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PSYBT AWARD WINNERS On the Move Strategy Meeting Events Page 8/9

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ISSUE 10 • NOV 2010 • • • • •

48 Kilbowie Road Clydebank G81 1TH Tel. 0141 952 9988 Fax. 0141 952 2622

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Contents From the Editor............................... 4 Meet the Board.............................. 4 Glasgow 2014................................. 5 News in Brief...............................6-7 On the Move................................8-9 Chamber Plans for Growth........ 11 Money Matters.............................12 Legal Matters................................13 That’s Entertainment...................15 The Business Beat........................16 BAFTA Nomination for 14c........18 PSYBT Awards........................20-22


CHIEF EXECUTIVE ANNOUNCES RETIRAL Dear Fellow Member, It is with a great measure of regret that I have to tell you that this will be my final column as your chief executive. ‘Old Father Time’ coupled with the commercial needs of my own company have forced me to make the decision to retire from the post of CEO with effect from 31 December this year. However, I am staying on as a director and will take an active role to ensure that I can further the cause of the chamber in Dunbartonshire. This chamber of commerce has grown dramatically since its inception in 2003. We now have a voice that is heard loud and clear throughout Dunbartonshire and long may this continue. This is due, my friends, to the diligence of your directors and I must say it has been an honour and a privilege to serve them and you in many roles but especially as your CEO. A chamber of commerce is like any other business organisation or company - it has to ensure that it provides its clients with a value-formoney service and at the same time look to future growth. This is precisely what has been happening over the past few months. We have been holding a series of strategy group meetings to enable us to take this chamber to ever increasing strength in Dunbartonshire.

Thanks to the Business Doctors organisation and particularly to Gordon Barraclough (see the report on page 11) we now have ideas aplenty for the future of your chamber. However, the Chamber is the members and that is why I would like as many of you as possible to attend the event on Tuesday 14 December at Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond, for the event is billed as the ‘Antidote to Dragons’ Den/Strategy Input for Members’. This is first and foremost a members’ forum facilitated by Gordon Barraclough – a chance to give your views on what the directors propose for the future. NO DIRECTORS WILL ATTEND THIS EVENT – it is exclusively for members.

SDP Triumph at GO Awards.......24 New Outlook for Chris................25 Business Booms for SOLAS........27 Clydebank Letting Success........28 West Dunbartonshire Vulnerable......................................29 Public Procurement.....................31 Chamber Event News...........32-33 Chef Wins Top Title .......................33 Schools ..........................................36 Tourism Round-Up .....................39 Benefits of Chamber Membership...................................40 New and Renewing Members.........................................41 Member-to-Member Offers/ Discounts/Services................42-43

A little early I know, but may I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a joyful Christmas and certainly a Happy and Prosperous New Year. It has been tough for the past few years so let’s hope we shall soon see light at the end of the tunnel.

Events Diary...................................46

Thank you again for the privilege of serving you.

For editorial contact editor: June Hyslop T: 07944 265126 E:

Cover photo by Malcolm Cochrane Photography for PSYBT.

For advertising contact D-Tech: T: 01389 736000 E:

Publisher: Mark Ferguson Distribution: D-Tech Distribution

John H Corcoran Chief Executive Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce

INCOMMERCE is published by D-Tech Graphic Design & Print Ltd., Unit 14, Birch Road, Broadmeadow Industrial Estate, Dumbarton G82 2RE. Telephone 01389 736000. Fax 01389 736002. E-mail: Edited by June Hyslop, Copywrite Editorial, Dumbarton. Telephone 07944 265126. E-mail: INCOMMERCE is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be printed nor copied 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 contained within 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, the publisher or the directors, shareholders and/or employees of D-Tech Graphic Design & Print Ltd or Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce.


Meet the Board


DUNBARTONSHIRE Chamber of Commerce is committed to representing the views of its members, to lobbying at both local and national levels and to highlighting the key issues for business in Dunbartonshire.

TOURISM, LEISURE AND CATERING CONSULTANT Name: Gary Groves Occupation: Tourism, leisure and catering consultancy

There are 15 members of the board of directors and in this issue we profile Gary Groves and John Corcoran who is also chief executive at the chamber.

Where are you based? Loch Lomond and central Scotland.

From the Editor

EDITOR: June Hyslop Photo by Emma Latham of TCB Photography

In these difficult times it is more important than ever to identify and celebrate success. That’s not to suggest we should ignore the problems and difficulties which we all face right now but, amongst the doom and gloom and cutbacks, there is some hope, some businesses and people who are still doing well.

Dumbarton-based Aggreko continues to thrive and win contracts – the latest being a £114m opportunity to provide 150 megawatts of gaspowered plant in Bangladesh. Our own publisher D-Tech has just moved to bigger premises, Dumbarton’s SOLAS has increased productivity and turnover in the face of tough trading conditions, Clydebank Estate and Letting Agents has grown into a £1 million business in just seven years and new start 14c Studio has had a short film BAFTA nominated. Then there are PSYBT regional award winners – Fraser Gibson’s United Sports USA and Asif Ali’s Palladium Executive Hire. Not to mention up-and-coming young fashionistas like Loula Creates and Oui! Designs who have also received help from the charity. You can read all about them on pages 20 to 22. It is always a pleasure to attend a PSYBT event – they are so positive and upbeat and do a great job of encouraging and helping young entrepreneurs get a foot on the business ladder. It is businesses like these which will help lead us back on what looks to be a long road to economic recovery and prosperity. For the most part they are small and medium sized enterprises not huge multinational corporations. In fact, they are exactly the kind of businesses which join and get involved in the chamber of commerce. That is why it is so important to be part of the chamber. Collectively business people have a stronger voice and more clout than they do as individuals. The chamber faces the same hurdles that many businesses do at the moment. Times are tough for the chamber too. That is why it held a strategy day for directors in November and is looking for member input now. Read all about it on page 11.


Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

Meet the Board

THE news that West Dunbartonshire is second worst placed in Scotland to cope with the cuts in public sector spending is discouraging. East Dunbartonshire fared better and just made it into the top 16.

How long have you worked there? Set up five years ago.

What, briefly, do you do? I either start up my own new businesses or deliver complete full or part-time operational, hands-on managerial/directorship business consultancy. This includes vision, strategy, budgeting, forecasting, sales and marketing, a full PR and HR service including health and safety policies, day-today operational functions, external networking, committee work and board meetings. What was your first job? Sales and marketing trainee with Spillers Foods. When and why did you join the Chamber of Commerce? I joined the Chamber in 2003 as I wanted to be more involved and informed about business in the area, to network and link with councils, the national park and other organisations. How long have you been on the board? I was initially asked to join the board as chair of another business organisation and have been a full voting director for around five years. What does being a board member involve? Being a board member involves many things like working with local groups to improve the area, consulting and working closely with local councils to help deliver those improvements, informing businesses of local and national grant funding. I also attend internal chamber meetings and meetings with external bodies promoting the work of the chamber. What is your greatest achievement to date? There’s three so far – launching a new award-winning range with United Biscuits and Burtons Biscuits, working as a session musician for five years in top selling pop bands and opening my own first awardwinning company. Who would you most like to meet and why? Richard Branson. He has proved that you can start young as an entrepreneur if you have enthusiasm, vision, determination and drive. He has shown the value of transferable skills - from his early involvement in the music industry he has been very successful across a range of sectors. What do you do to relax? Listen to and perform music, politics, business.

JOHN CORCORAN CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND BOARD MEMBER OF DUNBARTONSHIRE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Name: John Corcoran Occupation: Chief Executive of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. Chairman and Managing Director of St Andrew’s College Summer Schools Ltd.

Mike Haggerty looks forward to Glasgow’s very own Commonwealth Games in four years’ time.

Photo by Stewart Cunningham, Stop Press Media.

Photo by Emma Latham of TCB Photography



Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

Where are you based? Strathleven House, Vale of Leven Industrial Estate, Dumbarton though the company is moving to offices in Glasgow at the turn of the year. How long have you worked there? As CEO for the chamber about roughly four years, and with St Andrew’s College Summer Schools, eight years. What, briefly, do you do? You could say I am the public face of the chamber and represent it on various committees and to a range of organisations including local government. In my MD role I run a business which teaches English to young students and soon also to adult immigrants. What was your first job? Apprentice butcher/poultryman. When and why did you join the Chamber of Commerce? I joined Allander Chamber (Bearsden and Milngavie) around 1990 and served as president. I was cofounder of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce in 2003. With the advent of Local Economic Forums in 2001, it was obvious we needed to be bigger to have an effective voice and so we got together with Dumbarton and Strathkelvin. We wanted to be able to influence aspects of economic development with our partners in local authorities. The new chamber grew and became the voice of business in the area. How long have you been on the board? Since 2003. What is your greatest achievement to date? I would say seeing the chamber to where it is today. It came from very small beginnings and now covers the whole of Dunbartonshire. As Robert Wilson, the current president is fond of saying, ‘it punches well above its weight’ and I agree.

THE Commonwealth Games baton has been firmly passed from Delhi in 2010 to Glasgow 2014. With the medal achievements of the athletes, as well as the wellpublicised trials and tribulations of the organisers now part of history, the next few weeks will see a real ramping-up of activity for Glasgow. Many were in India to see for themselves what was good and not-sogood about the Delhi experience. And one big lesson has to be - how to involve local communities and businesses. Councillor Archie Graham leads the City of Glasgow Council’s Commonwealth efforts and he is clear about the need for benefits to be shared. “It’s difficult to compare Glasgow and Delhi, as the scope and scale of everything is completely different. However, that doesn’t take away from us the responsibility to wring every drop of benefit we can out of the games.” Speaking about the possible social and business benefits, he added, “Frankly, if people haven’t seen the benefits long before the games start in 2014, then we will have failed.” He had a special word for businesses looking to enter into Commonwealth Games contracts: “People bidding for Games business have to demonstrate to us how they will make the city better and the Commonwealth games portal is opening the procurement process to help small and medium companies who might otherwise find it difficult to break into something as large as a Commonwealth Games.” The way for businesses to get involved in Glasgow 2014 procurement is outlined on the ‘getting involved’ section of the official website www. and further help and guidance is available from Scottish Enterprise, one of the organisations with special responsibility for business development represented on the Scottish Government’s Games Legacy Board. Information about games delivery and games legacy can also be found on the Scottish Government’s own website:

Who would you most like to meet and why? Nelson Mandela, who proved that nothing is impossible if you have a vision and work hard enough to achieve it. What do you do to relax? Work! I do like a round of golf (when I can fit it in), reading and spending time with family and friends.


news in brief… AGGREKO SECURES £114 MILLION BANGLADESH CONTRACT DUMBARTON-based Aggreko has won a £114 million contract to supply power to Bangladesh over a three-year period.

when it relocates to its new £20 million purpose-built premises at Lomondgate in 2011.

The world leader in temporary power solutions was selected to provide 150 megawatts (MW) of emergency gas-power on a three-year contract with the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

It has provided power for some of the world’s major events, including the Bejing Olympics, the World Cup and the inauguration of US President Barack Obama.

This follows earlier successful contracts to provide 200 MW of dieselpowered capacity in August and 40MW in 2009.

Aggreko said that the contract “will become effective following customary procedures and approvals in Bangladesh”. Rupert Soames, Aggreko chief executive, added: “Demand is now exceeding supply, with the result that widespread power cuts are inhibiting economic development. “Ensuring that industrial, agricultural and domestic users have a reliable power supply is vital to any economy, which is why Aggreko’s fast-track power provision is an excellent solution for BPDP.” Aggreko employs more than 4,000 people worldwide, including around 120 at its Dumbarton base. A further 110 jobs are likely to created

Photo courtesy of Aggreko plc.

CAMERON HOUSE NAMED BEST UK HOTEL Since their inception in 1984, the Cateys have cast a spotlight on the highest-flyers, strongest performers and hottest brands and have become the industry equivalent of the ‘Oscars’. Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine and staff made up the judging panel which was looking for excellence, consistency of product and service as well as general success as a business. Stephen Carter, OBE, managing director of Cameron House, said: “This award is really the jewel in the crown and a testament to the hard work of everyone who works at Cameron House who go the extra mile to ensure our guests receive the best in Scottish hospitality.

Photo courtesy of Cameron House Hotel.

CAMERON House was awarded Hotel of the Year 2010 at the prestigious Catey Awards in London. The Loch Lomond hotel beat off competition from prestigious rivals from all over Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. The hotel, which is operated by De Vere Hotels and Resorts, was refurbished at a cost of £50 million last year.

“Whilst we have a terrific product we are all extremely proud of, it is the people who make the difference at Cameron House. Our investment in their future, including the introduction of several innovative training programmes is the foundation of our success.” Most of the estate’s 550 employees are from the local area and Cameron House supports programmes aimed at getting young people from many walks of life back into work. The Carrick Spa at Cameron House recently won the title of Scottish Spa of the Year 2010 and in 2009 the hotel won a raft of seven awards including Most Stylish Hotel, Resort of the Year and Most Stylish Restaurant for Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond.


NATIONAL PARK CONFERENCE AT LOCH LOMOND This requirement is unique to national parks in Scotland and is in addition to their duties to conserve and enhance natural and cultural heritage, to promote both the sustainable use of the natural resources and understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area. The challenges of doing so were acknowledged by Dr Mike Cantlay, Convener of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park in his welcome speech: “Very often we have to weigh local needs against national issues which can result in difficult and sometimes controversial decisions being made. Photo courtesy of D-Tech Graphic Design & Print

All Lit Up A NEW all-weather floodlit driving range has just opened at Buchanan Castle Golf Club in Drymen. The range was developed and financed in partnership with sportscotland and is a key element in Buchanan Castle’s active partnership with clubgolf, Scotland’s national junior golf development programme. The driving range features eight regular bays as well as a double teaching bay, complete with video facilities, which will create an enhanced coaching environment. With the addition of the new range, Buchanan Castle Club is unique among local golf clubs in the facilities it now has on offer with both an 18-hole course and a 9-hole academy course. The historic clubhouse has already undergone extensive refurbishment. General Manager Janet Dawson, commented: “We have something for everyone – from the absolute beginner who just wants to try a new sport to a full membership that offers something really special – and even that is at truly competitive rates.” Through the clubgolf scheme, annual ‘academy’ memberships are available for young people from just £50 a year while adult beginners can join as academy members for £250 a year for a maximum of two years. A special arrangement with Active Stirling also allows adult newcomers to ‘come and try’ the range and coaching facilities. Special discounts are available at the club for chamber members including on corporate days out.

CONVENER: Dr Mike Cantlay Photo courtesy of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority

THE Association of National Parks held its annual conference at Loch Lomond this year. Delegates from 15 national parks across the United Kingdom attended the two-day event at Cameron House Hotel in September. They heard how Scotland’s national parks are leading the way with the sometimes controversial fourth aim to promote the sustainable social and economic development of rural communities.

“However, the advantage of having this aim is that we can drive rural tourism, look at new ways to help communities grow sustainably within a protected landscape and test new ways of doing things for the benefit of the wider community.” This year’s conference theme was ‘Living Lochs’ and with more than 22 lochs and 50 rivers, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs was the ideal host authority. Dr Cantlay added: “The sheer volume of water we have in this national park is a real opportunity. At the moment, we have a much underused resource and we’re just beginning to demonstrate how water can transform lives from the many hydro schemes we approve to pioneering a new water bus service for visitors and residents around Loch Lomond.”

BONNY BANKS WEDDING DIRECTORY UNVEILED LOCH Lomond is a dream wedding location – a fact which the founding directors of a new local business know only too well. For more than 18 months, directors Victoria Crighton of All Dressed Up, John Paul Lusk of Leven Films and Graham Wilson of Graham Wilson Photography have worked together to create the Weddings at Loch Lomond brand. Using the expertise of sales manager Alexa Scott of Scottish Event Management they have recently launched an online and hard copy wedding directory to take the strain out of planning a bonny banks big day. Victoria, who joined Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce in December 2009, was able to call on the professional services of fellow member Stephen Flynn of Easy Web Sites to help with the project. She was introduced to Stephen when she was looking for someone to help with a website for her own chair cover hire and venue dresser business. The wedding directory is a guide to everything a bride and groom needs for a memorable occasion – from venues to entertainment, cakes to outfits, jewellery to limousines. And if the happy couple want their wedding to go with a bang they even have a fireworks company on board. The business has already made its presence felt at a number of wedding fairs both locally and in Glasgow.

LADY IN RED: Bride and groom at Luss Pier. Photo courtesy of Graham Wilson Photography.


on the move D-TECH RELOCATE


Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

LAWYER Emily Thomson has joined Rhu-based Aspire Management Services in a business development role.

THE publishers of InCommerce magazine have moved – to bigger premises in Dumbarton. D-Tech Graphic Design and Print has outgrown its base at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in Rhu where it has operated for the past seven years. Managing director Mark Ferguson, who started off working from home, explained: “The business is expanding and we needed bigger premises. We will have three times the space and more room to grow. “It is a good move for us and I think the location will have benefits in terms of staffing as it is more central and handy for the station.” D-Tech, which currently employs seven staff, moved into a unit at Broadmeadow Industrial Estate in early November. In addition to InCommerce Dunbartonshire, D-Tech publishes a number of other chamber magazines across Scotland, yearbooks for many golf clubs, property particulars for solicitors and estate agents, bespoke calendars and has recently added website building to its portfolio.

Emily will share responsibility for planning and executing marketing and networking strategies with owner and business improvement specialist, Gordon Mowat, chartered accountant. Longer term, she intends to train as a business improvement specialist herself which will increase the firm’s capacity to provide quality consulting, training, mentoring and coaching for SMEs and their owners. “I am passionate about communication and building successful relationships with colleagues, clients and contacts,” she said. “I was very pleased to be asked to join Aspire and am looking forward to helping grow the business, whilst we help others to grow theirs.” Balloch woman Emily, who graduated LLB (Hons) from the University of Glasgow, is a non-practising member of the Law Society of Scotland. Emily is also a freelance singer and recently entertained members of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce at an event in the Rowardennan Hotel. She is an experienced vocalist who spent eight years singing and touring with the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

NATIONAL PARK ELECTIONS CHAMBER member David McCowan has been elected to the board of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

NEWLY ELECTED: David McCowan. Photo courtesy of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority.


David whose business, James Cargill Ltd, operates as mortgage brokers and financial advisers also offers free, confidential debt counselling.

He was elected to represent Ward 5 - West Loch Lomond and Balloch - with 377 votes. Two other members were elected for Callander and for Cowal and North Loch Lomond.

EXPERIENCED STAFF JOIN TELL LINE-UP TWO new appointments have added to the team at the Tell Organisation in Dumbarton. Angela Kershaw will handle business development while Billy Byrne is health and safety manager/business executive. Angela has more than 20 years management experience in the private and public sector and has worked in the area of employability and training for the last 13 years. She has knowledge of a wide range of vocational areas and has been a member of the Modern Apprenticeship Implementation Group (now called MAG) and chaired the Scotland-wide Work Based Learning Steering Group for the further education sector. TEAM PLAYERS: Angela Kershaw and Billy Byrne. Photo courtesy of Billy Byrne.

“I am absolutely delighted to be working with the Tell Organisation, whose ethos is

providing the highest standards in terms of quality of provision and customer service,” she said. Billy has nearly 20 years in the sector having worked with Job Centre Plus, Action Team for Jobs and The Lennox Partnership. “I am looking forward to the future and believe that the Tell Organisation is at the forefront of dealing with employability issues and partnership working,” he added. Practicing what they preach, Tell is supporting Billy to study at Glasgow Caledonian University for an Occupational Health and Safety Management degree. Angela meanwhile is only one module away from obtaining her degree in Management with Law from The University of the West of Scotland.

ST ANDREW’S COLLEGE SUMMER SCHOOL SUCCESS A GROWING demand for English language teaching is good news for St Andrew’s College Summer Schools which is now expanding its business. The shift to year-round teaching also means a move from its current base at Strathleven House in Dumbarton to the Pentagon Centre in Glasgow. The business, which is run by Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Corcoran and director of operations Simon McMillan, has also just taken on its first employee, Emma MacLeod, to handle office administration. Its students, who come mainly from central and southern Europe, are currently taught at the Hamilton Campus of the University of the West of Scotland and at Loretto School in Musselburgh by a team of 16 freelances who are all qualified to teach English as a foreign language. The company now hopes to break into teaching English to UK immigrants and is planning to launch itself at a further two campuses within the next two years. “I am pleased to report that the company has been successful through difficult times,” said John, “But with success comes additional overheads and we need to be closer to the city centre to enable us to expand and make the most of the opportunities that are available.”

STEPPING UP: Emma MacLeod, John Corcoran and Simon McMillan of St Andrew’s College Summer Schools (L to R) Photo by Emma Latham of TCB Photography.


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Chamber directors acknowledged that the challenging and ever-changing economic climate on top of recently announced public spending cuts meant that it was vitally important for the chamber to continue to grow and to provide what the business community needs from it. The day-long process was facilitated by Gordon Barraclough of Business Doctors, a specialist advisory firm, as an interactive forum for directors and advisers to review the role of the chamber. The directors agreed that the chamber is an organisation which exists for the benefit of its members, which provides credibility and support for the business community as well as the opportunity to network and trade with each other. Small and medium sized business owners can often feel isolated and want a local service provider they can trust – one which is impartial and professional in sharing best practice. With 30 years of service within the business community, the chamber has already established itself as a valued partner in the drive towards generating a vibrant and growing local economy for the benefit of all. New members are vital to the organisation and the way they are welcomed is crucial in establishing their long-term involvement in the activities of the chamber. With more members, the chamber would be in a position to provide a greater range of services and benefits. The directors intend to encourage an even greater level of member-tomember contact and activity than at present.

It was noted that the chamber currently runs a very successful programme of events and plans to beef this up in future by covering an even wider range of relevant topics. The business community is already well aware of the benefits of using social media to communicate with their clients and this is something which the chamber also needs to embrace. It was unanimously agreed that there is a real and tangible need to upgrade existing services in this regard within the chamber to enhance the level of information to members and to offer a dynamic and modern level of service to them. It was recognised that there should also be more opportunities for businesses with high growth aspirations to engage with chamber experts who can signpost ways to access support and grant funding. Chamber chief executive John Corcoran commented: “The strategy meeting was an invigorating experience where all directors and advisors fully engaged with the process. I look forward to major changes taking place in early course for the further benefit of members.�

Photo courtesy of Gordon Barraclough, Business Doctors.

RECRUITMENT and retention of members is a top priority for Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. Ambitious plans to increase chamber numbers over the next three years were agreed at a wide ranging strategy day for board members in November.

There will be an opportunity for members to feed their views in to the strategy process at a lunchtime meeting with Gordon Barraclough on 14 December at Cameron House Hotel.

BUSINESS DOCTORS: Gordon Barraclough.

In addition, the combined knowledge and professionalism within the chamber community is a resource which members can and do tap but the chamber had to find new and improved ways to act as a conduit for this to become arguably the single largest benefit of membership.


Money Matters

Photo by Campbell Dallas.

Online Is The Way To Go

BUSINESSES have a lot to gain by using online accounting and book keeping services, says Donald Gilmour of Campbell Dallas LLP. Desktop vendors still have an estimated 90 per cent plus market share but online or software-as-a-service (SaaS) is catching on fast. SaaS uses the internet to deliver instead of having software installed on a computer. Its accounting solutions are available on-demand, accessible anywhere and provide easy integration with other business applications. Traditional desktop solutions earn revenue from licensing and yearly upgrade charges. SaaS products are based on a monthly subscription of around £10-25 a month so there is no large initial capital outlay. SaaS appeals to small and medium sized businesses as they can avoid upfront licensing fees and the complexity of traditional desktop software. Points to consider:1. Customer friendliness Online applications tend to be easier to use than traditional accounting packages such as Sage. They are generally cheaper as you only pay a monthly fee. 2. Online availability The software and data is physically located on your provider’s servers, can be accessed anywhere and they handle software maintenance, upgrades, back-up and security – saving you time and reducing the need for in-house IT expertise. 3. Security Many companies are wary of putting their accounts on the internet but having your accounts online means your data is secure. If your office burns down or your PC gets a virus, your accounts remain safe and accessible. 4. Ask questions Is data encrypted during transmission? What are the data backup arrangements? How financially robust is the provider? Ask for references or speak to existing customers. Check service level agreement guarantees. Who provides support and when is it available? 5. Try before buying One of the best features of online software is that you can take it for a spin first as any good online provider will offer a free trial. Contact Donald Gilmour, Senior Account Manager for further information or advice on 0141 942 0722 or email donald.gilmour@ Campbell Dallas Campbell Dallas, a chamber partner company, is Scotland’s third largest independent firm of chartered accountants, with five offices, including one in Bearsden.


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Legal Matters Fit for Purpose?

Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

SCOTT Docherty of McArthur Stanton, Solicitors, examines the new sickness absence regime introduced in April 2010. A New system of ‘fit notes’ replaces sick notes in the United Kingdom. Employers will have to update employee contracts and handbooks to ensure that their policies and procedures reflect this change. The fit note is a ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’ and, unlike the old sick note, is meant to highlight what the employee can do instead of what he or she cannot do. The employee’s GP can suggest ways of helping them return to work in the note, for example by indicating the benefits of a phased return, flexible working, amended duties and/or changes in the workplace. The note can also outline the functional effect of the employee’s medical condition. The employer should discuss the fit note with the sick employee taking into account the GP’s statement, including how it affects the job and the workplace, particularly where it says that the employee ‘may’ be fit to return. Employers should consider whether changes could be made to the workplace to facilitate a return and discuss any options with the employee. If a return is feasible, the employer should agree a return date and set up a review meeting to assess the usefulness of any changes made and whether these are still necessary.


If a return to work is not possible, the employer should still agree a review date to reconsider the position. The GP statement on the fit note is not binding on employers and regard can still be had to whether the advice and suggestions made fit with industry or business practices.

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That’s Entertainment! TALENT is an asset and there’s no shortage of it amongst Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce members as InCommerce editor June Hyslop found out when she talked to two successful entertainers.

SIMPLY THE BEST ACTS! IMPRESARIO Jim Smart has come a long way from singing in his local on a Sunday night. Nearly 20 years ago he was the shy guy in the corner whose friends had to persuade him to perform – which he did with his eyes firmly on his feet. “I couldn’t look at anyone,” he admitted. It’s hard to believe when you see him on stage, microphone in hand doing his flamboyant Freddie Mercury tribute act. Nowadays he feels uncomfortable if there isn’t a crowd. That said he is gradually stepping away from the limelight to focus more on the management and production side with his business – Best Acts Entertainment which he set up two years ago. Best Acts had only been operating six months when he got a lucky break which led to him providing the entertainment for the then newly opened £5.5 million G Casino in Dundee. “The manager saw me performing and said ‘I want you for my casino when it opens’. Until then everything had been booked centrally through a company down south. Before I knew it she broke the mould, came straight to me and I now book all the acts into the casino every Friday and Saturday night.”

ONSTAGE: Jim Smart as Freddie Mercury.

He already has around 100 freelance performers on his books covering all kinds of acts from pop to glam rock to folk and everything in between. Jim (37) also directly manages two bands - Girls Aloud and Take That tributes – as well as Elvis and Lionel Ritchie tribute vocalists. His latest venture is an Abba tribute act where he will ‘play’ the keyboards while the other band members perform. “I do enjoy performing but I actually enjoy doing the sound more and that’s what I can do with the Abba tribute,” he explained. Photo courtesy of Daren Borzynski.

“Although I’ll be there at the keyboards, I’ll have the sound beside me and that’s what I’ll be working on.”

GARY’S GOING BACK TO HIS ROOTS BUSINESSMAN Gary Groves has dusted off his rock star look and drum kit to perform with local band The Menu. It’s back to the future for Gary who worked as a session musician during the late 70s and early 80s with some big names like glam rockers The Sweet and Scottish singer/ songwriter B A Robertson. “I had great fun,” he said. “It gave me enough money and made me financially secure enough to set up my own business.” The Menu line-up features vocalist K J Mills from The Wedding Planner in Helensburgh; Arrochar-based photographer Howard Page on bass; Jim Devlin from Glasgow on rhythm and lead guitar and Gary on percussion. For larger functions the band can augment its sound with a keyboard player, brass and backing singers.

Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

The Menu launched itself at a free concert organised by Dumbarton community group The Rocks Club during the summer and since then has been gigging at venues in and around Loch Lomondside and the West of Scotland.

“Because of the economic climate places like pubs and clubs have got to get people back in and the only way they can do that is to put on some form of entertainment,” Gary explained. In the early 1990’s he opened the award-winning Coach House Coffee Shop in Luss with his then partner and became well known locally as kilt-wearing self-styled Gary the Kelt. He amassed a collection of 26 kilts which went with him to his next two ventures at the Kilted Skirlie at Loch Lomond Shores and Loch Lomond Waterfront at Balmaha. Gary has now hung up the kilts in favour of either business suits or rock star chic. His day job is working as a freelance business consultant in the tourism, leisure and catering industries. He is also chairman of the Dumbarton branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and a board member of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. 15

The Business Beat


COUNTER TERRORISM: PC Stuart Cassidy in uniform and on site. Photos by Strathclyde Police.

HOUSING OFFICERS HELP TACKLE CRIME CRIME prevention, personal safety and counter terrorism were the main topics of discussion at a recent seminar organised by community policing officers in Kirkintilloch for housing staff. Representatives from East Dunbartonshire Council Housing and its Homelessness Team attended together with Antonine and Hillhead Housing Associations and Cube Housing. Firstly, Chief Inspector Brian McInulty, area commander, gave an overview of policing priorities in East Dunbartonshire. These include dealing with anti-social behaviour, tackling violent crime such as assault, as well as focusing on theft, drug offences and road safety.

Housing officers were shown examples of scenarios they could come across in their day-to-day activities like the presence of large amounts of chemicals, a strong chemical smell, dead or discoloured vegetation all of which could indicate someone is involved in illegal activities. They learned how to recognise signs of a house being used as a potential bomb factory and were also made aware of the need to ensure that their safety was not compromised at any time. Strathclyde Police wants to get its message across to the business community too and is keen to form links with organisations in Dunbartonshire which can help achieve this.

He was followed by Strathclyde Police Constable Stuart Cassidy, from the local counter terrorism department. He gave a presentation designed to increase audience understanding of current threats from terrorists, as well as potential future threats, for example, linked to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

PC Cassidy explained: “We can deliver a presentation which offers delegates the opportunity to take part in an interactive exercise. This allows them to put themselves in the mindset of a terrorist, thinking of potential targets, before seeing a video which takes them through real-life scenarios, where members of the public have successfully thwarted an attack.

Constable Cassidy is responsible for the ‘Protect and Prepare’ strands of a government ‘CONTEST’ policy. CONTEST is the revised and updated strategy for countering international terrorism and has been hailed as one of the most comprehensive and wide ranging approaches in the world.

“Business people and the public can have a crucial role to play in helping the police do their job.” If any Dunbartonshire organisation wants more information, or to organise a similar presentation, contact PC Cassidy at stuart.cassidy@strathclyde. or call him on 0141 532 4667.

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MEDIA MOGULS: Darren Osborne and Douglas King of 14c Studio. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Cochrane Photography..

TWO childhood friends who began making films at school are hoping to impress top Hollywood directors with their latest creation. Darren Osborne and Douglas King, both 24, are independent media designers and film makers, respectively, who operate together as 14c Studio. With the help of Business Gateway, Dunbartonshire, 14c launched earlier this year and has already proved a success after one of its films was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award. ‘A Good Mate’, which was made for just 56 pence, was written by Douglas and starred Darren. It screened at a host of summer film festivals including one being judged by top Hollywood director Richard Linklater, famous for School of Rock, Before Sunrise and the indie classic, Dazed and Confused. On graduating from Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University, Darren and Douglas, found it difficult to get jobs so decided to set up on their own. Darren focused on graphic design and Douglas on writing and shooting short films. Working closely together, they support and help each other out as much as possible.


Darren said: “We have been friends since school and ever since I can remember Douglas has wanted to be a film maker. I used to act in his short films and from that I got interested in them too but I was more attracted to graphic design. I studied visual communications and Douglas did film and TV studies. We both graduated around the same time and found it hard to find a job in our fields.

On graduating from Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University, Darren and Douglas, both from Clydebank, found it difficult to get jobs so decided to set up on their own. “I had done some research about starting up a business while at university and I fancied starting my own company one day but I just thought why not now? “We bounce ideas off each other and are always truthful when it comes to each other’s work. If Douglas doesn’t like a design or graphic I’ve come up with, he will say it and vice versa with a scene or an edit that Douglas has done. It works perfectly for us.”

Since starting their own business earlier this year, the pair have been busy with a string of other projects. Darren has revamped the Clyde Property website and created promotional materials for the Girl Guide centenary celebrations. Douglas meanwhile has worked on a promotional video for the Titan Crane and completed more short films. Douglas added: “By starting up on our own we can do what we love every day. I’m still shocked at the success of ‘A Good Mate’ and it was a proud moment when it was shown at the Glasgow Film Festival. I’m hoping it will continue to do well and, if it catches the eye of a famous director, that’s an added bonus!” Darren and Douglas, who are both from Clydebank, received support from Business Gateway and the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) to set up 14c Studio. Both provide practical help, advice and support for new and growing businesses. To find out more about how Business Gateway can help businesses set up and develop, including finding out about workshops in your area, contact the local office on 0141 435 7560 or call 0845 609 6611.



TWO West Dunbartonshire entrepreneurs went head to head for the top business title at the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) Regional Business Awards 2010 in Lennoxtown in September. PSYBT judges – Douglas Jackson, regional chairman, and volunteer, Finlay Gorman made the decision together with John Corcoran, of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, sponsors of the winner’s award. Welcoming everyone to the ceremony at Glazert Country House Hotel, Mr Jackson introduced Provost Eric Gotts of East Dunbartonshire Council who acknowledged the difficult task the judges faced and underlined the importance of encouraging young entrepreneurs. Both finalists – Fraser Gibson and Asif Ali – have already featured in InCommerce magazine as examples of business success. Photos by Malcolm Cochrane Photography for PSYBT.

WINNERS: Fraser Gibson and Asif Ali

SPORTING CONSULTANCY TOP AWARD WINNER FRASER Gibson of United Sport USA took first prize at the PSYBT regional business awards and received a £1000 cash prize from John Corcoran, Chief Executive of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. Twenty-five-year-old Fraser runs an international sports scholarship consultancy, which he set up in 2009, to help talented, young athletes from across Scotland gain sports scholarships to American Universities and colleges. Fraser himself benefited from a US sports scholarship as a promising young player with Glasgow Rangers FC before an Achilles tendon injury put paid to his dream of a career as a footballer.

Forced to re-think his options, he decided he wanted to help young athletes from Scotland and the UK have the chance to experience the coaching, lifestyle and future that American universities offer to sports students worldwide. United Sports USA currently specialises in football, swimming, golf, athletics and tennis but Fraser hopes to expand into other areas. His business has already helped 10 talented individuals gain sports scholarships in the USA – a 100 per cent success rate – and he expects to work with 60 new candidates this year. In addition to Fraser, the business has one other full-time employee, two part-time scouts in the UK and two part-time scouts in Norway. United Sports USA also has links with sporting organisations in Scotland, England and Scandinavia.

LUXURY CAR HIRE RUNNER-UP ASIF Ali of Palladium Executive Hire received the runner-up award of £500 from Provost Denis Agnew of West Dunbartonshire Council – sponsors of the prize. Asif , who is also from Dumbarton, set up in September 2008 and specialises in providing luxury car hire at affordable prices to all destinations regardless of distance involved. The 24-year-old offers top-of-the-range chauffeur driven cars which include a Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Range Rover, Rolls Royce Phantom and Mercedes E and S Classes. Asif came up with the idea for the business while helping with preparations for his brother’s wedding: “He was looking for a top premium luxury car for the occasion and we discovered the model he was interested in was only available from chauffeur drive companies in London,” he explained. TOP TABLE: Award winners Asif and Fraser (centre) with (from L to R) Brenda Rankin, PSYBT fundraising consultant; Provost Eric Gotts, East Dunbartonshire Council; Peter Eastwood, volunteer of the year; Douglas Jackson, PSYBT regional chairman and John Corcoran, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce.

“When I researched the matter further, I found lots of couples were contacting London-based companies for their special day for the exactly the same reasons.” Most of Palladium’s business currently comes from the wedding market but they also receive requests for airport, corporate and party transfers. Photos by Malcolm Cochrane Photography for PSYBT.



“Our regional finalists have demonstrated ambition, courage and determination to set up and develop their own businesses. Youth enterprise is something to be recognised and applauded.”

FUNDRAISING for PSYBT had been ‘particularly challenging this year’ according to Brenda Rankin, the organisation’s fundraising consultant: “The recession has had an impact,” she admitted, “but the most important message is that young people are embracing the opportunity of self employment.”

Sharita Padaruth, PSYBT regional manager.

Both the winner and the runner-up at the regional awards received funding, advice and support from PSYBT. During the last 21 years, it has helped almost 12,000 young people to start over 10,000 businesses, providing £31.5 million in assistance. In Dunbartonshire alone in the last year, PSYBT supported 39 businesses with more than £70,000 of loan and grant funding. The average award was just over £2000.

“We are delighted to support PSYBT and these awards which recognise the achievements of Scotland’s young people and encourage an environment that celebrates business innovation. Entrepreneurship is essential to our future prosperity not just in the Dunbartonshire region but throughout Scotland.” John Corcoran, chief executive, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce.

REGIONAL VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AFTERCARE adviser, Peter Eastwood, was named Dunbartonshire’s Volunteer of the Year at the awards by Sharita Padaruth, PSYBT regional manager. Peter, who lives in Helensburgh, has been a volunteer adviser with PSYBT for 10 years. He worked for P&O Shipping for almost 30 years, latterly as managing director of a number of their subsidiary freight forwarding companies both in the UK and abroad. This involved him in the management of small but highly successful companies hence his interest in small businesses.

Photo by Malcolm Cochrane Photography for PSYBT.

Aftercare advisers are experts who work with young entrepreneurs for their first two years to help sustain their business and give helpful advice and support.

LOULA CREATES FASHION STIR COLOURFUL leggings and tights were draped over the Loula Creates stall at the PSYBT awards. The brainchild of Louise Kenny, the funky fashion wear is in big demand and has already featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and websites. Bishopbriggs-based Louise creates hand printed hosiery and luxurious soft jersey leggings with unique, colourful, eye catching, innovative textile designs. Each bespoke fashion item is designed and made in Scotland. DRESSED FOR SUCCESS: Lousie Kenny models her leggings. Photo courtesy of Glasgow Caledonian University.

In October, Louise shipped off 12 pairs of her 80 denier tights to the X Factor production team and was hoping to see them featured on screen in the popular Saturday night television programme.

Since graduating with a first class honours degree in Fashion Business from Glasgow Caledonian University, Louise has been on a rollercoaster ride as both a freelance stylist and designer. She had just finished working as a stylist for a fashion show in East Kilbride when InCommerce caught up with her and was planning her involvement in an upcoming wedding show. She had also recently won a scholarship worth £12,000 from designled retailer All Saints to study for a Masters in International Fashion Marketing at Spitalfields in London. The offsite campus of Glasgow Caledonian University is to be found in Fashion Street. However Louise will continue to be based in Scotland and will commute two days a week. “I am so excited,” said Louise, who used her family nickname for the business, “and looking forward to being in London – the fashion capital – I’m sure that will open lots of doors for me.” Next on the agenda for Loula Creates is the re-launch of a new updated website at



Anna’s picture perfect gift EVERY picture tells a story and for Anna Marion that gave her the idea for a unique jewellery concept for her own business. The 23-year-old from Bearsden has created a miniature silver story book which she makes up with 12 scaled down photographs which mean something to the client. This can be made into a necklace with the addition of a chain or treated as a keepsake. “I was looking for a thoughtful gift for a friend’s 21st birthday,” she explained. “I wanted to create something I would like to buy. With the recession people are not spending as much and I felt it was important to offer them something which they could have more of a connection with.” Anna set up her business Oui! Designs 18 months ago with help from PSYBT and a business start-up grant from East Dunbartonshire Council. She works from a converted garage at her home but dreams of owning a gallery/cafe where she can showcase her distinctive jewellery in a relaxed environment. In addition to the original story book, she also offers a more classic looking oval version and does cuff links with photographs which she says are very popular with new fathers. Her range includes pendants, earrings, brooches, dog tags and bracelets and she undertakes one-off commissions for bespoke items. She has also worked with Harris Tweed on a style conscious jewellery range, with Glasgow-based designer boutique Che Camille on fashion show pieces and with up-and-coming designer Jodi McCann on ruffle cuff fabric adornments. Anna, whose business name is a play on the Scots word ‘wee’ meaning small, studied jewellery making at Cardonald College in Glasgow. “From an early age I have always had an interest in tiny things,” she acknowledged, “I was always making clay models as a child.” JEWELLERY MAKER: Anna Marion of Oui! Designs. Photo by Jenny Sweetnam.

Photos courtesy of Anna Marion of Oui! Designs.


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AWARD WINNERS: Representatives from the Supplier Development Programme receiving their trophy from the organisers of the event. (From L-R) Gillian Cameron of BiP Solutions; Pauline Wallace, Glasgow City Council; Liz McHard, East Dunbartonshire Council; Lindsay McCready, Glasgow City Council; Eliot Jordan, South Lanarkshire Council and Grahame Steed, Managing Editor, GO Magazine. Photo courtesy of BiP Solutions

A PARTNERSHIP of 19 Scottish local authorities has won a top procurement award for its ground-breaking Supplier Development Programme (SDP).

The SDP was established in 2006 after a survey identified a need to break down barriers to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) getting involved in public procurement.

East and West Dunbartonshire Councils were part of the team which was honoured at this year’s Government Opportunities (GO) magazine Excellence in Public Procurement Awards Scotland in October organised by BiP Solutions.

It aims to offer SMEs the opportunity to grow and diversify, to facilitate access, to develop and enhance their involvement in the £8 billion public procurement market by providing information, support and training.

The programme triumphed in the Best Supplier Engagement Initiative Award category sponsored by CompeteFor.

Businesses from member council areas register with the SDP and can then make use of its services and attend events free of charge. These cover many aspects of procurement and include policy workshops, an insight into the tendering process, seminars and exhibitions which bring together businesses and buyers from many public sector organisations.

Grahame Steed, Managing Editor, GO Magazine said: “This year’s GO Awards Scotland have underlined the quality of procurement staff across the country and also highlighted that there are many suppliers prepared to go the extra mile in order to deliver quality services. Procurement will see some radical changes over the coming years, but on the evidence of these awards, there are many individuals and organisations in Scotland with the right mindset and ambition to ensure a successful outcome.”

Registered businesses have access to a wide range of information on the SDP website such as buyer listings and contact details, downloadable guides as well as details of forthcoming events which can be booked online.


NEW OUTLOOK FOR CHRIS NEW chamber member Chris Townsend has changed his outlook and no longer gets up with the lark to commute to work. As a newly self-employed copywriter and editor, his office is a room at home close to the east shore of Loch Lomond, near Rowardennan. He still gets up early but not to battle rush hour traffic for Chris and his wife Jenny have set up, not one, but two new businesses this summer. With the West Highland Way just yards from their front door, they decided to capture some of the lucrative bed and breakfast trade. “We give our guests a choice of breakfast times, but the ones who are walking tend to want to be up and out early, so I’m getting used to putting two full Scottish breakfasts on the table by 7.30am before I turn my attention to my writing and editing work,” said Chris. The writing and B&B businesses have more in common than might first appear. Chris and Jenny have placed no paid advertising this season. But Chris created a website – a service he is more used to providing for clients than for himself.

He explained: “Getting ourselves on the map was always going to be hard work this year, as all our competitors’ advertising for the season was bought and paid for almost 12 months ago. He explained that businesses can’t afford to ignore the social revolution that has swept the internet in the last five years. Chris makes full use of networking via his websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts to create exposure for the business. With hospitality and copywriting such strangely complementary bedfellows, you might be surprised to learn that there is a drawback. “Sometimes the smell of a cooked breakfast is the last thing you need in your nostrils when you sit down at your desk to write,” Chris confessed, “but I can always grab a laptop, walk down to the shore and work in the fresh air for half an hour.”

OPEN AIR: Chris’s ‘room’ with a view. Photo courtesy of Chris Townsend.


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BUSINESS IS BOOMING FOR SOLAS by June Hyslop ALMOST 25 years after it was set up in Dumbarton you could say that SOLAS is a business whose time has come. Managing director Graham McLennan reports that the company is more profitable and busier than ever despite the recession. Productivity is up significantly over a six month period and turnover is on target to increase to £2m from £1.7m in 2009. Last November SOLAS tendered and won a six figure contract to provide Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for Glasgow Housing Association – the largest social landlord in Western Europe. “We were delighted,” said McLennan. “You have got to have everything in place if you are tendering for a job, including capability and high quality, but you also have to get the price right.” MANAGING DIRECTOR: Graham McLennan of SOLAS. Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

Factfile SOLAS Scotland is the parent company which operates as a charity. There are two wholly owned trading subsidiaries – SOLAS Insulation and SOLAS Assist. SOLAS insulation does what it says in the title and also deals with EPCs which landlords must now have for each property they let. SOLAS Assist primarily delivers home energy advice and advocacy services. The business has 44 permanent staff – half of whom are either surveyors or insulation installers.

“We know that when it’s public money the client has to ensure ‘best value’. It comes down to your structure, capacity and cost base as an organisation – and to pitching it right. We would not enter into any contract unless we were confident there is sufficient margin in it.” That’s not to say it’s been easy street as SOLAS has just emerged from a restructuring process designed to ensure the business continues to be viable and sustainable during tough trading conditions. This saw the creation of the new role of managing director with McLennan at the helm, the appointment of a senior management team, some changes in board membership, a pay rise for all staff and the introduction of a new employee profit share scheme.

No one could have imagined the key role that fuel conservation and protecting the environment would play when Heatwise came into being in the mid 80s. With the Scottish Government now setting tough targets to reduce carbon emissions and with the ever increasing price of energy, its successor SOLAS is working to capacity. It is actively looking to diversify what it calls its ‘energy efficiency solutions’ to grow the business and is already a market leader in the provision of EPCs for the social rented sector in Scotland. One of its major strengths is that the SOLAS group of companies operate as a social enterprise. While the bottom line is still important, SOLAS was set up to fight fuel poverty and to create sustainable jobs and training opportunities. “We don’t always make black and white business decisions. We’re more inclined to make long term strategic decisions to achieve our objectives and help our partners so long as it works for us in the long term,” added McLennan. “The irony is that because of our approach we are more profitable and busier than ever. People want to work with us because of our ethos. Our current success is not despite our social enterprise status – it’s because of it. “Much of our private sector work is built around our public sector relationships. We currently have very valuable strategic partnerships with five local authorities in West Central Scotland and this helps us promote ourselves to prospective customers.”

“Our current success is not despite our social enterprise status – it’s because of it.” 27

TOMMY’S LETTING SUCCESS DESPITE flunking school Tommy Sheridan has just seen his business achieve its first £1 million gross turnover. It is only seven years since the 43-year-old boss of Clydebank Estate and Letting Agents set up his own shop with a £25k bonus.

PROPERTY MAGNATE: Tommy Sheridan in his newly refurbished Clydebank office. Photo by Emma Sheridan of Clydebank Estate and Letting Agents.

In that time he has seen his firm outgrow its first premises in Dalmuir to become one of the biggest in its field in the area with more than 200 lets on its books.

In October he held a re-launch party to celebrate the completion of work on his newly refurbished offices at Kilbowie Road, Clydebank. “I always had an aptitude for making money,” he said. “When I first started out I worked seven days a week, 14 hours a day. I don’t do things by half measures; I jump in with both feet.” At eight-years-old he was up at 3am doing doorstep milk deliveries. He was only 15 when his dad asked his head teacher if he could leave school to work in the family taxi business washing cars. “I was trouble then,” he admits, “I had the brains but not the concentration.”


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Like many boys he had pinned his hopes on becoming a professional footballer but these were dashed when he broke a leg playing for Partick Thistle Boys Club. He ended up with a job as a door-to-door salesman with Pearl Assurance – thanks to a glowing reference from that same head teacher who had clearly recognised his potential. He eventually became manager with responsibility for their Scottish operation but he still wanted to work for himself. His chance to do that came when the insurance firm Zurich offered him a £25k sweetener to be their tied agent for three years. Four months later he had made enough to pay them back and go out on his own. While everyone else jumped on the mortgage bandwagon buying and selling property, he focussed on letting which was a much less attractive option then. His strategy paid dividends when the downturn came, as he was in pole position to take advantage of the shift in emphasis and ideally placed to make the most of a local market buoyed up by students from Clydebank College, by staff from the Golden Jubilee Hospital and by a shortage of local authority housing. As well as letting, the firm now handles property sales and can source mortgages for clients through an associated business, although funding has become more difficult lately thanks to the credit crunch and banks adopting tougher lending criteria. So how does he feel about sharing his name with the well known former Scottish politician? “It works for me as an ice-breaker, as a conversation starter,” he says.



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WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE ECONOMICALLY VERY VULNERABLE by June Hyslop WEST Dunbartonshire is one of the most vulnerable areas in Scotland when it comes to coping with deep cuts in public spending according to a specialist report.

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The area’s high dependence on the public sector coupled with the number of private firms struggling to pay their bills makes it the second worst place in Scotland say business information and credit rating specialists Experian. The report on business resilience notes that while West Dunbartonshire start-up rates are average, other factors negatively impact on its ability to recover. East Dunbartonshire on the other hand came 16th in Scotland and 218th overall out of 356 British districts so is much better placed. As the report became public knowledge, the media contacted Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce for comments from local business people. Board member Iain Robertson of JJR Print in Dumbarton was interviewed by Douglas Fraser for the BBC’s Reporting Scotland programme.

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He later told InCommerce: “We will be one of the worst hit areas by the public sector cutbacks. It’s a double whammy. The public sector is very important – the council and the NHS are by far the biggest employers in the area and the largest users of services.” “If there is a cut back in direct procurement we feel the pain. Public sector procurement is crucial. If jobs are shed income generation goes down and we lose directly and indirectly.



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“We need to see support for small businesses. We need to explore niche areas. We need to take tourism and leisure to the next level.” Chamber members Maxine McCance of Diamond Child Care in Clydebank and Robert Ryan of Ryan’s Pet Centre in Dumbarton were both quoted in a Sunday Herald feature about the cuts. Maxine explained that she and her business partner Janice Heath provide respite care for children with additional support needs. They employ 23 part-time staff and a significant amount of their work comes via the social work department of West Dunbartonshire Council. “I’d like to think that the work we do will continue to be funded. West Dunbartonshire is a caring council and they are doing the best they can,” she said. Robert is chair of Business for Dumbarton as well as being a chamber member and has been outspoken for many years about the need to regenerate the town centre. “We are all in this together,” he said. “It’s already difficult and it’s been difficult through what were less challenging times. “There’s been a steady decline in the traditional high street and I don’t know how it’s going to pan out. I have already made one person redundant. That’s the economic reality. The high street has become a secondary area over the last 10 years and particularly over the last five.” However, he is still hopeful that people will come back to shopping in their local area with the increasing cost of fuel and pressure on their time.


MIKE Haggerty’s InCommerce columns about how businesses can bid for contracts for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 sparked off a debate within the chamber. Some criticism has been levelled at the public sector procurement process and, in particular, at the difficulties it creates for the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. New board member, Iain Robertson, is among those with strong views about how it could be improved. He talks to Mike about his experiences both as a businessman and as a politician.

PUBLIC PROCUREMENT KEY TO ECONOMIC REGENERATION AS well as running his own business – Dumbarton-based JJR Print Ltd – Iain Robertson is a well-known West Dunbartonshire SNP councillor. Operating on both sides of the fence, he is better-placed than most to comment on how local government procurement is supposed to work and on how it measures up. He is in no doubt about how important the whole process is: “To me, it’s clear that public procurement is the key to regenerating our economy, particularly through the small and medium-sized companies in Scotland.” Speaking about the overall system, he says: “Having had experience of the tendering process, I don’t believe it benefits small companies. It’s very cumbersome and it favours the bigger companies who know how to give good answers. It also tends to centralise everything, rather than spreading the work and regenerating our local economies.” Robertson also has strong views on one well-known procurement term – ‘best value’: “The term ‘best value’ is bandied about and ‘best value’ is not about lowest cost. For example, is it ‘best value’ for a local authority to place work outwith the local authority area and perhaps put 10 people on the dole ... at a cost of about £40–50k to the taxpayer? “Is it ‘best value’ to take a higher cost, keep employment going? I know it’s a difficult balance, but what I’m trying to encourage is to look at where does ‘best value’ stop? Can we push it so that it gives public procurement the flexibility to invest in local economies?” BOARD MEMBER: Iain Robertson. Photo by Kieran Chambers Photography.

“Having had experience of the tendering process, I don’t believe it benefits small companies. It’s very cumbersome and it favours the bigger companies who know how to give good answers.”

Flawed as he may think it is, Robertson does not believe that throwing out the whole system is the answer: “Of course there is a need to have procedures. In terms of public procurement, Audit Scotland would certainly have something to say if ‘best value’ was not being achieved. You need to be robust and you need to be able to evidence ‘best value’ that you can justify it to the auditors.” Some may say that criticising from the sidelines is easy, but Robertson has three suggestions for improvement. “One change would be if local authorities had a robust local buying policy that gives them flexibility to use local suppliers, giving them a margin within which they can operate.” “Number two would be to simplify the tendering process. We really need to get into the situation where you handhold small companies through the process. Too many of us are failing at the first hurdle. You spend a lot of time filling in the pre-qualification questionnaire and basically you fall at that first hurdle. My own company deals with four of the world’s largest whisky producers and we don’t have to go through the hoops with them that we’re going through with the public sector. “Thirdly, we also need a complete change in attitude in public procurement – big is not always beautiful. Small companies have the flexibility to do what big companies don’t and many people involved don’t seem to understand what small business is about.” Robertson argues that this is about having confidence in what small companies can do, not forgetting, he points out, that SMEs are the backbone of the Dunbartonshire economy.



SUCCESS ON MENU AT CAMERON HOUSE CAMERON House has had a ‘phenomenal’ year despite the recession its managing director Stephen Carter told Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce.

Following a £50 million refurbishment and expansion, the resort now has 128 bedrooms, 115 lodges, the award-winning Carrick spa, a PGA championship golf course, a 210 berth marina and a fine dining restaurant headed by Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart. There are 550 staff on the payroll, 300 full-time, many of whom are from the local area.

On top of that it recently won the Hotel of the Year 2010 accolade at the industry equivalent of the ‘Oscars’.

He explained that the hotel had to interact with the local community. With this in mind it was already working in partnership with VisitScotland, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and with local organisations like the Tullochan Trust.

The hotel hosted a networking lunch for members and updated them on developments and future plans at the prestigious Loch Lomondside venue.

It was also looking to attract more corporate business and strengthen its relationship with the chamber of commerce.

Mr Carter explained that the Alternative Hotel Group had taken over De Vere four years ago but retained the name.

Chamber chief executive John Corcoran brought the event to a close by thanking Mr Carter and his staff for their generous hospitality.

MANAGING DIRECTOR: Stephen Carter of Cameron House. Photo courtesy of Cameron House, Loch Lomond.

LENZIE ACADEMY PUPILS IMPRESS LENZIE Academy hosted a networking lunch with Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce in September. Members arrived to the unmistakeable sound of the school’s jazz band and were then welcomed by boy’s school captain Paul Lang. The pipes and drums of Jamie Steedman, Callum Nimmo and Kyle Thomson entertained everyone after lunch followed by presentations from chamber members and S6 pupils about their work.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Chamber president Robert Wilson with Paul Lang of Lenzie Academy. Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

Fraser Gibson of United Sports USA, Billy Hunter of BH Risk Assessment, Norinna Meechan of McLaughlin Gray Ltd, David Scoullar of DPS Agency and Marian Dougan of DNA Language talked about running their own businesses and what it involved.

CHAMBER MIXES BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE BUSINESS doctor Gordon Barraclough was guest speaker at a chamber dinner at the Rowardennan Hotel in September. The event was a departure from the usual format and saw members dine before they heard Mr Barraclough talk about how to succeed in business.

Alastair Clark and Lewis Deacon told of how their language skills improved dramatically on their German European work experience trips and Louisa Winnings described her involvement with a professional artist as part of an art workshop. Chamber president Robert Wilson said how impressed he was with the pupils at the school. “We came here to teach and we have learned from the students.” Headteacher Roderick McLelland thanked everyone for attending and then asked pupils to distribute employer engagement certificates to all chamber members present.

He explained that he had dealt with companies who were in real trouble and this gave him an insight into what he referred to as the ‘killing fields’ of business. Key in his view was to ‘think like the customer’ – to put yourself in their position. Where businesses could not compete on cost, his advice was to differentiate themselves by developing a niche market or product He also said that it was important for owners to work on their businesses as well as in them. The evening was rounded off with entertainment from singer and chamber member Emily Thomson and guitarist Marc McLean.


Lenzie Academy pupils Harrison Tait and Ziyan Sheng summarised their respective experiences working with scientists on a Nuffield Bursary and explained how it had helped them prepare their applications for university.

BUSINESS DOCTOR: President Robert Wilson with Gordon Barraclough Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.


NEED FOR SPEED A SUCCESSFUL speed networking event heralded the start of the new season for Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. Bill French of Action Coach acted as facilitator for the evening where members told each other about themselves and their businesses in five minute bursts before moving on. The Glasgow-based business coach set out the ground rules for the session which gave members the opportunity to get to know each other and promote their businesses.

NETWORKING: Getting to know you. Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

BEARDMORE CHEF CLINCHES TOP TITLE A SCOTTISH sous chef took the top title at a prestigious international culinary competition in October. The Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre’s Martin Thliveros won gold with his menu of ballantine of sea trout with caviar crème fraiche, shallot and radish salad and aioli; breast and thigh of chicken with celeriac puree, wild mushroom and bacon, with a roasting jus and truffle foam; terrine of apple and cinnamon with sorbet, cream, toffee apples and caramel custard. Martin faced fierce competition at the Conference Centres of Excellence (CCE)/International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) Chefs’ Challenge. The event is run by CCE – a special consortium of top quality training and conference centres which the Beardmore belongs to. Entries are invited from members of the CCE and IACC with finalists selected on the basis of their written menus. The chefs then took part in an againstthe-clock cook-off at Stratford-upon-Avon College. Speaking after his win, Martin said: “I spent a lot of time preparing my menu and was delighted with the results on the day. However, I was still shocked to take home the top award as the competition was extremely tough and the menus were all exceptional.” “I have had great encouragement from the entire team at the Beardmore and this win is testament to their support and training. However, I will not ‘rest on my laurels’. At the Beardmore we continually strive to improve on the first-class service we consistently offer our customers.” Beardmore head chef, Iain Ramsay, added: “We are all delighted for Martin. The competition was extremely tough and Martin put every effort in to produce an exceptional menu. He was extremely deserving of the top award.”

DISH OF THE DAY: Martin with his award-winning main course. Photo courtesy of The Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre.


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Mobility Scotland Moves up a Gear with Fit for Growth This Kirkintilloch based company has quickly become one of the most respected suppliers of Mobility products in Scotland. They combine a highly focused approach with know-how to provide expertise, knowledge and experience, which for many people makes them their `No. 1 choice` for mobility needs. As part of East Dunbartonshire Councils’ “Open for Business” Initiative the company was visited by a Business Adviser who discussed with Billy Finnie, Managing Director how the Business Support Section of the Council could support the company. As part of the European Regional Development Fund programme, Fit for Growth, the company was provided with a Business Review. This is part of the enhanced business advisory services available to new

To discuss how the Fit for Growth programme can assist your business call: East Dunbartonshire Council Liz McHard 0141 578 8520 West Dunbartonshire

and existing businesses across Dunbartonshire. As well as offering

Kai Karlsen 01389 737504

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business development reviews, specialist workshops and access to funding, Fit for Growth also provides specific advice on energy saving and resource efficiency. Billy commented “The Fit for Growth programme has been of major benefit to my business. As a small business you can become caught up in day to day activities and have no time to look at the “bigger picture”. The programme allowed me to take a step back and raised awareness of the key issues the business should be focussed on. It allowed me to tap into advice and experience from the Business Advisers and experts involved in the programme. The honesty and transparency of the advice has allowed me to put in place building blocks to future proof the company”.

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TOP MARKS FOR EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE TWO East Dunbartonshire schools have received glowing report cards from education watchdogs. Turnbull High in Bishopbriggs received two excellent scores and three very good, with nothing judged as unsatisfactory from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIe). Inspectors recognised that the school had many strengths, including its attainment in national examinations, its positive ethos, the commitment of staff, and the strong and highly effective leadership of the head teacher.

Children at Oxgang Primary in Kirkintilloch were described as well behaved, motivated, friendly and courteous while staff were found to be very committed to supporting pupils’ care and welfare as well as being responsive to their personal, social and emotional needs. At Oxgang inspectors looked at every aspect of school life and found that one quality indicator was excellent and four were very good. Nothing was judged to be unsatisfactory. Councillor Una Walker, convener of the council’s Education Services Committee congratulated both schools on their achievements.

‘TIME FLIES’ AT MERKLAND SENIOR pupils at Merkland School in Kirkintilloch have published their own book of poems complete with linoprint illustrations called Time Flies. The book, which has a foreword by playwright and poet laureate Liz Lochhead, came from the imaginations of a group of S5 and S6 pupils who were involved in a learning project with eight other secondary schools in East Dunbartonshire. Using GLOW, the secure intranet which links schools in Scotland, pupils were able to access online master classes with Ms Lochhead and with Willie Rodger, the well known printmaker. Time Flies was launched in the William Patrick Library in Kirkintilloch earlier this year and Milngavie Bookshop held a special event to promote all nine poetry books produced by the participating schools. At Merkland, pupils also worked with English teacher Nicola Watt and with Kenny Stewart in art to create the book. The group then set up a social enterprise company to market and sell it.

PURE POETRY: Christine Barron, principal teacher with printmaker Willie Rodger and S6 pupil Erik Mulligan. Photo courtesy of East Dunbartonshire Schools.

It is available from libraries throughout East Dunbartonshire and from Milngavie Bookshop for £6. It is also for sale on the Amazon website at a slightly higher price and from the school at only £5. Pupils realised that raising funds to publish poetry could be difficult so they enlisted the help of supporters from amongst family and friends, people in the local community and other contacts. There is a page in the book dedicated to those who donated.

FAIR TRADE RICE SALES FOR MALAWI IT takes 90 bags of Fair Trade rice to send a Malawian child to high school for a year – a fact that pupils at Killermont Primary in Bearsden are only too well aware of. As part of its international education strand, Killermont has linked with Dezda LEA Primary School in Malawi. Its Global Citizenship Committee is co-ordinating the sale of rice at £2.75 a kilo to raise funds for their Malawian counterparts. The rice, which is imported from Malawi, was distributed at the school harvest service, just before the October break.

RICE FOR SALE: Killermont Primary pupils with classroom assistant Lynn Keating. Photo by Emma Latham, TCB Photography.

Currently, only 30 per cent of children in Malawi can afford to attend high school and Killermont is working with Just Trading Scotland to try to make a difference. “The ‘Malawi Kitchen’ project has added another dimension to the global citizenship curriculum at Killermont Primary. It has helped pupils to learn about farming in Malawi and about the positive impact it can have on children’s education through projects such as this one,” explained Alex Nicolson, acting depute head teacher. 36

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TOURISM VISION FOR EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE A CRUISE on the canal was the venue for a successful tourism business networking event in September. East Dunbartonshire Tourism Partnership boarded the Forth and Clyde Canal Society’s vessel Voyager for a meeting to promote itself to businesses and community organisations in East Dunbartonshire. The partnership already has around 30 members from the private, public and community sectors and the aim is to increase this significantly with a recruitment and promotional drive before the end of the year. East Dunbartonshire Councillor John Dempsey gave the partnership his full support: “It is essential that local businesses work alongside the council and local communities to both co-ordinate and deliver a credible tourism product for the area. “East Dunbartonshire has the potential to offer many exciting products to this market if we even just consider our fantastic landscapes and communication links including the Campsie Fells, the Forth and Clyde Canal and, of course, the Antonine wall.

“It is excellent that many of the area’s businesses, agencies and local community organisations are coming together to share in a vision that will hopefully raise the profile of the area. Product collaboration, development and delivery are an essential part of the tourism agenda and I wish the partnership every success facing the challenges ahead.” David Adam McGilp from Visit Scotland added: “We were really encouraged by the enthusiasm and appetite for success shown by the Tourism Partnership. “There is a determination to create a coherent consumer message about East Dunbartonshire and to ensure that the destination offer is as compelling and competitive as it can be. I look forward to working with the group to make the changes necessary to turn vision and strategy into real, long-term economic benefits.” Businesses can find out more about East Dunbartonshire Tourism Partnership by calling 0141 956 6100 or by e mailing

CRUISING: Voyager at Kirkintilloch. Photo courtesy of the Forth and Clyde Canal Society.

LOCH LOMOND WATERBUS SUCCESS BONNIE BANKS: Waterbus passengers disembark at Balmaha. Photo courtesy of Clyde Marine Services Ltd.

LOCH Lomond’s first waterbus service was a huge success and now looks set to run for the next three summers. Around 6000 passengers used the service, operated by Silvers Marine and Clyde Link during a six week trial, which was aimed at improving links between the east and west shores of the loch.

A circular service from Loch Lomond Shores to Cameron House and Balloch Castle Country Park operated as well as a route from Balloch to Balmaha with funding from Scottish Enterprise and support from the National Park Authority.

In addition, Tarbet-based Cruise Loch Lomond introduced its own new Luss to Balmaha service to link with the waterbus. The company was delighted with visitor numbers and plans to operate it again from April to October next year. An evaluation of the waterbus demonstrated support and a positive response from visitors who were also happy with the cost and frequency of the service. They wanted it extended to Rowardennan to meet the needs of walkers on the West Highland Way. More than half were staying in the area for at least three days or longer and most were here to walk. Scottish Enterprise and the National Park will now review pier infrastructure, particularly at Balloch, to support the future development of the waterbus which it is hoped will run from Easter to October. A Scottish Enterprise spokeswoman said that future investment in the service would help maximise opportunities for people who live, work and visit the area which already attracts 3.5 million visitors a year. Also that it would open up various locations around the loch, reduce pressure on the road network and lessen the environmental impact of visitors. Subject to funding availability, the waterbus service will go out to tender either late 2010 or early 2011 on a three year contract. 39

Benefits of Chamber Membership If you are already a member, you will know what a dynamic and forwardlooking organisation the chamber is and how hard it works to represent and promote businesses in Dunbartonshire. If you have not yet joined, the benefits of joining and being a member of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce can be summed up as follows:

■ ■ Networking opportunities to promote your business and make new contacts.

■ ■ Access to a full programme of free or subsidised business training and information events.

■ ■ Free copies of quarterly magazine ‘InCommerce’ and a discounted rate for advertising.

■ ■ Information about other business events and business support in Dunbartonshire through our partnerships with Scottish Enterprise, East and West Dunbartonshire Councils and Business Gateway.

■ ■ Business support and advice from the chamber development officer and other chamber directors.

■ ■ Access to additional benefits which currently include: ■ ■ Exclusive rates for AA membership; ■ ■ Free VAT and PAYE health checks; ■ ■ Discounted telecoms; ■ ■ The opportunity to take advantage of the members’ discount scheme or to offer your own discount to members;

■ ■ Access to our database of members; ■ ■ The chance to have an on-line presence via the Dunbartonshire Chamber website business listing. A graduated scale of membership fees makes the chamber accessible to everyone, from new starts to multi-nationals, and a policy of encouraging our schools to join has meant a lively connection to the employees and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. You do not have to be based in Dunbartonshire to join – only be interested in business in the area. Information on joining is on the website,

Photo by David Mitchell

by telephone on 0141 280 0272 or by filling in the form below.

If you would like someone to contact you to discuss joining, fill out the form below and send it to the address indicated. Name: Business name:

Best time to call: Send to

Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, Strathleven House,

Vale of Leven Industrial Estate,

Dumbarton G82 3PD.

Position in business: Address: Post Code Contact phone number: 40

Telephone: 0141 280 0272  Mobile: 07801 981471 E-mail:

New and Renewing Members Company






Action Coach

Bill French

Business coaching


0141 274 2010

Allander Coaches Ltd

Elaine Wilson

Coach hirer


0141 956 5678

Auchengower Park Ltd

Ann-Jane Maconochie

Residential and holiday park


01436 842517

Averto Ltd

Joe Simms

IT consultancy


0141 586 1143

Ballantine & Martin

Lynn Martin

Veterinary surgeons


0141 775 2503

BDM Consultancy

Tanya Walch

Business development and marketing services


07876 751441

Best Acts

James Smart



01389 761741

BH Risk Assessment

William Hunter

Fire and safety assessment and consultancy


0141 578 1697

Blair & Bryden

John Kindness



0141 952 3322

Campbell Dallas LLP

Fraser Campbell

Chartered accountant


0141 942 0722

Circle Insurance Services Plc

Alistair Macpherson

Insurance broking


0141 249 9914

Contract Inspection Services

Mike Kelly

Independent clerk of works


01389 751138

CopyWrite Editorial

June Hyslop

Editorial/media services


01389 767592

Dark Silence Ltd

Miah Gregory

IT support and consultancy


0141 438 2030

De Vere at Cameron House Hotel

Mhairi Duncan



01389 755565

Diamond Childcare Services Ltd

Maxine McCance

Childcare services


0141 951 4754


Mark Ferguson

Graphic design and print


01436 821501

Easy Web Sites Ltd

Stephen Flynn

Website development


0141 533 1819

Easyspace Ltd

Alex Frew

Web services


01389 755658


Graeme Lang

Floor covering specialists


01389 721000

Filterclear Ltd

Nic Holmes

Water filtration


0141 776 2289

Graham & Co (Accountants) Ltd

Stuart J Girvan



0141 952 1177

GSG Energy

Michael Anthony Gribben

Low carbon, sustainable design and energy assessment consultancy


0141 951 7866

Huntershill Village

Angela Watson

Retail/industrial park


0141 772 7745

Jackie Cosh

Jackie Cosh

Copywriter and journalist


0141 237 2959

J C Roxburgh & Co Ltd

Stewart Roxburgh

Commercial insurance brokers and IFAs


0141 952 0371

JDS Motors

James Scullion

Car sales and valeting centre


0141 776 3383

Killermont Investments

James Richardson

Stockbroking and investments


0141 946 3000

Lawrie Jackson

Andrew Lawrie



0141 248 1111

Long Bros Blinds Ltd

Martin Long



0141 941 1852

Lord McFall of Alcluith

John McFall

Lord of the Realm


01389 731437

Mark Coates Software Solutions

Mark Coates

Software and IT solutions


01301 702807

Montrose Estates (1993) Ltd

Janet Dawson

Golf club


01360 660307

Morrisons Bowmore Distillers Ltd

Robert Wylie

Whisky distillers and visitor centre


01389 878561

Nomad Associates

Damon Scott

Marketing services agency


0141 951 7810

ParkLife Magazine

Katrina Gardner

Magazine producer

Nr Glasgow

01360 661317

Premier Inn Glasgow Bearsden

Kim Webley

61 bedroom hotel


0141 931 9100

Robertson Technologies

David Earley

IT consultancy and support


0845 838 1710

Rock Environmental Consulting

Craig McMillan

Environmental consultant


01389 607364

Royal Bank of Scotland

Billy Hogg



0141 224 0498

Semtech Motors

Steve Meldrum

Motor engineers


0141 776 1919

Serenity Scene

May Quigley

Holistic therapies


01389 734180

SetStream Business Solutions Ltd

Robert Geelan

Information systems specialist


0141 942 8304

Skills Development Scotland Careers Scotland

Christine McQuarrie

Careers service


0141 242 8390


Sovereign Select

Robert Mackenzie

Chauffeur driven cars and wedding car specialists


0141 776 4341

The Biz

Ian Smith

Publishing company


0141 776 6606

The Burnbrae

Gerald Savage



0141 942 5951

The Freelance Writer

Chris Townsend

Independent freelance writer


01360 820105

Utility Aid Ltd

Paul Clark

Utility broker


0808 178 8170

Watson Architectural Design Services

Jeremy Watson

Architectural design


01389 752877

Weddings at Loch Lomond

Victoria Crighton

Wedding directory


01389 604930

Your Office Expert

Nina Graham

Office services

Isle of Bute

01700 502846

Information up-to-date to end of September 2010.





Member-to-Member Offers / Discounts / Services (Chamber members only)

This is a list of offers from chamber members to help other member businesses through these challenging times. Please help each other!


Company / Business

Offer / Discount / Service


3DotDash Ltd Consultancy and risk management Glasgow

Free initial consultation and 10 per cent discount on fees for health and safety consultation, training, risk assessments, employment law, business continuity planning and food hygiene.

Keith Underhill 07880 698558

Action Coach Business coaching Glasgow

Free business health check (worth £275) to identify business strengthening strategies. Second place free of charge when booking a place on our business planning day. Free first session at ProfitCLUB education and networking group.

Bill French 0141 274 2010/07753 864150

All Dressed Up Chair cover hire and venue dressers Alexandria

Alexandria’s premier chair cover hire company offer a 10 per cent discount on hiring chair covers, sashes and centerpieces. Also for hire - table linen to suit all sizes and white linen napkins. See

Victoria Crighton 01389 604930/07828 012235

Annabel’s Expedition Catering Caterer and freelance cook Dumbarton

Free chocolate cake with all buffet orders and free delivery within the Dunbartonshire Chamber area for your buffet order over £100.

Annabel Young 07512 733939

Best Acts Entertainment agency Dumbarton

Ten per cent discount for entertainment bookings.

James Smart 01389 761741/07737 821378

BH Risk Assessment Fire and safety assessment and consultancy Kirkintilloch

Twenty per cent discount on services to members. See website:

William Hunter 0141 578 1697/07948 796448

Buchanan Castle Golf Club Golf club Drymen

Discounted green fee - £30, includes 15 minute swing and club check with club professional. Discounted entry fee (£300). Loyalty discount of £100 off subscriptions in years two and three. Academy membership - available to all members taking up golf.

Janet Dawson 01360 660307

Calbarrie Ltd Portable appliance testing and fire extinguishers Glasgow

Twenty per cent discount on portable appliance testing (PAT) and fire extinguisher supply and maintenance.

Roy McGregor 0141 561 1495

Can You Experience Co Ltd Outdoor activities provider Balloch

Ten per cent off guided canoe trips for groups of six or more. One free place for every 10 paying customers on any of our corporate events.

Janice Hawick 01389 756251/07740 650729

Caurnie Soaps Soaperie Kirkintilloc

Twenty per cent off gift packs.

Jim Little 0141 776 1218/07870 813239

Clydebank Estate & Letting Agents Estate agents Clydebank

Free registration for house sales and letting saving £295 on sales and £195 on letting costs. See www.

Contact Sharon Halliday 0141 952 9988

Community Times Community newspaper/magazine Bishopbriggs

Three months advertising for the price of two.

Gordon Chalmers 0870 443 9077

Contract Inspection Services Independent clerk of works Alexandria

Ten percent discount for members.

Mike Kelly 01389 751138/07757 053894

Cruise Loch Lomond Cruise operator Tarbet

One child travels free for families of two adults + two children on any scheduled cruise. £375 per hour charter reduced to £325 per hour for private functions, weddings or corporate functions (minimum three hour charter).

Stuart Cordner 01301 702356

David Muir & Co Estate agents Dumbarton

Free consultation and full market appraisal to house sellers. Ten David Muir per cent off estate agency fees. 01389 734366/07921 070075

DFD Advisory Services Health and safety/aviation security consultants Dumbarton

Fifteen per cent discount on preparation of safety policy and procedures or security policy and procedures and advice on exports and imports logistics. Ten per cent discount on other health and safety services or security services.

David Douglas 01389 732476/07702 046 671

DM Direct Ltd Mailing house Clydebank

Ten per cent discount on mailing house services.

Catherine Smith 0141 952 5954

DPS Agency Marketing consultant Lenzie

Free one hour consultation - will result in a written report outlining proposals to grow your business.

David Scouller 0141 775 0909/07817 384705

Dumbarton Football Club Football club Dumbarton

Excellent discounted meeting room rates for chamber members. For more information telephone Bill Paterson on 01389 762569.

Bill Paterson 01389 762569

Easy Web Sites Ltd Website development Kirkintilloch

Discounted packages and free online advice given to all chamber members.

Stephen Flynn 0141 533 1819

Elements Hair Studio Ltd Hairdressing salon Dumbarton

Ten per cent off all services. Colouring half price every Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thomas Dennett 01389 767094

GO Group (Glasgow Opportunities) Business opportunities Glasgow

Series of pdf files on professional development, with the possibility of 50 per cent funding for educational courses.

Mark Houston 0141 572 8324/0845 602 1249

HAVM Health and safety consultancy Alexandria

A free health and safety audit on existing health and safety policies and procedures to all fellow members and a 10 per cent discount on all health and safety work carried out.

Anthony MacKinnon 01389 721465/07851 863299

James Cargill Ltd Mortgage broker/financial advisor Arden

Free confidential debt advice.

David McCowan 01389 850606/07833 751454

JJR Print Ltd Printers and stationers Dumbarton

Ten per cent off all services offered.

Stewart Byron 01389 763765

Killermont Investments Stockbroking and investments Glasgow

Free consultation on pensions and investments.

James Richardson 0141 946 3000

The Laundry Lady Laundry services Alexandria

Twenty per cent off all laundry services and 10 per cent off dry cleaning services, plus two for the price of one on duvet cleaning.

Karen Merrick 01389 721095

Long Bros Blinds Ltd Blindmakers Clydebank

Free survey, quotation and fitting on window blinds, shutters, awnings, external and internal security shutters. Three for the price of two on selected Venetian blinds while stocks last.

Martin Long 0141 941 1852

McGaw Consulting t/a Auditel Telecoms utilities consulting Milngavie

Free initial overheads health check.

Derek McGaw 0141 564 3080/07766 642863

Mobility Scotland Ltd Positive living products Glasgow

Ten per cent off all mobility equipment, which covers rise and recline chairs, adjustable beds, scooters and stairlifts - small daily living products are excluded. Offer is open to members and immediate family. Free advice and guidance available.

Billy Finnie 0141 775 0396

Neill & Co Insurance brokers Cambuslang

Discounted premiums available dependent on cover purchased and/or premium level involved.

Ed Meechan 0141 646 2883

Nomad Associates Marketing services agency Clydebank

Minimum 15 per cent discount on most services.

Damon Scott 0141 951 7810

Orion Consultancy H R consultancy and coaching Helensburgh

Call Helen Chapman on 01436 821482 for free initial consultation and discounted service.

Helen Chapman 01436 821482/07917 224626

ParkLife Magazine Magazine producer Croftamie

Fifteen per cent off advertising in ParkLife or StirlingLife magazines. See

Katrina Gardner 01360 661317/07791 976910

Phoenix Intelligent Solutions Corporate intelligence/business protection Dumbarton

Ten per cent off normal quoted rates for corporate espionage protection.

Alex Gardner 01389 721111

Puregreenspace Ltd Architect practice Kilcreggan

Initial consultancy free plus advice on grants available.

Nicola Jamieson 01436 651222/07540 419532

R B Steel & Co Removals and storage Helensburgh

Free seven day moving crate hire with commercial removals. Free first four weeks document storage. Free no obligation home survey and moving advice. Special price for storage charges, domestic and commercial removals.

James Steel 01436 675444/07976 967878

Raising Standards Training consultancy Clydebank

Fifty per cent discount on all compliance training (health Stuart Moffat and safety, food safety). Discount on ‘Leading and Managing 0141 589 2617/07960 810467 Change’ event. Low cost training and development to members.

Ross Telecom Consultancy Telecoms consultancy Lenzie

Review of spend on telecoms to seek cost savings with implementation review. No savings = no fee.

Iain Ross 07971 087309

Scottish Historic Buildings Trust Historic buildings trust Dumbarton

Offices to let and conference rooms for hire at Strathleven House in Alexandria. Preferential rates given to chamber members on booking fees for the conference rooms.

Elizabeth Mackay 01389 750005

Sector 3 Audio Visual Audio visual consultants Bearsden

Equal amount of advisory time spent with chamber members willing to take part in research project - see InCommerce No 2.

Paul Ferri 07766 540972

Semtech Motors Motor engineers Kirkintilloch

Ten per cent off labour costs and MOTs for £35 only to chamber Steve Meldrum members. 0141 776 1919

Serenity Scene Holistic therapies Dumbarton

Twenty per cent off standard price, or first treatment with second treatment half price, or three for the price of two on Indian head massage, Swedish body massage, facial massage, reiki and aromatherapy.

Sovereign Select Chauffeur driven cars and wedding car specialists Kirkintilloch

Top quality chauffeur-driven and wedding cars, airport Robert Mackenzie transfers and family celebration transport. Special terms for 0141 776 4341/07593 192854 account holders and chamber members. Wedding discounts and 10 per cent discount when two or more cars are booked.www.

ViKing Business Services Payroll, book-keeping and office admin Rhu, Helensburgh

Initial set-up fee waived. Payroll from only £15 per month. Bookkeeping, training and admin services at preferential hourly rates.

Jacqui King & Veronica McBrearty 01436 820272/07823 334556

Walters of Clydebank Trophy centre Clydebank

Ten per cent discount on all items priced on the website, plus other unlisted offers.

Christine Allan 0141 952 1395

Whispering Willows Holistic health and beauty therapies Dumbarton

Chamber members will receive a generous 50 per cent discount Alaine Welsh on our ‘Sunday Sanctuary’ and ‘Mellow Monday’ treatments, 01389 730700 which are designed to relieve stress and promote relaxation and wellbeing. Ten per cent discount on any other day.

Y-MAC Engineering Engineering service Strathblane

No call out fee. On site engineering service for agricultural and Cameron Williamson garden machinery, all terrain vehicles and private cars. Supplies 07793 552071 at competitive rates.

May Quigley 01389 734180/07888 681747


First Choice for Business Clydebank College provides an extensive range of training programmes to a variety of public and private sector organisations operating within the local, national and international marketplace. In 2010 Clydebank College won the Partnership Award at the Scottish Training Federation Awards for it’s Partnership with Babcock Marine.

Health and Safety Our Health and Safety training portfolio currently includes the NEBOSH General Certificate running over 16 weeks one afternoon and evening per week (Thursday 1.00pm – 8.00pm) with two intakes per year (August and February).

Summer Academy In 2011 the College will launch a Summer Academy programme and the NEBOSH General Certificate will be offered as an intensive three week programme as part of the Academy portfolio. This will involve candidates attending 5 days per week over the three week period.

For further information on any of the above courses please contact Julie Lynn, Short Course Co-ordinator on 0141 951 7571 or email

The National General Certificate is the most widely held health and safety qualification in the UK and provides a good foundation for managers, supervisors and staff with health and safety among their day to day responsibilities. The NEBOSH National General Certificate meets the academic requirements for Technician membership (TechIOSH) of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Associate membership (AIIRSM) of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM). NEBOSH (National Examining Board for Occupational Safety and Health) qualifications are undertaken by over 30,000 candidates every year. The qualifications are globally recognised and taken by people working in all types of industries, as well as national and local government organisations.

Accredited Centre


National General Certificate Our next NEBOSH course commences on 10th February2011

Short Course Programme 2011 Course Title

Duration Cost


Elementary Food Hygiene

1 day


Jan- 12th, April 13th, Jun 8th

Intermediate Food Hygiene

4 days


Feb 9th, 16th and 23rd and March 2nd

Personal Licence Holders (BIIAB)

1 day


Feb 18th and May 6th

Elementary Food and Health SIA Security Courses Door Supervisor/Security Guard CCTV

1 day 4 days

£85 £230

4 days


March 18th Feb 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th and May 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th March 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th

IOSH Working Safely

1 day


March 9th

NEBOSH General Certificate

16 wks


Feb 10th

First Aid at Work

3 days


March 8th, 9th and 10th

17th Edition Full course

3 days


Feb 22nd, 23rd and 24th and June 14th, 15th and 16th

17th Edition Update

1 day


Feb 25th and June 17th

Inspection and Testing

4 days


March 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th

PAT Testing

2 days


March 7th, 8th

Mobile Air Conditioning Certificate

3 days


Feb 8th, 9th and 10th and May 17th, 18th and 19th

Award in First Line Management Level 3 7303 Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector Solar Domestic Hot Water Heating

6 wks 4 days

£260 £500

Flexible start dates March 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th

2 days


Flexible start dates

Renewable Awareness

2 days


Flexible start dates

Water Byelaws

1 day


Flexible start dates

Unvented Hot Water

1 day


Flexible start dates

Electricity for Plumbers

3 days


Flexible start dates

Liquid Petroleum Gas Training

2 days


Flexible start dates

Gas Safety Training and assessment



Flexible start dates

For further information on any of our courses call

0141-951-7555 or email


The Burnbrae The Burnbrae Bearsden, only 6 months since their new look refurbishment, is going from strength to strength and is becoming a real success story of the current tough economic times. From the old historic Burnbrae Hotel to the more contemporary pub & restaurant, the Burnbrae is now a favourite among locals. Manager Gerry Savage prides the pub on it’s vast selection of wines, cask ales, ciders and fantastic selection of draft lagers, as well as serving the best traditional dishes from the kitchen. The food on offer at the Burnbrae can be best described as traditional home-style cooking with a contemporary twist, using only the best ingredients with an emphasis on fresh produce and fresh daily specials. You’ll find a varied menu choice with many popular favourites along with a great selection from the specials board for the more adventurous. Breakfast is available from 8am, full lunch menu from 11am and evening meals are served until 10pm. Set menus are also available – two course lunch £8.99, three courses £9.99. Two course evening meal £10.99, three courses £12.99.

Being Cask Marque accredited and CAMRA registered, 6 different Cask Ales are on offer along with regular guest Ales from around the UK adding to the large range of premium beers such as Peroni Nastro Azzuro and Estralla Damm (Barcelona). The wine selection of over 30 different varieties from around the world ranges from the house Hardys Riddle to the more deserving Faustino’s and Chablis. You’ll find there is a drink for everyone at the Burnbrae. With free WIFI and breakfast and coffee served from 8am, the Burnbrae is the perfect location for mixing business with pleasure – ‘It’s the business for lunch’. Throughout January the Burnbrae are running ‘VAT FREE JANUARY’, dine throughout December you will be given a ‘VAT FREE’ card that will entitle you to a massive 20% off the total food bill in January on every visit. Come on in and see what you’ve been missing, we’d be delighted if you could join us!

Are you worried about the double dip recession and want professional help? Or do you want to get rid of the tiresome bookkeeping?


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a directory of advertisers Simply book a 1/4


Then why not let The Local Bookkeeper help you. The Local Bookkeeper are offering a free initial meeting to discuss the challenges you are currently facing. From the meeting we will listen to your needs understand your business and identify where we can help! This could be cashflow, spending more time in your business and less time on bookkeeping thus making more money! The Local Bookkeeper is a leading, national, bookkeeping and financial management service that specialise in assisting and empowering small to medium sized businesses. Our services include: • Bookkeeping • Management Accounts • Credit Control • Payroll • Self Assessment Tax Return


Contact us today for a free consultation and quote ‘help a business’ to discuss your business needs. Telephone 0141 530 7304 for more information or email

Events Diary... November


Thursday 17 February 6pm

3rd Thursday: How to Grow Your Business

Business Lunch: Speed Networking

World of Golf, Clydebank

World of Golf, Clydebank

Venue: Glazertbank Hotel, Lennoxtown

£12/£15 non-members

£12/£15 non-members

Gordon Mowat of Aspire Management Services will give an invaluable insight into some key ways to grow your business. Aspire Management specialise in profitability, sales, cash flow, planning, people, systems, work-life balance.

Following the success of our first speed networking event we had to bring it back come along and meet your fellow members. You’ll have five minutes to tell them about your business and how it can benefit them – make new connections and generate new business!

Thursday 18 November 6pm


Tuesday 14 December 12pm

Business Lunch: Antidote to Dragons’ Den/Strategy Input for Members Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond £12/£15 non-members A short, sharp introduction to issues of business sustainability and growth will lead into an opportunity for members to feed in to the chamber review process at a member only event facilitated by Gordon Barraclough of Business Doctors.

Tuesday 11 January 12pm

Thursday 20 January 6pm

3rd Thursday: The Power of the Web World of Golf, Clydebank £12 members only Online presence and communications are now seen as an essential part of practically all businesses whether it’s as a resource for your existing customers, a cost-effective marketing channel or a way to attract new business. This event will lift the lid on website development and internet marketing.


Tuesday 8 February 12pm Thursday 21 December 12.30pm

Business Lunch

Chamber Christmas Lunch

Esporta Milngavie

Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond

£12/£15 non-members


Come along and do some all important networking with fellow business people and potential customers while having a soup and sandwich lunch.

The ever-popular Christmas lunch, as always, will provide lots of festive fun and informal networking. Add some delicious food in the prestigious Cameron House on the shores of Loch Lomond and what’s not to like? Book early to avoid disappointment.

3rd Thursday: Running a Healthy Business £12/£15 non-members An expert from accountants Campbell Dallas will give the low-down on tax and taxation to make sure you have the essential knowledge you need to run a healthy business. Knowledge of this nature is particularly important for trading in difficult times.

Other Events Tuesday 11 January 10am - 12.45pm (registration from 9.30am) with workshops on 17, 18 and 25 January

Love Me Tender West Dunbartonshire Venues TBC FREE for West Dunbartonshire businesses An introduction to and overview of the tendering process on 11 January delivered by the Intellectual Assets Centre with coverage of the legal issues by Maclay Murray and Spens LLP, followed by a case study from a company which has successfully completed the workshops. To be followed by three workshops covering such topics as finding opportunities, understanding the tendering process, collaborative working and compiling winning tenders. Delegates are expected to attend all three workshops. Book online at events. BOOKING FOR CHAMBER EVENTS Book online at or phone our events team on 0141 280 0272

If you want your event listed email: 46

e nt v i s e NT n E te ishm EM x G E rb NA u A f M Re W ER




The Burnbrae has undergone a transformation with an extensive refurbishment and improved wines and premium drinks on offer

OPEN EVERY DAY THROUGHOUT THE FESTIVE PERIOD Boxing Day 12pm – 9pm serving our full menu Hogmanay party 7pm until late Open on the 1st January serving food and drink from 12pm – 9pm

VAT FREE JANUARY Dine with us throughout December and receive a ‘VAT FREE’ card that will entitle you to a massive 20% off your total food bill in January on every visit

6 Cask Ales running all the time with Old Speckled Hen Greene King IPA London Pride Black Sheep Deuchars Ruddles County

Lunch Set Menu from £8.99 Evening Set Menu from £10.99 Sunday Roast from £8.49

Fantastic wines from around the world! 27 to choose from!

Serving food ALL DAY EVERY DAY from 11am Breakfast served from 9am Milngavie Road, Bearsden Glasgow

0141 942 5951


InCommerce Dunbartonshire Issue 10  

InCommerce Dunbartonshire Issue 10

InCommerce Dunbartonshire Issue 10  

InCommerce Dunbartonshire Issue 10