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The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

Snow Business are you ready for winter? Supplement Inside

Something different is arriving in the Forth Valley Visit your new local branch in Falkirk soon.

Call: 08455 856352 Email:

Issued by HSBC Bank plc. 8 Canada Square, London E14 5HQ. ŠHSBC Bank plc 2011. All Rights Reserved. AC 22265

Life Fit Physiotherapy.................................7 The Toastmasters’ Mission....................... 8 £52m investment to create over 5000 jobs............................. 11 Rowing the Arctic with a Flavell waterproof notebook.................. 13 X-Factor bullying accusations – would it be acceptable in the workplace?.......................................... 14 Support for local Employers.................. 17 Case Study Specialised Castings Ltd.........................18 My Future’s in Falkirk Supplement.......................................... 21-28 The Westfield Lounge and Café.............29 Banking on Falkirk’s Future.....................30 Falkirk Herald Business Awards 2011.....................32-33 Local MP becomes Business Buddy.....36 Supplier Development Programme...... 37 The Business Panel+ Christmas Social Event................................................ 37 What is a QR code?..................................39 Michelin Praise For ‘Scotland’s Wealth of Good Eateries’................. 40-41 The Business Panel+.......................... 42-43 Goodbye and Good Luck......................... 43 Business Gateway.....................................46 For advertising contact D-Tech, T: 01389 736000 E: For editorial enquiries contact the Editor, Michelle McKearnon T: 01324 66 55 00 E: Publisher: D-tech Distribution: D-Tech Distribution InCommerce is published by D-tech Graphic Design & Print Ltd. Unit 14, Birch Road, Broadmeadow Industrial Estate G82 2RE. T: 01389 736000. F: 01389 736002. E: W: Edited by Falkirk for Business, The Falkirk Stadium, 4 Stadium Way, Falkirk, FK2 9EE T: 01324 66 55 00 F: 01324 61 76 37 E: W: InCommerce is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be printed wholly or in part without the written permission of the publishers. The proprietors of this magazine are publishers and not agents, or sub-agents of those who advertise therein. They cannot be held liable for any loss suffered as a result of information gained from this publication. The views expressed by authors of articles published in this magazine are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of or shared by the editor, nor the publisher or the directors, shareholders and/or employees of InCommerce Ltd or D-Tech Graphic Design & Print Ltd.

As we head towards 2012 at an alarming rate, where did 2011 go? In the current challenging economic climate businesses continue to seek new and inventive ways to market themselves. Surveys continue to tell us that what’s important to business leaders is access to business finance, management training and networking opportunities. We have been striving to satisfy each of these priorities with the East of Scotland Investment Fund and the BP Loan Fund. We continue to develop our support network to provide access to relevant training opportunities and business advice as well as access to business mentors. In addition, we have run a number of business networking events through Business Panel Plus. September 23rd saw the Business Panel’s Annual Conference – “Inspiring & Growing Business”. There is more information about the Conference with photographs on pages 4 and 5. The Conference was seen by businesses as a real opportunity for them to come together, share experiences and receive insights from their contemporaries, and the speakers offered advice and food for thought in several key areas. We would like to thank all those who attended, particularly the speakers and the locally based host, BBC Scotland Newsdrive presenter Bill Whiteford. We will continue to strive to develop our network of support for local business and are always keen to hear from you. Please feel free to let us know your likes and dislikes. Don’t forget to send us articles or case studies which you think other businesses will be interested in hearing about. We would love to publish your success stories! We thank our sponsors, advertisers and contributors as, without your support, we would not be able to publish this magazine. Finally, as I shall be moving on to pastures new at the end of this year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2012. I am sad to leave but am sure that the team at Falkirk for Business will continue to actively support you and your businesses in the coming years. Wishing you all the very best. Laurence Barrett CEO

Issue 3 • December 2011

Keep your business healthy this winter.................................. 6-7


elcome to this, our third edition of InCommerce business to business magazine for the Falkirk and district area.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Falkirk Business Panel Annual Conference.................................. 4-5



Welcome........................................................ 3


The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

Falkirk Business Panel Annual Conference


The 4th Annual Conference took place for the second year running at the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel in Polmont, and an excellent turnout of over 130 delegates were treated to a lively morning session of speakers. Following a round up of local economic developments by Falkirk Council Chief Executive Mary Pitcaithly, delegates were prompted to face up to the challenges of leadership in difficult times in an interactive and entertaining session led by Gerry Godley of Godley Corporate Executive Coaching. Dr Jim Hamill continued the interactive theme with his presentation on using Social Media, asking delegates to think about their social media strategy. He clearly identified that while many of us enthusiastically Tweet and Facebook, very few of us have a developed strategy as part of our business plan, something which we need to rectify if we are to use social media more effectively! After a busy refreshment break, it was back to the delegate hall for a Question and Answer session with Curt Hopkins, CEO of Redeem. Curt followed on from the social media topic

to talk of changes in the way we use, and particularly recycle, our hand-held devices such as phones, ipads and tablets. His demonstration of the growth and success of Redeem into the world market place, also underlined the importance of exporting and keeping abreast of change and new markets during this period of rapid development for businesses. Final keynote speaker was Colin Robertson, CEO of local company Alexander Dennis. Colin gave a fascinating presentation on the story of the company and its growing role as a worldwide player. His passion and enthusiasm for his company and product had conference host Bill Whiteford commenting “I really feel like going out to buy a bus now!” Lastly, the Conference heard from Gordon Grant of INEOS, who outlined the plans for the Upper Forth Development Framework. George Stevenson, Chairman of Falkirk for Business, closed the event and delegates enjoyed a lunch and networking.

“The Conference has been extremely successful and we are delighted at the commitment shown by local businesses in supporting the event. Having the sponsorship of the MacDonald Inchyra and also this year the HSBC, helps to raise the profile of the Conference to a wider market, and we very much appreciate their support.” Laurence Barrett, Chief Executive, Falkirk for Business “I thoroughly enjoyed the event.” Tina Crookston, HSBC “It was really good and a worthwhile use of time…the speakers went on to inspire and give hope for the future.” Lynne Lauder, Falkirk Council

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

“A great day and a very well organised event.” Scott Henderson, Xtreme Karting

Issue 3 • December 2011

“A fabulous event; motivating, inspiring and informative.” Vicki McLean, IIP


Keep your business healthy this winter

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

If the festive season is your busiest time of year, you won't want winter weather holding your business back. Even if your business is not seasonal, it pays to be ready.


Whether it's snow and ice disrupting transport, or floods risking damage to your property or stock, there's no doubt winter can bring additional challenges. This autumn, the Scottish Government is encouraging families, business and communities across Scotland to prepare for winter via a national communications campaign. The “Ready for Winter?� campaign is designed to encourage each of us to think about how we could be affected, to put in place simple plans and take some easy action that all together will help Scotland be more prepared should we experience severe and/or prolonged winter weather. An essential part of the campaign is support and grass roots involvement from responders, businesses and organisations like yours. Helping people across Scotland understand the campaign and how they can get involved at a local level is key, and you can play an important role in helping achieve this.

The Scottish Government provides straightforward advice and support to help you keep trading whatever the weather on their website It is also worth checking your insurance policies, and make sure that you are covered for the risks, such as flooding or damage to property, that winter weather might bring. Take particular care where buildings may have suffered structural damage and don't go on roofs to clear snow.

Keep Trading Running a business is not always plain sailing! As well as the day-to-day challenges that you are used to managing, there are risks of more serious disruption and occasionally disasters, whether natural or manmade.

What if: you could not get into your premises because of flooding, snow or a fire? a major supplier went out of business or important pieces of equipment failed? there was a loss of electrical power or problems with road transport or the fuel supply? key members of staff were ill or unable to work? Even relatively small disruptions can have serious consequences for cash flow and for your reputation if they are not well managed, but there are a number of straightforward practical steps you can take to: • • •

reduce the likelihood of disruption occurring lessen the impact on your business; and speed up your return to normal.

Practical steps for businesses Preparing for serious disruptions can help you and your staff to deal with more day-to-day difficulties too. It could also help to improve efficiency and reliability.

If something happened today: Do your staff know what to do in an emergency? How long would it take to recover your IT systems if there was a hardware failure or if they became infected? Would you lose data?

Work fit, sport fit, life fit – it’s that simple, according to David and Arlene Bowmaker. The husband and wife team recently celebrated the opening of their Life Fit Physiotherapy clinic at The Hub in Grangemouth. Olympic and Commonwealth athlete Lee McConnell was on hand to cut the ribbon for the duo. As well as treating professional athletes, Life Fit Physiotherapy offers a full range of services including physiotherapy, sports massage, pilates, back care classes, yoga and sports podiatry. The focus is on prevention as well as treating any injury. “We believe every patient is unique,” explains David. “We want patients to understand all aspects of their physiotherapy and help to prevent recurring problems.” Arlene specialises in occupational health based physiotherapy, including work station assessments and ergonomics. She also teaches pilates.

Guidance and Information Falkirk Council has a duty to ensure local businesses and the voluntary sector organisations in the area have the opportunity and tools to prepare and plan for the recovery from disruption. The Emergency Planning Unit can offer FREE advice and support in developing Business Continuity Plans. Just email us at emergency. or check for details on our website at emergencyplanning

David has worked with athletes, both amateur and professional for many years, and has travelled with Olympic and Commonwealth teams giving him invaluable experience in the sporting world. Physiotherapy isn’t just for sports people though, says Maria Nimmo, Practice Manager: “Come and see us if you have a niggle that just won’t go away. You’ll leave feeling better, having learnt why you are in pain and with practical advice about how to manage it.” “We are all delighted to be working in the Falkirk area, being part of the Falkirk Business Panel, and look forward to building relationships in the community through our work with individuals, businesses and local sports teams.” For more information and to find out how you could benefit visit

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Are key skills and information held by only one or two members of staff? What if something happened to them?

Issue 3 • December 2011

Are all aspects of the business insured?


THE TOASTMASTERS’ MISSION To help you shape your future What Can Toastmasters Do For You? “After an inspirational talk at a Woman Into Business event, Sheila Fraser of Linlithgow Speakers Club alerted me to the fact that there was the opportunity to improve one’s public speaking just along the road in Linlithgow! It took me around a year to decide to join but it was worth the wait. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Not only has it raised my confidence with regard to speaking in public, it has made me realise that Toastmasters offers much, much more! I would highly recommend it to anyone.” Julie Deans.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

Since way back in 1924, Toastmasters International has helped millions of men and women become more confident in front of an audience. At Toastmasters, we can help you to become a better speaker and leader. •

Better Communication – Your best ideas deserve your best words.

Sell your ideas by learning how to effectively formulate and express yourself.

Become more confident and persuasive when giving presentations.

Improve your one-to-one interactions with others.

Be self-assured whilst networking at business functions.

Learn how to use your new skills to pitch to prospective clients.

Become skilled at motivating colleagues or even your kids!

Find out how to negotiate better for a rise in salary with your Boss!

Creating Leaders – Good leaders are good communicators.

Learn the art of persuading others to do what you wish to be done.

Hone the skill of communicating and working as a team.

Gain the insight of varying your approach to suit the needs of different people.

Reach your goals by improving your ability to lead!


Why not pop along to one of Forth Valley’s local Toastmaster Clubs where you will be made welcome and greeted with a friendly smile? There is no obligation to speak, just come along, have fun and soak up the atmosphere by watching the Toastmasters meeting unravel! Don’t delay, make contact today and you will be amazed just how Toastmasters can help change your life! Our Linlithgow and Falkirk contacts will be pleased to give you more information about their individual clubs – contact details are as below:

Linlithgow Speakers Club Lowport Centre 1 Blackness Road Linlithgow West Lothian EH49 7HZ Meeting Times – alternative Tuesdays from 7.45 pm. Telephone or Email Steve: 01324 410260 or 07749 749324 email

Falkirk Orators FDAMH 173 Victoria Road Falkirk FK2 7AU Meeting Times – 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month at 6.45 pm for 7.00 pm. Telephone or Email John or Colin: John Smith 07740987865 or 01324 710033 email Colin McGregor 07847 001153 or 01324 624668 email cm011i1165@

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Day Delegate rate offer includes: • Room hire of main meeting room • Bacon rolls on arrival for all delegates • 2 servings of tea/coffee with shortbread & cake • 2 course hot and cold buffet lunch • Screen, projector, flipchart and stationery • Bottled water, cordials and sweets 24hr Delegate rate offer includes: • All the benefits of our DDR package plus; • 3 course dinner within private room • Overnight accommodation • Full Scottish breakfast

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Aerial view of Grangemouth’s oil refinery

Falkirk given green light to propose £52m TIF investment to create over 5000 jobs

The news signals a significant step in plans to launch a total infrastructure programme for the Falkirk area worth £164m that will lead to investment into key strategic road improvements, Grangemouth flood defences and site enabling works. The TIF scheme has the potential to create over 5000 local jobs in chemicals, manufacturing, distribution and other support sectors and is anticipated to generate £372m of additional value to the Scottish economy as sites in the Falkirk and Grangemouth areas are developed over the life of the TIF. The innovative TIF measure, uses receipts from business rates in targeted locations as a means of funding infrastructure works to stimulate development and create jobs. Councillor Craig Martin, Leader of Falkirk Council commented: “This is a very significant and important step in our plans to tap into the full potential of the Falkirk area. We believe that Falkirk is an economic powerhouse for Scotland and that a huge amount of potential for development exists through growth in our key sectors of chemicals, manufacturing and logistics. We expect that these sectors can play a major part in kick-starting Scotland’s economic growth, boosting exports and creating new jobs. We will work very closely with our partners in Chemical Sciences Scotland, Scottish

Falkirk and Grangemouth area currently contributes over £3bn annually to the nation’s economy the fourth highest in Scotland and it achieved a 70% increase in productivity over 10 years, compared to 45% for Scotland*. Initiating the TIF proposals will enable Falkirk to contribute more economic benefits to Scotland and the Council aims to work with national organisations and agencies such as the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Transport Scotland to finalise the business case. The successful entry was founded on the area’s Economic Development strategy, My Future’s in Falkirk, which was set up to help transform the fortunes of the area’s economy. This effort reaped dividends last year when the area was awarded the Enterprising UK, Scottish Regional Award 2010 award and the outcome of the TIF bid is testimony to the positive perception of Falkirk as a place to do business. The funding will help to develop the area’s strengths in the chemicals sector, encouraging growth and helping it become recognised at international level as a centre for research development and production excellence. Sandy Dobbie, chairman of Chemical Sciences Scotland, said the news was a significant step in further supporting Scotland’s chemicals sector and its economy as a whole. He said: “It is extremely welcome news that Falkirk Council is one of the areas to have been selected for the next stage of this funding. A third of the 8,300 manufacturing jobs in the Falkirk area are based in the Chemical Sciences sector including Grangemouth, which plays such a major role in powering the Scottish economy. So this announcement is very promising for the local area and for Scotland as a whole - especially when you consider that the chemicals sector is our second highest exporter.”

Issue 3 • December 2011

Falkirk Council is one of three local authorities that have been given approval by the Scottish Government to develop proposals under the TIF model and will now work with the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) to develop a full business case for £52m worth of investment.

Enterprise, the wider business community and the Scottish Futures Trust to help realise this potential. By overcoming key infrastructure constraints these high value, job-creating industries can thrive to the benefit of the whole of Scotland.”

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Cllr Craig Martin, Leader of Falkirk Council

Falkirk Council and its partners are one step closer in plans to launch a multimillion pound investment programme as the Scottish Government has confirmed it is through to the next stage of the Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) scheme.

11 *Slims Consulting Economic Statement 2011

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irdrie Savings Bank recently opened a branch in Falkirk’s High Street. As Britain’s only independent savings bank, this is the first branch to be opened outside Lanarkshire in 176 years. The Bank has no shareholders and does not require to pay dividends. Any surpluses made are available for reinvestment for the benefit of customers. The Bank is governed by a Board of Trustees, who give their time without remuneration and are appointed to represent the interests of depositors. The decision to open in Falkirk was the result of increasing consumer and business demand for Airdrie Savings Bank’s traditional style, focusing on maintaining high levels of customer service and a more personal approach to banking. The Bank has a manager in each of their eight branches, with Shirley Reid being the on-site Falkirk Branch Manager. They do not have any call centres. Bob Boyle, the Bank President said that opening in Falkirk “marks an important milestone in Airdrie Savings Bank’s history. For 176 years our branches have operated in

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Lanarkshire but there is clear evidence of a wider demand for our approach, which is why we have now taken the decision to expand.” The branch at 33 High Street, Falkirk offers a full range of services to personal and business customers, including savings and current accounts, overdrafts, personal loans and mortgages, business term loans and money market based accounts. New staff have been recruited locally with personal service being the top priority. The Bank is regulated by the Financial Services Authority and subscribes to the Lending Code, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. It is a member of the Council of Mortgage Lenders and an associate member of the Building Societies Association. Tel: 01324 624501 Head Office: 56 Stirling Street, Airdrie ML6 0AW


Rowing the Arctic…….. with a Flavell waterproof notebook

Through their website, Flavell were contacted by BBC Scotland to supply explorer and cameraman Mark Beaumont with waterproof notebooks for his latest expedition - rowing the Arctic. A team of six led by Scottish explorer Jock Wishart, were planning to row to the Pole, an expedition rowing across the Canadian Arctic, from Resolute Bay to the Magnetic North Pole on Ellef Ringnes Island. The expedition equipment would have to survive the rigours of some of the harshest conditions on earth during the 4-6 week journey, including sub-zero temperatures and shifting sea-ice barriers. However, on 26th August this year, the team, and the notebooks, succeeded in their challenge and made dry land.

Tough Notes

The waterproof notebooks have given Flavell’s a new addition to their already very large range of gift stationery, complementing the diverse B2B commercial print they have been successfully supplying local, national and international clients with for over three decades. “Rowing the Arctic” should be aired by BBC Scotland in the near future.

creative design and print

Issue 3 • December 2011

Flavell’s could instantly see the huge range of uses it could be put to in notebooks for architects, surveyors, divers, sailors, golfers, marine surveyors and insurers, in fact anyone who worked outside in the wet and needed to keep meticulous notes. What they couldn’t have foreseen was that the notebooks would end up travelling all the way to the Magnetic North Pole!

Wa t e r p r Gordon Flavell, oof owner of Flavell Print commented “It’s always really interesting to see what novel uses our stationery is put to. If our waterproof notebooks can survive in the when you nee Arctic, then read or w d to rite outsid e you can rest assured they www.flave can handle all the Scottish seasons can throw at them!”

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Despite 36 years of commercial printing and wholesaling their own range of Scottish Stationery gifts, Flavell are constantly on the lookout for new and fresh ideas. Having visited the biggest European Trade Print show in Dusseldorf they came across a very unusual waterproof degradable paper that can be written on in the rain or even underwater… and it doesn’t turn to papier mache.


X-Factor bullying accusations – would it be acceptable in the workplace? Fans of X-Factor’s contestant Misha B will have been outraged at Louis Walsh and Tulisa’s accusations of backstage bullying, and whilst the contestants are not employees, it does raise questions about dealing with bullying in the workplace.

However, where there is a pattern of worrying behaviour, a formal complaint is raised, or there is a serious incident, it will be more appropriate to instigate the formal disciplinary procedure. The allegation should be investigated in full, which will normally mean obtaining statements from witnesses and victims of bullying before taking formal action.

The claims were made live on air following Misha B’s performance on on a recent edition of the show. The two judges accused her of being mean to fellow contestants and said she needed to “put aside the attitude” Louis added that one of his contestants had complained of being bullied.

Following a disciplinary meeting, the employee accused of bullying can be issued with a written warning, final written warning, or even be dismissed depending on the nature of the allegation and the circumstances of the case. Where there is insufficient evidence to justify a formal sanction, or where parties are keen to resolve the issue informally, mediation between the bully and victim may be beneficial.

The other two judges defended the singer, and Louis was later forced to apologise for using the word “bully”. Leading HR and health and safety firm Empire says the confrontation made for uncomfortable viewing, but highlighted the importance of dealing correctly with such issues in the workplace.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

The firm is urging businesses to think carefully about tackling bullying among employees and about the consequences of failing to deal with such issues.


Being subject to bullying at work is not enough to raise a tribunal claim on its own, but employees can place a claim where an employer has failed to deal with it properly. Most commonly, the bullying will fall within the scope of discrimination laws. Bullying is also very similar to harassment, which is covered by separate legislation. Ultimately, an employee who is subjected to bullying may resign and claim constructive dismissal. CEO of Empire, Steve Cook, said: “When you consider the negative impact a bully can have on a team in terms of low morale, high staff turnover, and loss of productivity, it makes good businesses sense to prevent bullying and deal with it effectively if it does occur.” “Unless a formal complaint or a serious incident has occurred, the issue may be tackled informally in the first instance. Perhaps the bully is unaware of how their behaviour is perceived by others, and doesn’t realise their behaviour amounts to bullying; therefore, a confidential discussion can help nip the problem in the bud before it escalates.”

Mr Cook continued: “It is important to remember that all employers have a duty to take care of their employees, and action may need to be taken even when a victim is reluctant or refuses to participate in proceedings.” The HR and health and safety firm says that those who believe bullying is not a serious issue should take note of a recent case where BT was forced to pay out £290,000 to an employee due to the behaviour of a manager who was openly homophobic, racist and sexist. The tribunal criticised BT for not dealing with the manager properly, and allowing his behaviour to continue unchecked. Ultimately, in any case of workplace bullying it would be unacceptable to follow X-Factor Tulisa and Louis Walsh’s example by broaching the subject in front of an audience! Issued by Frasermedia Ltd on behalf of Empire. Steve Cook, Empire Tel (01224) 701383



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Support for Local Employers CASE STUDY Butcher Robert Patrick receives a quality award from Chef Heston Blumenthal

Skills Development Scotland can support employers in Falkirk by helping them build a strong and competitive workforce through learning and development. As Scotland’s leading skills agency, SDS is equipped to provide employers with advice on skills, training and relevant funding contributions.

So when he signed up 10 of his employees for the Modern Apprenticeship programme, which is supported by Skills Development Scotland, he decided to join them!

A further 5,000 places are being made available aimed at 20 – 24 year-olds who have been unemployed and have been with an employer for less than 3 months.

“Things have changed since I joined my father’s business, at the age of 12 and still at school,” smiled Robert, who runs award-winning butcher’s Patricks of Camelon with his brother Jim.

Running alongside the MA programme is the Employer Recruitment Incentive (ERI), offering businesses up to £2,000 when they take on an MA or create a new post for an unemployed person or others who meet additional criteria and are finding it difficult to get the start they need.

“Nowadays, you need the proper qualifications and the training, and it really counts for a lot. The staff who undertook the Modern Apprenticeships enjoyed the chance to learn more skills.” He added: “It was a challenge, especially when you are working at the same time, but I do see the benefits, both as an employee and an employer.” Recently, the two brothers have expanded the shop by adding a bakery production area and new staff facilities. “We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, so it’s important that we keep growing and developing, so we have something sound to hand over to the next generation when the time comes,” added Robert. “Modern Apprenticeships will definitely have a part to play in that.”

Gordon added: “MAs allow employers to provide clear career paths, with quality structured training frameworks that enable them to develop and retain valued employees. The additional support they receive through the ERI means that it’s easier than ever to take on someone who could make a significant contribution to the business.” Additional support to develop existing staff is available in the shape of Flexible Training Opportunities and the Low Carbon Skills Fund. Supported by the European Social Fund, FTOs were introduced last summer to help small businesses by offering the possibility of refunding 50% of your training costs. The Low Carbon Skills Fund is a Scottish Government initiative aimed at encouraging businesses to access training that assists carbon reduction and energy efficiency. Again a contribution of up to 50% of training costs can be available. For further information visit www.skillsdevelopmentscotland. or call the Employer Helpline on 0800 783 6000.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Champion Falkirk butcher Robert Patrick takes staff training very seriously.

SDS offers substantial support nationally for employers taking on Modern Apprenticeships, including 25,000 new MAs for 2011/12. Of these, 20,000 are aimed at young people aged 16-19 who have the ability to achieve a level two vocational qualification or higher. It also applies to adults aged 20+ who are working in the Government’s key economic sectors and following a supported framework within those sectors.

Issue 3 • December 2011

Gordon MacDougall, SDS Head of Operations for Fife, Forth Valley and Tayside, said: “Skills Development Scotland can help employers in Falkirk direct their people development effort so that they gain more from their investment. We know that a highly trained workforce enables companies to keep pace with changes in technology and working practices, giving them a competitive edge.”


The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

Specialised Castings Ltd, owned and managed by Steve and Nanette Waring, one of only two iron foundries left in Falkirk; the area which was the birthplace of the Scottish iron foundry industry. Specialised Castings can trace its history back to the second ever foundry to be set up in the Falkirk Area - Falkirk Iron Works, which was formed in 1819. Since its inception, the company has passed through several owners over the years, until in 1981 it moved to the site of the old Dobbies Foundry in Larbert. It became known as Falcon Castings, initially producing light iron and alloy iron castings, as well as components for the world famous heating and cooking manufacturer Aga.


In 2001, Steve and Nanette undertook a management buyout of the firm, with support from the Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust (FEAT), now Falkirk For Business, and the BP Loan Fund. The Falcon Castings plant, equipment, as well as the cream of the workforce then moved to new premises in Denny where Specialised Castings Ltd was born. To this day, Specialised Castings has a growing customer base and continues to produce high quality castings for a wide variety of customers and businesses. Products range from large heat resistant castings for the mining industry, to water valves and pump moulds. They also make unique, highly decorative castings ranging from large columns and trusses, to small highly detailed items. Each order can be made to match original designs using existing patterns, or from patterns made in-house from drawings or samples. Specialised Castings can supply any item either as a cast, or finished to individual requirements. The full range of products and services can be found on their website: www.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the foundry is going from strength to strength, employing 25 people, and managing to buck the trend of other manufacturing industries that have been in steady decline. Specialised Castings has shown that there is still a market for local iron castings, and is currently working on a number of projects, headed up by foundry manager Ian Walker. As part of the My Future’s in Falkirk economic development initiative, Specialised Castings has been contracted by Falkirk Council to create a number of iron plaques for the ‘Faw Kirk’ churchyard in Falkirk town centre. The churchyard has recently been re-landscaped and is now having interpretation installed in the form of plaques to highlight the historic importance of the site. This commission is alongside managing contracts with a number of large companies including British Nuclear Fuels. Steve commented: “Alongside the ongoing support we have received from Falkirk For Business, local businesses and suppliers in the Falkirk area have also been incredibly supportive of Specialised Castings. Over the past 10 years a number of large businesses in Scotland have shown that they require castings from a quality, local supplier, and have opted not to import from the larger European and Chinese markets.”


Airdrie Savings Bank Airdrie Savings Bank Head Office: 56 Stirling Street, Airdrie ML6 0AW Head Office: 56 Stirling Street, Airdrie ML6 0AW

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The recent announcement to reduce incentives for solar photovoltaic installations has shocked the solar industry but has been long overdue. The Feed in Tariff was introduced to stimulate the renewable energy market and few can doubt its success. However, the size of the incentive has meant that generous returns on investment have kept the cost of systems disproportionately high and has meant that other renewable energy technologies have been overlooked. With a rebalancing of the incentive scheme there will still be the opportunity to gain from the new tariffs and, coupled with the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive, means that businesses can benefit from combining renewable technologies to reduce overhead energy costs.

Logan’s House Tel: 01236 829 131 Lochlands Industrial Estate Fax: 01236 822 133 Larbert E-mail: Falkirk FK5 3NS


issue 3 - december 2011

Local employers urged to support young people by Backing Falkirk’s Future

However, local employers can help through the ‘Backing Falkirk’s Future’ scheme. Led by Falkirk Council’s Employment and Training Unit (ETU) on behalf of the Workforce Plus Partnership, the scheme provides new and additional assistance for employers to help develop and train the workforce of the future. It has been calculated that if 10% of local businesses offered one training place, youth unemployment in the area would be cut by 25%. Allied International, based in Grangemouth, have been working with the ETU since 2008 and have recently won the Best Training and Development award at the Falkirk Herald Business awards in November.

Craig McKinnon, Apprentice Engineer at Allied International

Peter Duncan, Managing Director of Allied International UK Ltd said “We are committed to the continued development and training of all our employees, and appreciate that the young people of Falkirk should be given every chance of equal access to the opportunities that arise within our business.” He added ”The young people who come to our business via the ETU are quickly dovetailed into regular reviews, training sessions, and weekly meetings. This runs pretty seamlessly alongside their more formal, accredited training being delivered through the ETU and has proven to be a successful formula, and one that we intend to continue to support.” The ETU are asking all local employers, regardless of size and sector to consider engaging with Falkirk Council to explore ways in which additional entry level posts for a young person aged 16 to 24 years could be created within their business.

In return the business benefits from: • A free vacancy matching service to help them find the right person; • Help to decide which Apprenticeship is right for their business needs and to identify an appropriate training provider; • A Falkirk Council managed training programme which integrates into their daily business and meets national quality and industry standards; • An allocated Employment and Training Co-ordinator who will support both the employer and their Apprentice throughout the process; • Support with the costs of training for each individual recruited from the ETU’s existing database of clients; • The provision, where applicable, of an incentive to support the salary costs of each new Apprentice recruited from the ETU’s existing database of clients.

For more information on how to get involved please call the Employer Engagement Team on 0800 028 0363 or email

Issue 3 • December 2011

Statistics show the current recession is continuing to have a disproportionate impact on young people. In summer 2011, 1,625 young people left secondary schools in the Falkirk Council area seeking a positive destination and early indications reveal that just over 200 of those young people are unemployed. In total there are around 2000 young people under 24 years in the area who are currently unemployed and seeking an opportunity.

Falkirk’s Commuters save up to a third on house prices The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme – helping business run better Rodger Querns, Network Rail Project Director, talks about the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) and the benefit to business in Scotland: Even if you are not one of the 90 million people who travel by train in Scotland each year the railway still has a big impact on Scotland and its business community. Scotland’s railway is diverse covering a large area of over 400 geographic miles, more than 2,500 daily services over 2,460 track miles, providing rapid access along busy commuter routes to our major cities while also supporting rural lifeline services. It also supports significant and increasing freight traffic particularly coal. The mix of traffic and its needs are challenging and growing. Thousands of people rely on rail to get them to work every morning and home every night. Businesses rely on these people getting to their work. Businesses also rely on rail to transport their goods around the country; between ports, factories and shops, carrying fuel to our power stations and helping cut the cost of disruption and delay associated with road congestion.

Issue 3 • December 2011

The EGIP programme will deliver significant benefits for businesses across central Scotland, reducing journey times and increasing service levels across key routes. The project will also further improve the appeal of rail as a greener alternative to the car and we are sure the public will be excited by the ambitious scale of this investment and the opportunities it will create for them. Rail is vital to help Scotland build a thriving, sustainable and lowcarbon economy and EGIP is key to building the capacity that Scotland needs to link its two major cities and the various commuter and business hubs in between. Visit for more information.

A report by the Bank of Scotland has found commuters who work in Edinburgh but live half an hour’s train ride away, such as Falkirk, can save up to 34% on the cost of their homes and 11% when commuting within half an hour of Glasgow. The savings are substantial enough to offset the cost of an annual rail pass, which on average costs around £1700-£1800. The bank claimed the average house price in towns 30 minutes away such as Falkirk is £133,000 compared to £201,647 in Edinburgh. Falkirk residents, being mid way between Edinburgh and Glasgow, have the best of both worlds, having the option for one member of a household to work in Edinburgh and another in Glasgow. It remains to be seen whether improved transport links in future will increase house prices in the local area. In Aberdeen, house prices are significantly dearer in commuter areas such as Inverurie and Stonehaven than they are in the city itself.

Your chance to comment on the Local Development Plan A major consultation has been launched on Falkirk Council’s new style Local Development Plan which will guide housing, business and infrastructure development in the area over the period 2014 to 2034. The first stage in preparing the plan is the Main Issues Report (MIR) which focuses on the main changes and key issues facing the area, options for future growth and where new housing and land for employment use should be located. Community roadshow events are being held at locations throughout the area, and details of these can be found on the Council’s website. For further information contact the Local Development Plan Team on 01324 504739 or email or you can inspect the MIR at libraries, One Stop Shops or online at Please note that the deadline for comments is Friday 10th February 2012.

in the headlines Bakkavör to create 60 jobs at new Scottish plant Bakkavör are to create approximately 60 new jobs at their Caledonian Produce site in Bo’ness when they open a second factory in December. The fresh food producers will then employ over 1000 staff at the Caledonian Produce site. Food Manufacture,12/10/11

It was recently announced that Falkirk Council and its partners have been given approval to progress to the next stage of the Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) scheme, in which it will work with the Scottish Futures Trust to develop a full business case for £52m worth of investment. The council and its partners are therefore one step closer to launching a total infrastructure programme for the Falkirk area worth £164m that will lead to investment into key strategic road improvements, Grangemouth flood defences and site enabling works. The project has the potential to create over 5000 local jobs and generate £372m of additional value to the Scottish economy as sites are developed over the life of the TIF. The innovative TIF model uses receipts from business rates in targeted locations as a means of funding infrastructure works to stimulate development and create jobs. New to the UK, it has been successfully used for a long time in the US and other countries.

Portdownie is the new name for the planned 58 acre mixed use development bordering the Falkirk Wheel. Project partners British Waterways and Falkirk Council explained the name is actually the historic name by which the canal basin is known. A new website,, has been launched to provide more information., 06/09/11

Hewden opens new Grangemouth depot Hewden, who hire plant and equipment to Ineos in Grangemouth, has opened a new depot on the Ineos site. Ineos recently placed an order for more than 40 cranes with Hewden for use on its Grangemouth site. The relocation to a larger depot has enhanced Hewden’s response time and capabilities to its customers in the area and the company expect to recruit more staff in the coming months. Construction Index, 01/10/11

Airdrie Savings Bank to open new Falkirk branch The UK’s last remaining independent bank has expanded out of its Lanarkshire home area for the first time, with a new branch set to open in Falkirk. The bank has a 175 year history and is creating five new jobs in the town. Some of the biggest names in Scottish business have together invested £10million to help the bank’s expansion, including Sir Brian Souter of Stagecoach who will officially open the Falkirk branch on 22nd September. Business 7, 15/09/11

Campbells Prime Meat battles back from major fire Campbells Prime Meats, suppliers to hotels and restaurants across Scotland, including the Gleneagles Hotel and Rangers and Celtic football clubs, have achieved a 10% increase in turnover after a blaze which destroyed its main factory in Broxburn. Their new premises near Linlithgow have increased production capacity by 60 per cent. Business 7, 18/07/11

Dow boosting additive capacity at Grangemouth Dow Chemicals are expanding their Grangemouth plant to manufacture more additives for use in rigid packaging, consumer durables and transport applications. The expansion will increase capacity by 10,000 tonnes per year and is expected to be completed in the latter part of 2011. PRW, 08/08/11

Airth Castle spa extension go ahead Falkirk Council has approved plans for Airth Castle Hotel and Spa to expand its spa, enabling it to double in size and to introduce new facilities for both its members and hotel guests. A programme of bedroom refurbishment has already taken place and an additional 50 bedrooms will be built in future. Stirling Observer, 10/11/11

Issue 3 • December 2011

Falkirk given green light for massive investment plan

New name for canalside development

ADL’s new three-axle double deck for export markets. Known as the Enviro500 it can carry 100 passengers.

Sitting pretty. The finishing touches are added to another ADL bus, one of 2,000 that will be built this year.

Just the ticket – as bus giant bucks the trend Despite the toughest conditions in the manufacturing sector for over 30 years there is one Scottish company that is bucking the trend, growing rapidly and pioneering low-emission solutions that are setting the standard for transport operators globally.

In the meantime, ADL has announced a string of further business successes in recent weeks, including orders worth £100m for double decks that will go into operation in Ottawa and Toronto, adding to the North American fleets they already have in Vancouver, New York, Washington DC., Las Vegas, San Francisco and Seattle.

Falkirk-based Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) is now the UK’s leading bus and coach manufacturer, employing 2,000 people worldwide, 900 of whom are based at their principal manufacturing facility and company HQ in Glasgow Road, Camelon.

In parallel with this they have won new business in Auckland, New Zealand, and a recent order for 100 double deck buses to support FirstGroup services at the 2012 London Olympics.

Issue 3 • December 2011

ADL’s pioneering range of fuel-efficient green vehicles are leaving their competitors in their wake, with record orders placed in 2011. ADL now supplies over 50 per cent of all new buses registered in the UK, with around 65 per cent of London’s bus fleet, which carries six million passengers per day, being ADL products. Similarly, ADL buses are the backbone of transport fleets across the UK and in key export territories such as Hong Kong where more than four million people travel on their buses every day. With new build partnerships in North America, China and New Zealand, it is little wonder that ADL has in recent years emerged as the fastest growing bus and coach manufacturer in the western world. Behind their success lies the quality and accessibility of their light-weight, aluminium vehicles, coupled with their acknowledged reliability, durability, ease of maintenance and market leadership in terms of fuel economy and reduced emissions. In just three years, in the teeth of the world’s toughest recession for decades, ADL has increased its turnover more than 100% to £360m – and expects to grow that figure by a further 20% to circa £440m next year. Deliveries in 2012 will also see ADL increase exports from 20% to 35%.

Simultaneously ADL has also been driving forward its strategy to expand its range of hybrid-electric vehicles, which deliver 35% fuel and CO2 reductions. Announcing recently that a further 12 single-deck hybrids will join the Barcelona fleet in June 2012, Group Corporate Affairs Director Bill Simpson said that ADL now has 350 hybrids in operation or in their current production programme, making them Europe’s leading supplier of low carbon, hybrid-electric buses. He also confirmed that ADL intends to take its hybrid technology to a new level in 2012, which will increase fuel efficiency dramatically. Speaking to the press at Europe’s largest bus and coach exhibition in Belgium, he said: “We are on the brink of reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 50%. If we had suggested that three years ago people would have described us as loopy – but we are now within touching distance of the 50% factor.” He added: “There is little doubt that we are leading the world in terms of low carbon technology and its application to light-weight buses. Now is the time for Government and other influencers to get off the fence, support British innovation and help us accelerate research and development that can secure our position at the forefront of the industry. Hiding behind the global economic crisis is the easy way out. What we need are policies that will stimulate manufacturing, create jobs and keep Britain at the forefront of the technology race.”

talkback Gordon Grant, INEOS

Gordon Grant, CEO, INEOS Grangemouth Services & Infrastructure is our featured interview in this edition. INEOS is a leading manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products. The company operates a global network of sites including the facility in Grangemouth; which alone employs over 1,400 people. The company has also been at the forefront of helping to generate a highly skilled workforce in Scotland. Gordon is living proof of the opportunities that exist in Falkirk and he is passionate about ‘My Future’s In Falkirk’ and its mission to build lasting economic prosperity. He grew up in the local area and moved back to work in the thriving petrochemicals sector. Gordon has no doubt that the petrochemicals industry is vitally important to Falkirk and Scotland as a whole. For more information check out

Q. What has been the most difficult hurdle to overcome in business and how did you do it? A. Periods of recession have always hit us hard, the 1980s and early 2000 in particular. We had to downsize significantly in 2002/3 from a workforce of 2800 to around 1600. I knew a large number of the people personally so this was a very hard time.

Q. What makes your blood boil? A. A lack of effort, people not trying, or when people don’t realise they actually have the ability to do a job well. I also hate queuing – especially if the queue is being caused by someone that could make the queue disappear, this happened recently in an airport queue in Rome.

Q. Which famous person do you most admire and why? A. I’m a big fan of Alex Ferguson; he’s an incredibly talented manager and has worked his way to the very top of the game. Bill Shankly and Walter Smith are also up there – I’m a season ticket holder at Ibrox so I’m a big Walter Smith fan.

Q. What makes you happy and contented? A. I am most contented at the end of a busy week when I take no work home with me for the weekend, this doesn’t happen as often as I would like so is a rare pleasure.

Q. Biggest fear? A. Not being able to contribute, whether this is to society in general, at home, in the workplace or to charity.

Q. In one sentence, what piece of advice could you offer to a new business? A. Set your plans out at the start, then it’s just a case of hard work – stick with it, and believe in your business. Q. Careful plans or big risks? A. I’m a planner, so careful plans every time for me. I feel very uncomfortable if there is no plan in place, and this goes for my business and family life. Q. Best under pressure or well chilled? A. I get great satisfaction when I’ve been working under pressure and then in the end it all comes together. When working under pressure you always have to devise a solution.

Q. Last time you shouted at the TV? A. Most definitely when a bad decision was given against Rangers, that’s the only time you’ll hear me shouting at the TV. Q. Best deal? A. One of the best deals I’ve been involved in was when I was managing a small plant in Grangemouth under a large Japanese company agreement. The plant wasn’t making any money at all and we were looking at potentially closing it down. However, one of the Japanese company’s plants in Japan had a big failure and they needed product and some of the components from the Grangemouth plant. We ended up selling the product and components back at a very good profit. Q. Best recipe for winding down? A. My favourite ways to wind down would be a quiet meal with my wife, and at the weekend playing golf or a day sailing.

Q. In a perfect world… A. I’m in control, the business is making money while I’m playing golf. Q. Favourite place? A. One of my favourite places in Scotland has to be the Cairngorms, in summer or winter. I also love Italy and have been to Venice, Milan and Rome, and skiing in the winter. Q. With hindsight… A. I don’t tend to look back too much, I’m very much a forward thinking person, you can’t change the past but you can affect the future. Q. Dream car? A. The best car I’ve ever owned was an Audi RS4; however my dream car would be an E Type Jaguar. Q. Favourite city? A. Paris or Edinburgh. I was born in Edinburgh and went to university in the city so I have a lot of good memories of the city. I love the balance Paris has between the modern and the historic. Q. Favourite book? A. I’m not much of a book reader, however when I’m on holiday I’ll pick up a sports autobiography, the most recent one I’ve read is by the Scottish cyclist Robert Millar. Q. Hobbies? A. Golf, sailing, and skiing in the winter. I try and get to as many Rangers games as possible but consider that more of a pastime than a hobby. Q. Favourite eaterie/restaurant A. To be honest, I prefer eating at home; I find it far more relaxing. I’m also a vegetarian so finding a restaurant with good vegetarian options can often prove difficult. I used to frequent Henderson’s of Edinburgh regularly as a student and still occasionally go back now. My family and I also enjoy The Railbridge Bistro and Queen’s Spice Tandoori in South Queensferry.

Issue 3 • December 2011

Q. Best piece of business advice you ever received? A. Quite early in my career I was given a piece of advice by my boss who said: “It’s good to keep your options open, but don’t let them get in the way of what you really want to do”. Essentially, don’t linger on the possibility something may happen in the future, go out there and make it happen.

Falkirk Business Panel Conference – Inspiring and Growing Business

Odenwald visitors are welcomed to Falkirk by Depute Provost Allyson Black, Cllr Adrian Mahoney and the Antonine Guard.

Falkirk’s twin keen to make business links A delegation from Falkirk district's twin area of Odenwald in Germany visited the area recently - and took a step back in time. The delegation visited parts of the Roman Antonine Wall at Bonnybridge, Falkirk and Bo'ness. The party was welcomed to Falkirk district by Depute Provost Allyson Black and the area's tourism convener, Cllr Adrian Mahoney. As well as visiting the area’s historic sites, the visitors also discussed future arrangements to encourage twinning between the two areas. One idea is to make a link between each area’s websites and to translate information on Falkirk’s business and tourism sectors into German. It is hoped this may start to encourage business links between the two countries and to ensure wider promotion of the areas for tourism. Odenwald features part of the German Roman frontier, the Limes, and has a wealth of Roman remains and visitor attractions. They are bidding to become part of the official Frontiers of the Roman Empire Site (which includes Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall). For more information on how you can get involved with twinning please visit:

Businesses invited to partner with Hippodrome in its Centenary year

Issue 3 • December 2011

2012 is set to be a busy year for the Hippodrome Cinema in Bo’ness. Sunday 11th March marks the building’s 100th anniversary and a birthday party will be held to launch a year of special screenings, workshops and projects including the return of the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema on 16-18 March 2012. The 2011 Festival of Silent Cinema attracted 1,500 visitors and sparked the imagination of the Scottish and UK media with coverage in six major national newspapers, BBC and STV television, BBC Radio Scotland, Central FM, Bo'ness Journal and Falkirk Herald and numerous other online news outlets, blogs and tweets. Organisers of the 2012 Festival and Hippodrome Centenary celebrations want to develop partnership initiatives with businesses in the area to offer a new and innovative platform for promotional opportunities and to strengthen engagement with the community. From transport and accommodation providers to corporate sponsors for Gala screenings, the organisers are keen to hear from you. If you would like to know more about this unique opportunity, please contact the Hippodrome Centenary Producer Shona M Thomson at

Mary Pitcaithly, Chief Executive of Falkirk Council

Over 130 delegates turned out for the business panel’s annual conference on 23rd September, hosted by the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel and Spa near Polmont. With a jam-packed agenda fulfilling the theme of “Inspiring and Growing Business”, attendees were treated to a series of compelling presentations from motivational speakers. Gerry Godley of Godley Corporate– Executive Coaching urged the delegates to “Be the leader we need to be to move things forward” and Jim Hamill of Enterprise 2.0 returned for a second year to update the business community on the ever evolving topic of social media. A Falkirk flavour was added to the day with the presence of two leading local companies. Conference host Bill Whiteford led an interview style session with Curt Hopkins, CEO of Redeem, and Chief Executive of Alexander Dennis, Colin Robertson, spoke of his experience of managing change. Mary Pitcaithly, Chief Executive of Falkirk Council updated the audience on a number of local projects including the bid for TIF funding (see pg 3 of this supplement). Feedback after the event has shown delegates considered the conference to be well worth attending, with very interesting and motivating speakers and a great opportunity to network with likeminded people. If you missed it this year, make sure you look out for it next year.

economic outlook In this edition, the Economic Outlook column focuses on the local housing market as well as providing an update on recent economic statistics.

New build figures also show a significant decline. In 2003/04 just over 1,000 new homes were built in the Falkirk area. This fell to 450 in 2008/09 and under 400 in 2010/11 – the lowest figures since the 1980s. In contrast, house prices have shown only a small decrease from their peak. The highest quarterly average house price in the Falkirk area according to RoS was £135,188 in the last quarter of 2007. This had fallen to £124,082 in the third quarter of 2011 – a decrease of 8%, but prices showed an increase of 1.7% compared to the same period in 2010. Falkirk average house prices are below the Scottish average which currently stands at £163,091. Until the uncertainty in the economy decreases and the availability of mortgage finance eases, the local housing market, like the national market, is likely to remain sluggish.

Economic growth Like the frequency of reports on the housing market, there seems to be almost daily reports on the future prospects for the UK economy. The most recent GDP figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the UK economy grew by 0.5% in the third quarter of 2011 – a higher than expected level and a considerable improvement on the second quarter figure of 0.1%. However, analysts suggest that the third quarter figure may be the result of a bounce back in the economy following the low growth in the second quarter due to one off factors. Growth forecasts remain gloomy. The latest forecast for growth in the Scottish economy is for growth of only 1.5% in 2011.

Unemployment in Falkirk fell slightly in September 2011 but has remained at around 4,500 throughout 2011. This represents 4.5% of the working age population who are claiming JSA. This is slightly above the Scottish average of 4.1%. Unemployment started to rise in June 2008 and rose sharply till the spring of 2009 at the start of the recession. For the next 18 months unemployment stayed around 4,000 before rising again at the end of 2010. Since the start of the recession, the unemployment rate has been above the Scottish average while it was lower than the Scottish average for the two years before 2008. Unemployment in Falkirk since the start of the recession 2008 - 2011 6,000








Source: NOMIS For further information on the economy in the Falkirk Council area please visit the following links: Falkirk as a location: The Falkirk Council Research and Information web pages: Information on the housing market: supply-demand/chma/statistics

Issue 3 • December 2011

Figures from Registers of Scotland (RoS), the Government agency responsible for recording all property transactions in Scotland, show that the number of house sales in Falkirk rose to over 4,500 in 2007, but plunged to only 1,800 in 2009 before recovering to just over 2,000 in 2010. The first three quarters of 2011 suggest that the number of sales in 2011 is likely to be around the same as in 2010. The decrease in sales in Falkirk to 44% of the 2007 total is a greater decrease than in Scotland as a whole, where sales fell to 48% of the highest annual number of sales.

The monthly figures on the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) provides the most immediate information available on the state of the local economy.

No. of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)

It seems like almost every day there is a media report on the state of the housing market, but few discuss the market in the Falkirk area. Like most places in the UK, the Falkirk housing market has been hit by the recession. However, while average prices have fallen modestly, the greatest impact has been on the volume of house sales and the number of new homes being constructed.

Local unemployment

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The housing market in the Falkirk area

Looking for Business Property in the Falkirk Area? The Business Property Register is an ideal point of reference for companies or individuals looking for property in which to start a new business venture, relocate or expand an existing business. Visit /property or call Jennifer Anton at Falkirk Council on 01324 590975.

The Westfield Lounge and Café


A welcome addition to the Falkirk Stadium has recently reopened with the creation of the Westfield Lounge and Café Westfield in the area previously named as Amarillo Restaurant. The restaurant had been closed since the end of May and has now received a makeover and is again open for business. The new café is open on weekdays from 8.30 until 5.00 for lunches, teas, coffees and a wide range of light snacks. This is a welcome return for the many staff who work at the Falkirk Stadium whether for Falkirk Football Club, Falkirk Council or any of the other tenants who occupy the three floors in the West Stand. However, everybody will be made welcome, whether they be business folk making use of the newly installed wi-fi or having impromptu meetings, football fans enjoying the panoramic view over the pitch, passing walkers and cyclists relaxing over a cup of tea and a snack or groups of friends meeting for lunch or afternoon tea. The Westfield Lounge will complement the existing lounges and suites at the Stadium which currently host a wide range of conferences, meetings, weddings and social functions. The new lounge can, depending on layout, cater for up to 200 persons and should prove to be hugely popular with the local community. All of the top class facilities at the Falkirk Stadium are enhanced with extensive car parking and an excellent road network with ease of access from the local motorways.

Football fans are also delighted at the reopening as they will be better catered for at Falkirk FC home matches. An extended range of televised football and other sporting events is also available both pre and post match. The new Westfield Lounge and Café Westfield message is clear; “open for business with a warm welcome for all!” Any further information on hiring, phone 01324 618740 or e-mail

Get tOGetHer at

Open mOnday tO Friday 08.30am – 17.00pm at tHe FaLKirK StadiUm


The Westfield Lounge is available for event and conference hire. Call 01324 618740

It seems that in Falkirk, banks are like buses – you wait a while for one to come along, and then two come at once! Both Airdrie Savings Bank and HSBC are opening new branches in Falkirk and are looking forward to getting involved with the wider business community. Already signed up as members of Business Panel Plus, local business managers Tina Crookston of HSBC and Shirley Reid of ASB are delighted to be moving into the area. ASB attended the Business Exhibition in June and Ms Reid commented: “Our expansion out of Lanarkshire represents an exciting step forward for Airdrie Savings Bank and hopefully Falkirk will be the first of many branches across the country over the coming years. Personally, I’m looking forward to the challenge of managing my own branch in what is new territory for ASB. We’ve recruited a really strong team in the town and have already had lots of interest from local businesses and individuals who are attracted to our traditional approach to banking.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

The decision to open in Falkirk is the result of increasing consumer and business demand for Airdrie Savings Bank’s traditional style, focusing on maintaining high levels of customer service and a more personal approach to banking.”


Banking on Falkirk’s Future

HSBC were involved as partial sponsors of the Annual Business Conference, and were able to use this to promote their forthcoming opening. John Rendall, CEO for HSBC in Scotland, said: “Falkirk has always been on our radar and we’re delighted to have secured our preferred location for the branch. “We’re hoping to replicate the level of success we’ve experienced since opening in Stirling and are delighted with the calibre of the team we’ve recruited locally as we set out to attract and win new personal and business banking customers. This investment is one of several that will be made over the coming months as HSBC continues its growth in Scotland. Falkirk forms an important part of our expansion story and we’re looking forward to getting out and meeting with people in the area as we begin to transform the High Street site.” Laurence Barrett, Chief Executive of Falkirk for Business has welcomed the arrival of the new businesses. “The fact that two such high quality companies are opening in the Falkirk District area is evidence that our inward investment policies are being successful. We are looking forward to working with both banks, and I’m sure they will be regular attendees at our networking events”.

Service • Reliability • Quality • Integrity One of Europe’s foremost non-destructive testing organisations. Inspection Ecosse Limited offer specialised Non Destructive Testing including Radiographic, Ultrasonic, Dye Penetrant and Magnetic Particle Inspections, with fully qualified technicians. We operate in all industries including: • Oil Refining • Petrochemicals • Engineering • Shipping • Power Supply • Food and Brewing • Non Destructive Testing A vital role in a variety of industrial, commercial and service applications. Inspection Ecosse Ltd., Unit 1D, Laurieston Industrial, Estate, Old Redding Road, Falkirk FK2 9JU

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1400 Colours to choose from, there is one that’s right for you. We have a choice of different sparkles that looks amazing with down lighters. We supply full in house cnc service to prepare cut outs for sockets, shapes etc. All toughened safety glass used and opti white glass available.

The new Craze of 2011 GET ONE FREE CLASS TO TRY NULINE Contact Karen: or AJ Glass & Glazing 19 Almond Road, Middlefield Ind Est Falkirk FK2 9HQ Tel: 01324 610610 Fax: 01324 630222 E-mail:


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Monday Morning Cullen Place Sheltered Housing Complete Beginner/ Beginners Monday Evening Downfield F Club Beginners 6.30pm7.30pm, Improvers/ Intermediate 7.45pm-9.15pm Tuesday Afternoon Balcarres Sheltered Housing Complete Beginners/ Beginners Tuesday Night Douglas Boys Club Beginners/ Improvers Wed Afternoon Morvan Sheltered Housing Improvers/ Intermediate Thursday Night

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Falkirk Herald Business Awards 2011 A wonderful evening was had in November at a gala dinner to celebrate the successes in the local business community. Sponsored by RBS, the annual Falkirk Herald Business Awards drew a large number of applications across 11 categories, and over 300 attendees gathered at the MacDonald Inchyra Hotel to enjoy an evening of entertainment and achievement.


2011 Winners Best New Business Mathiesons Foods Ltd

Best Green Business RSM Tenon

Best Website/ E-Commerce

Most Innovative Company/Product IDS

Best Business in the Community Cloybank Estate

Central Scotland Ballet School

Best Small Business

Best Training and Development

Best Large Business

Allied International

Best Sales and Marketing Scott Direct Ltd

Russell’s Country Store

Runners up: Tweedie & Marshall, Refractionz Ltd, Salvage Expert Ltd, Ken’s Yard, HEROtsc, MacDonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa, JH Hair, Auld Toll Tavern, Pierre’s, Action Insight Management, Apex Vets Ltd, Bon Accord Life, Jenni Howitt, Robert Marshall RJM Sports.

Xtreme Karting

Entrepreneur of the Year

Graeme Hamilton (Couper & Co)

Best Restaurant West End Brasserie

Xtreme Karting were delighted to pick up the Best Large Business Award, having previously won the Best Small Business category, but there was even more good news in store when they were awarded the Outstanding Achievement of the Year Award. Directors Scott and Barrie Henderson were thrilled with the company’s success: “To pick up one award against stiff competition is amazing” said Barrie, “but to then receive the Outstanding Achievement accolade is absolutely unbelievable. Scott and I are delighted to accept these awards on behalf of all of our staff who work so hard to make the company the success that it is.”

Photos are courtesy of the Falkirk Herald.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

In times of recession and economic crisis, the Falkirk Herald Business Awards are a demonstration that there is still much to celebrate within the local economy. All of the winners and runners up show that there is tremendous passion and entrepreneurship in the Falkirk area, and Falkirk Council and Falkirk for Business are very proud to be part of this dynamic business community.

Issue 3 • December 2011

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Barbara Davidson of Barbara Davidson Pottery. Barbara has been running her business in the area for over 40 years, and still continues to produce hand-thrown pottery from her Larbert Studio. A well-known face among the business community, Barbara is an active member of the Business Panel and firmly believes that local people and businesses should work together to help the local economy survive and flourish. Barbara praised the local business community and the positive links which exist between the public and private sectors, and said she was proud, not only of her own achievements, but also to be part of such a strong business community.


As well as traditional stationery we provide for all your office needs  full range of office furniture  FREE computer office design  office machines and consumables  computer accessories  mailroom and packaging  catering and cleaning  bespoke stamps  premises management  conference equipment  security for your office  health and safety equipment

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Local MP becomes Business Buddy Gordon Bennie MD of Blue Olive Technology

Falkirk-based company Blue Olive Technology continues to expand, introducing a stationery arm to the business earlier this year. “Not particularly because we were trying to build a stationery business, but because we have 3-4,000 customers and it made sense that we provided a stationery service to them” said MD Gordon Bennie. Recently the team were paid a visit by their local MP as part of the “Get Britain Trading Again” initiative. Organised by the Forum on Private Businesses, the scheme aims to get local MPs spending time with businesses to see what the problems really are.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

“It’s a fantastic idea” enthused Gordon. ”The vast majority of MPs have no idea on how to run a business or have any idea what it means.”


“It varies from council to council, but if you use the public procurement portals, I feel that SMEs don’t stand a chance and hence don’t engage in it, because 1) they don’t have the skill level, or that’s what they are made to believe, 2) they don’t really understand process and 3) just the sheer indignation of being ruled out because you’ve not got ISO9000 or some other qualification that doesn’t fit into their one-size-fits-all system. Essentially, it excludes a great deal of companies from the procurement process and it shouldn’t.” Gordon went on to stress that local governments should be looking to small local companies for smaller contracts, which could help to fund jobs and support local economies. “Smaller contracts should carry a public process with simplified and fast-track tendering,” he suggests. Michael Connarty was very enthusiastic about his visit:

Gordon was partnered with Linlithgow and East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty, who has a long track record of working with the local business community. Michael spent five hours listening to Gordon’s business concerns which focused on what is currently affecting SME’s. “I focused firstly on cash flow activities,” said Gordon. People in every business now are withholding cash to protect their business. You can’t legislate for it but it’s a huge burden on a small company. For me, that’s probably the hardest area of them all, (outside of sales) - keeping cash flow positive.” As a small business manager, Gordon is all too aware of the constraints around local government procurement. “Local governments try to use big corporate tactics against small companies, turning them away saying, “You don’t have this quality standard or that one,” – it becomes a weighting factor and small companies don’t know how to react to that.”

“Business Buddies’ is a very important scheme to keep MPs in touch with people at the sharp end of the economy and I have ‘buddied - up’ with Ecosse Peugeot in Bo’ness and Blue Olive, both businesses being exactly the kind of SME’s that can create jobs for the future. On local tendering rights, I have spoken to the Council Leader, Craig Martin and know Falkirk Council have a policy that should allow local small businesses to be considered for council contracts. I also know that Falkirk Council is a partner in the Supplier Development Programme which provides free procurement advice to SMEs.” Article provided by Nina Rosandic, Dealer Support, Intelligent Media

The Business Panel+ Christmas Social Event

Forth Valley local authorities join forces to procure best results The Supplier Development Programme is a Scotland-wide initiative aimed at helping businesses to tender for and secure contracts with public sector bodies. Falkirk Council has now been joined as partners by both Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils, who launched their memberships this autumn.

Stirling launched their membership with an event on November 28th at Stirling Enterprise, John Player Building and Councillor Scott Farmer, deputy leader of Stirling Council is enthusiastic about becoming involved in the programme. He said, "I'm delighted that Stirling is now a partner in the Supplier Development Programme. Our businesses will now be more prepared to tender for, and win exciting contract opportunities with the public sector." Joint events will begin in 2012 with a range of workshops and seminars across Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire. Dates to be confirmed, please check SDP website for further announcements!

Built in the 14th Century Callendar House is set in 500 acres of parkland and woodland, and is a major heritage centre in the area with museums, a fully operational Georgian kitchen and magnificent reception rooms in which the Business Panel event will be held. In previous years guests have been entertained by a string quartet drawn from senior pupils in local high schools and the whole event has a relaxed and festive feel to it. Business Engagement Manager Michelle McKearnon said, “The Christmas event is a chance for us to invite local businesses who have worked with us and supported us over the past year. It’s a chance for us to say thank you, and to offer our guests a networking event which is a little bit different.” The social evening will take place on December 14th, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm but due to restrictions on numbers, is an invitation-only event.

Issue 3 • December 2011

Clackmannanshire hosted a launch event for their local businesses on November 17th at Alloa Town Hall and Councillor Eddie Carrick commented, “This partnership with our neighbours in Stirling and Falkirk will create even wider opportunities for local firms to do business with the public sector and secure contracts. I would urge all local businesses to sign up to the Supplier Development Programme.”

Callendar House will once again be the chosen venue for the Falkirk Business Panel Christmas Social event. This is a chance for Business Panel Plus members, strategic partners, advertisers in InCommerce and invited guests of Falkirk Council and Falkirk for Business to network over a glass of wine and canapés in a wonderful setting.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

The three authorities will now be able to work together to put on joint SDP events in a range of venues across the Forth Valley, creating wider opportunities for local businesses to participate in procurement training and to network more effectively with each other.


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Yearbook 2011

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What is a QR code? Would QR codes benefit my business? How do I read the codes? How do I get QR codes? What is a QR code?

How do I read the codes?

‘QR’ is an abbreviation for ‘Quick Response’. QR codes are becoming increasingly common with the growing uptake of smart phones. They originated from a manufacturing background about twenty years ago to track products through factory production lines. A QR code is similar to a bar code but can hold more information; it appears like a square with oddly patterned squares within it, like a crossword puzzle gone wrong.

There are many barcode/QR scanner apps available for download, many of which are free. Once installed, click the app which opens the camera feature on your phone. Aim this at the QR code and the message hidden within the QR code will appear on your screen. If there is a link on the code you can click the link which will then take you to the website.

Would QR codes benefit my business? To have a QR code included on your business card is a very convenient way to direct potential customers to your website. Some other examples of use: •

Create a link to your website

Coupons/voucher codes which are redeemable on purchase can be created

Use as an advert on your website

Shops can use QR codes to display additional information

Restaurants could use QR codes on the menu to display nutritional information

Museums or other visitor attractions could provide further information or language options

Estate agents could add to signs or brochures for further data

Event attendees’ badges could have QR codes for simple scanning at the event

When creating a link to a webpage you need to consider the length of the link. Be careful if using a link shorting service (e.g. as these shortened urls only remain live for a certain period of time, albeit usually several years. ( This service is free and combines both a url shortener and QR code generator. Kaywa’s QR Code Generator ( With this tool you can create not only a link to your website but a chunk of text, phone numbers or even SMS text message. It is a good option for those wanting to add more data or use for additional product information. Zxing Projects QR Code Generator ( This is the most advanced option. In addition to all of the above, it can offer calendar events, wi-fi access codes and geographic data. You can effectively create your business card on a QR code. Written by Colin Youngson

Issue 3 • December 2011

The desired aim is for the general public to use the QR code to visit a business website and buy a product. I suspect, though, that currently few of us will actually do this. In the future it will become the norm especially when your television is fully connected to the internet and you will be able to select the code displayed on an advert and be taken to the site to purchase the product.

It is important to consider whether you want to present data/information or a website link?

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

More recently, businesses have sought to use these codes for marketing purposes and you may have seen QR codes on television adverts, junk mail or post. They enable a business to put across a message quickly and without using much space. The recipient uses a smart phone to read the QR code which may, for example, include a link to a business website or further information about the product.

How do I get QR codes?


Photo courtesy of Martin Wishart.

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

Michelin Praise For ‘Scotland’s Wealth of Good Eateries’


SEASONALITY and locally sourced ingredients are strengths in Scotland’s larder which many chefs are keen to showcase on their menus. Seafood, game, beef and lamb from Scotland are among the best in the world. Slow ripened soft fruit like strawberries and raspberries which are sweeter and more flavoursome, are very much in demand, and firm favourites both at home and abroad. Michelin sets the standard for aspiring chefs as a quality benchmark and influences what they do. Many diners, and indeed chefs, will make a special trip to sample such high end cuisine. Rebecca Burr, editor-in-chief of The MICHELIN Great Britain & Ireland 2012 guide, said: “Scotland offers a wealth of good eateries and the standard is high. It is famed for wonderful ingredients and we are seeing a rise in the standards of chefs’ use of the products.

Those places chosen for the Michelin guide are a good crosssection of style and price from a simple gastropub to a luxury restaurant. The same criteria are used across our collection of guides and therefore the places are chosen by the inspectors using the same exacting standards. The diverse choice is based the quality of the food, but we also look for and consider value for money.” The new guide was published in October for the first time this year and the latest edition of eating out in pubs in early November. The only two star restaurant in Scotland is still Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles in Auchterarder. The guide advises that two stars represents ‘Excellent cooking, worth a detour’ while a one star establishment has ‘Very good cooking in its category’. Edinburgh is still the jewel in the Scottish Michelin crown with five of the 15 one star restaurants featured in the 2012 edition of the Great Britain and Ireland Guide located there. Martin Wishart has just gained a star for his restaurant based at Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond, to add to the one he has had for its Edinburgh counterpart since 2001.

The remainder range from Dumfries and Galloway in the south to Fort William and Lochinver in the north, with Ayrshire, Fife and Skye all represented.

Guide images courtesy of Michelin.

There are a number of honourable mentions in the guide for nearby Linlithgow. The Champany Inn’s 21-day aged Aberdeen Angus beef is a restaurant speciality and its Chop and Ale House is described as ‘cosy’. Livingston’s in Linlithgow High Street is a ‘long-standing, family-run restaurant’ with ‘friendly, efficient service’.

The MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2012 £14.99 MICHELIN Guide eating out in pubs 2012 £14.99

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

While Falkirk is not specifically mentioned in the guide, there’s good food at Airth Castle near Stirling, at nearby Powfoulis Manor Hotel at Bothkennar, and at local restaurants like Pierre’s, Antonio’s and D’yoga in Graham’s Road.

Issue 3 • December 2011

Kinloch Lodge on the Sleat Peninsula in Skye is the only one on an island – and is also home to Lady Claire and Lord Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald, High Chief of Clan Donald.


The Business Panel+

New Member Profiles

Business Panel+ is our business to business networking club and membership is open to all businesses in the Falkirk District area, providing members with a wide range of benefits from networking events to PR opportunities. Bo’ness Hillwalking and Touring Company The Bo’ness Hillwalking and Touring Company organise small group trips minimum 4 maximum 6, around Scotland. These trips include fully guided “Bag a Munro” days (certificate on completion) and Glencoe Hidden Valley Days. An experienced mountain leader with assistant guide will accompany the group on these trips. We will provide you with quality waterproof clothing, hats, gloves and rucksack. We also offer Trossachs, beautiful Perthshire and Forth Valley sightseeing tours in all new luxury vehicles. We can also arrange bespoke tours tailored to your individual requirements. e-mail:

Scottish Qualifications Authority Although primarily known for school qualifications, SQA has a strong record in working with local businesses to help address business needs. Whatever the need we are likely to have a qualification to suit. We map qualifications to your needs and propose workable, affordable solutions. Our wide range spans SVQs, HN, NQ and shorter sector specific courses. We can credit rate your own training programmes against the SCQF or create a customised award tailored to your specific needs and assist you in delivering qualifications in-house. We work in partnership with industry, colleges and schools to provide high quality, flexible and relevant qualifications – embedding industry standards where appropriate. web:

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

The Helix


Something fantastic is happening in the heart of Scotland! A 300-hectare site of underused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth is to be transformed into the Helix, vibrant new parkland set to become an exciting international visitor attraction. Whether it’s walking or running, cycling or sailing or simply taking in the beautiful natural setting, the Helix promises something for everyone. Key developments in phase one include a dramatic central park, with its own enclosed lagoon and outdoor events space. Boaters will be able to navigate a new canal link connecting Grangemouth and the Firth of Forth to Scotland’s extensive canal network. The centrepiece of the new canal link will be the stunning Kelpies® lock: two 30-metre-high sculptures in the shape of horse’s heads. Other planned developments include pathways and cycle networks and a major public artwork. Phase one of the project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2013. email:

For an annual subscription, you can attend a variety of networking and training events usually free of charge, and be eligible for discounted and early bird rates to the Business Panel Annual Conference and the Business Exhibition. Members also have the extra benefit of discounted advertising rates within this publication, and the chance to be the featured company in our monthly ezine. You can read about our latest members below. To find out more please visit our website or contact Michelle on 01324 61 89 62. Life Fit Physiotherapy Life Fit Physiotherapy is committed to your fitness and well-being. Our Chartered Physiotherapists, David and Arlene Bowmaker, have years of experience and specialise in muscle and joint pain, post-operative rehabilitation and sports injuries. We offer physiotherapy and sports massage appointments daily, at our modern, purpose designed clinic at the heart of the Central Belt. We also offer small, in-house classes for individuals and groups including pilates, yoga and back care. You don’t need a referral from your GP for private physiotherapy and Life Fit is registered with most major insurance companies and all relevant professional bodies. Work Fit, Sport Fit, Life Fit – it’s that simple! web:

Airdrie Savings Bank As Britain’s only independent savings bank, Airdrie Savings Bank has recently opened its first branch outside of Lanarkshire in High Street, Falkirk. The branch offers a full range of personal and business banking services, including loans, mortgages, savings and money market accounts and is managed by on site branch manager, Shirley Reid. The decision to open in Falkirk is the result of increasing consumer and business demand for Airdrie Savings Bank’s traditional style, focusing on maintaining high levels of customer service and a more personal approach to banking. Call in and speak to them at 33 High Street, Falkirk FK1 1ES. email: web:

Atkinson & Co

Healthy Working Lives provide a Free Confidential Advisory Service to employers and the voluntary sector on a variety of workplace safety and health topics. The services on offer include a free workplace visit during which you can discuss the safety and health needs for your business with a professional advisor. HWL also offer free health and safety training, mental health and stress training and a structured award programme, all of which can help you to create and maintain a healthy, safe and more productive working environment. If you think that we can help you, then just request a free workplace visit by calling our free adviceline number 0800 019 2211. If you would like more information about the services HWL provide then just visit our website.

Atkinson & Co Chartered Accountants have recently established a base at the Hub, Beancross Road in Grangemouth. We believe that your business is your business - it’s your finances that interest us. We love working with figures and we go out of our way to make the whole accounting process as easy as possible for you. Accounting services, including dealing with your books, VAT, HM Revenue and Customs, PAYE and even auditing your accounts is second nature to us. You can rest assured that we give the same level of advice and service to all of our customers. Our website contains a wide range of guides offering tax, financial and business information, which we trust you will find useful. If you would like to discuss your requirements or would simply like further information on the Accountancy Services on offer, please do not hesitate to contact us. Free initial consultation to all prospective clients.



Healthy Working Lives

The Business Panel+

Programme of Events

January - April 2012 We are still working on finalising our full programme of events for 2012, but rest assured there will be a variety of topics covered, based on feedback from businesses as to what you would like us to deliver. There will be Supplier Development Procurement events across venues in Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire, as well as another start-up networking lunch open to new businesses across the Forth Valley. The annual Falkirk Council update event will be held in March at the Lesser Town Hall and other seminars/workshops will include “Public speaking and Presentation Skills”, “Make the most of networking”, and “Recruitment and Red Tape”. For all of these events and a few more besides, please check our website for regular updates, and watch out for our monthly ezine arriving in your inbox with all the latest information.

Goodbye and Good Luck The members of Business Panel Plus would like to join with the staff at Falkirk for Business and say a warm farewell to departing Chief Executive Laurence Barrett, who leaves Falkirk for Business at the end of the year.

Staff and Directors at Falkirk for Business are sorry to see Laurence moving on and Chairman George Stevenson said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Laurence over the past 2 years or so and we are grateful for everything he has done to reposition the company at the heart of the business community and prepare it for the next phase of its development. We wish him every success in his new position.”

Speaking on behalf of the staff, Michelle McKearnon said, “We have very much enjoyed working with Laurence over the last two years, and have benefited from the many positive things he has brought to the company, particularly his expensive and coveted coffee machine. We are devastated to be losing it…..him…and hope his successor has an equally effective line in bribery!”

The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Laurence’s wide knowledge of business and change management, has transformed the way F4B operates so that a better and more efficient service is delivered to its clients – the Falkirk area business community.

Issue 3 • December 2011

Laurence joined the company in 2009 as part of the re-branding from FEAT to Falkirk for Business, and has been instrumental in bringing about huge changes in the organisation, not least in moving the company from its Grangemouth offices to its new home at the Falkirk Stadium.


CHAPS Central Heating and Plumbing Services We are a recently formed company, from the decision of a major company to shut down it’s local branch. We decided to use the same staff and site personnel to establish a new company, using the same experienced operatives in the Heating, Plumbing and Gas services field. We will cater for any domestic and small commercial works including Installations, Servicing and general maintenance requirements. We also carry a building services design service in the company for those who need any type of Plumbing, Water, Air conditioning and drainage services designed in addition to Heating and Gas services.

Main Office

Other Office

45 Craigentinny Crescent Edinburgh EH7 6QA Tel: 07595 373 958

9 Farrer Terrace Edinburgh EH7 65E Tel: 07540 054 296

• Free Home Surveys • Fitted Furniture • Installation/Fitting Service • Homes/Offices • Five Year Guarantee • Experienced Staff

TELEPHONE: 01324 630 391 Unit 5 Almond Rd, Middlefield Industrial Estate, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, FK2 9HQ

We print a comprehensive range of printing material:

Letterheads • Business Cards • Flyers • Booklets Magazines • Calendars, etc. Design • Scanning • Wiro Binding • Digital Printing Service Available Unit 4, Carsebridge Court, Cooperage Way Business Village, Alloa FK10 3LQ

Tel: 01259 722930 email:

Stirling Business Gateway, Stirling Enterprise Park, John Player Building, Stirling, FK7 7RP 01786 463416

Clackmannanshire Business Gateway, Gean House, Tullibody Road, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, FK10 2EL 01259 726430

Falkirk Business Gateway, Falkirk For Business, Falkirk Stadium, 4 Stadium Way, Falkirk, FK2 9EE 01324 665500

January 17/01/12

Improve your Search Engine Ranking




Improve your Search Engine Ranking




Managing Cash Flow




Trading Online




Improve Your Search Engine Ranking




Build your own website 1




Build your own website 2




What you need to know before setting up a website




Book Keeping Part 1




Book Keeping Part 2




Book Keeping Part 1




Book Keeping Part 2




Negotiating Skills




Get real results from your website





The Falkirk forBusiness Magazine

Issue 3 • December 2011

Bookkeeping The golden rule of setting up a system to manage your finances is that it should be simple and methodical. This course will teach you the fundamentals and at the same time equip you with new skills for life.


Build Your Own Website Learn from scratch how to build and manage an attractive and effective website for your business. This workshop will show you how simple it is to develop your own business website and keep it up to date yourself. Getting Real Results from your Website Considers what makes a good website, from a human and technical perspective. Looks at site planning, design and operational processes. Improve Your Search Engine Ranking Aims to improve client understanding and improve search engine positioning and business promotion. Trading Online This workshop aims to equip delegates with the knowledge and skills to enable them to produce and manage an effective online trading presence. It will also address what is required from a legal and regulatory perspective. 

What you need to know before setting up a Website A website can be a very important tool for your business, but what should you think about before setting your up? This half-day workshop is aimed at the complete beginner, or anyone who has been worried about what setting up a website will entail. Managing Cashflow This course aims to equip delegates with the knowledge and skills to predict and control money flowing in and out of the business.

Take your business further with our support. Ambitious young company or already well established, we can offer you access to a range of professional services designed to help take your business forward: everything from mentoring, peer support and networking opportunities, to market research, financial planning, and recruitment and training. Not only that, because we have a team of industry-experienced advisers we can quickly and expertly identify which of our services will most benefit your core business objectives, tailoring our support to meet your needs. Add to this our information-rich website and a programme of local workshops, events and networking opportunities, and it’s easy to see why more and more businesses are turning to us as their gateway to business expertise.

Discover how your business could grow with us. Visit or call 0845 609 6611.

your gateway to business expertise Business Gateway services are delivered by Local Authorities, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government with the support of associated partner organisations. Maximum call charge from BT landline is 3p per minute.

Forth Valley College has four main campuses, Alloa, Falkirk, Raploch and Stirling and we are one of Scotland’s leading providers of flexible, business-focussed training. We offer a wide variety of training options for all sectors and industries including non-certificated development courses, specialist programmes from accredited bodies such as Comp’EX, NEBOSH, REHIS, City & Guilds, professional qualifications through CIPD and CMI and tailored solutions, to suit your Business needs. The College is also an accredited centre for Scottish Vocational Qualifications and Modern Apprenticeships. Our portfolio is extensive and can be viewed at:

Looking to Study, Needing Money?

Considering a promotion, or perhaps you just want to feel more confident in your current role. Whatever your motivation for updating your skills at Forth Valley College, here are funding streams available to you. Individual Learning Account - ILA 200 Earning £22,000 a year or less or on benefits you could qualify for an ILA £200. ILA accounts are suitable for a wide range of short training courses. Sign up for your pack today. Part-time Fee Grant (formerly ILA 500) The Student Awards Agency for Scotland - SAAS administers the Part-time Fee Grant. You could be eligible to receive a grant of £500 whilst studying for a part-time higher education course, Professional Development Award (PDA) or Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programme - which can be studied through Forth Valley College. Career Development Loan This can be from £300 - £10,000 and is arranged through a participating bank. Funding is also available for companies looking to ensure they have a skilled workforce for their industry requirements. Flexible 5000 Scheme Administered through Skills Development Scotland - SDS, this is a funding scheme to support Scottish Businesses looking to invest in learning and development opportunities for their employees. The flexible 5000 scheme will fund 50% of the cost of training to a maximum of £500 per employee and a maximum of ten employees at a time from a single organisation. For more information on all the options, and to find out your eligibility, scan this QR code to take you to the relevant pages of our website.

Make sure you have the skills required to be successful in today’s industry Forth Valley College has a portfolio of January Start training courses. Scan the QR code for online booking. Courses with spaces available:

• First Aid at Work 23 - 25 January 2012 - £195 • First Aid Emergency 20 January 2012 - £99 • First Aid Refresher 30 - 31 January 2012 - £165 • REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene 17 January £70 or 24 January 2012 - £70 • REHIS Intermediate Food Hygiene (Evening Class) 12 January - 15 March 2012 - £200 • NEBOSH Fire Certificate (Blended) NFC1 23 - 25 January 2012 - £785 • Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Sector (5-day course) 16 - 18 January & 13 - 14 February 2012 - £650 Book Now online at: or call: 0845 634 4444



Our Business website has been improved to help you find all your training needs quickly and easily. We hope you like it.

Forth Valley College, Grangemouth Road, Falkirk, FK2 9AD or

0845 634 4444

FforB InCommerce Issue 3 ISSUU  

The Falkirk for Business Magazine Issue 3 December 2011

FforB InCommerce Issue 3 ISSUU  

The Falkirk for Business Magazine Issue 3 December 2011