.

These are Reekie Manufacturing, the WeeCOOK Kitchen, Denfind Stone, Reid Hydraulic Services, Pullar Fishing Co., Toll House Spirits and Perfect Laundry.

Head chef and owner of the WeeCOOK Kitchen Hayley Wilkes.

In addition, there were more than 30 other cash awards, and some businesses receiving partial awards to ensure that as many projects as possible were financially supported.

The awards were made possible following agreement with Scottish Government to use unallocated Covid-19 discretionary funds to support Angus businesses.

8. Strong results for new retail concepts in Dundee’s Overgate

The Market and Gather initiatives aim to expand and diversify the shopping centre‘s offering and support local businesses.

All market traders have reported revenue growth for their firms due to high footfall and location.

Women’s Business Station using the Overgate’s Gather space.

Since its launch in November 2021 there have been over 130 market bookings.

Gather is a space dedicated to hosting events that already has over 150 events booked.

These include Dundee Pride for LGBTQI+ history month, tai-chi and young people’s services drop-in with Hillcrest Futures.

9. Dundee University elects new Chair of Court

Staff and students have elected Amanda Millar to chair the university’s governing body for three years.

As Chair of Court, Ms Millar will be responsible for its leadership and effectiveness.

Dundee University Chair of Court Amanda Millar.

A solicitor by profession, she has extensive experience of corporate governance at national and local level.

She was the first open member of the LGBTQ+ community to be president of Law Society of Scotland and is currently chair of Samaritans Scotland Committee.

10. Comrie jeweller fights for Creative Scotland funding

Polymer clay jeweller Laura Grace Caldwell hopes to get her hands on funds for her first photo and video shoot.

Her brand Wear With Grace was selected by Creative Scotland to enter the match funding competition.

Comrie jeweller Laura Grace Caldwell is behind the brand Wear With Grace.

Ms Caldwell aims to raise £5,000 for her “Fabulous Photoshoot campaign“.

Creative Scotland will award funding to 20 creative projects across the country from a £80,000 pot.