Clackmannanshire Business Needs Survey

We would be extremely grateful if you could take some time out of your busy day and assist us by completing our survey.

Complete the survey here:

Every survey returned will be automatically entered into a draw and the winner will receive a £100 voucher to Mr Singh’s Alloa Restaurant!

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The Times Business Insight

Standing Tall – A special economic report on Clackmannanshire.

The Scottish edition of the The Times Business Insight was published last week (17th June) with a special economic report on Clackmannanshire.

Read it here.

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US Glass Giant Invests £25m in Alloa Bottling Site

Image of a bottling factory in Alloa at night A major US glass company is investing £25m in an Alloa bottle factory.

Owens-Illinois Inc, one of the world’s largest glass container manufacturers, is spending £230m upgrading its operations across Europe.

The firm said the investment would safeguard 600 jobs at the Clackmannanshire site and see improved facilities installed.

The cash, which includes a £3.9m grant from Scottish Enterprise, was welcomed by the first minister.

The Alloa bottle manufacturing site has a 260-year history of glassmaking, and millions of bottles of whisky and other drinks are processed there every year.

Fears were raised last year over work moving to other bottling facilities in the UK, but the firm said the new investment would make the near-600 jobs at the plant safe.

Erik Bouts, president of Owens-Illinois Europe, said: “We have upgraded Alloa’s design, new product development, glass colour and decoration facilities.

“We would like to thank Scottish Enterprise for its support in strengthening our ability to service the developing needs of the spirits industry in Scotland.”

Drinks industry

First Minister Alex Salmond also welcomed the deal.

He said: “Owens-Illinois are illustrating their long-term commitment to Alloa, and to Scotland, which has been cemented by this multi-million pound investment.

“Not only will the new technology installed in the plant greatly assist the Scottish drinks industry, it will also allow the company to produce 100% Scottish products.”

Owens-Illinois Inc had revenues of £7bn in 2013 and employs 22,500 people at 77 plants in 21 countries.

Over the next three years, the firm plans to invest heavily in its European operations, which include 8,000 employees in 10 countries.

Europe is a key market for Owens-Illinois, with nearly £2.1bn of sales recorded in 2013 – approximately 40% of the company’s global total.

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Alere Technologies Expands Presence at Dumyat Business Park

Dumyat Business Park, ClackmannanshireValad Europe, the multi-let real estate investment manager, has let Block 1 at Dumyat Business Park, Alloa in Scotland to Alere Technologies.

The research and development company, which already has a presence at Dumyat Business Park and has offices nearby at Stirling University Innovations Park, has taken an additional 7,000 sq ft unit.

Developed in a public / private joint venture between Valad Europe and Clackmannanshire Council, Dumyat Business Park currently comprises 24,000 sq ft of predominantly industrial space with planning consent to develop a further 12,000 sq ft. Following this letting, only two units between 2,500 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft, remain available for immediate occupation.

Dave Cordon, of Alere Technologies commented: “The decision to take an additional unit at Dumyat Business Park was based on how satisfied we are with our current building and the need to expand following a period of growth.”

Andy Richardson, Valad Europe’s Head of UK Development, commented: “This is a resounding endorsement of the quality of accommodation at Dumyat Business Park and an excellent result for the local area. A combination of the site’s modern design and its superb location ensure it is suitable for small to medium sized businesses either looking to expand or to establish operations in Scotland.”

Andrew Peel of Graham + Sibbald, Stirling Office, commented: “This is an exciting letting for Dumyat Business Park and the Clackmannanshire area in general. Although a number of options were available to Alere, the quality and flexibility of space available within Block 1, Dumyat, together with the close proximity of their existing premises, were the deciding factors for Alere to commit to this building.”

Dumyat Business Park is situated adjacent to the A907 at Tullibody, 4 miles east of Stirling. The Masterplan offers high quality business space in flexible units from 2,500sq ft (230sq m) to over 100,000sq ft (9,290sq m) suitable for a variety of uses including offices, call centre, hi tech manufacturing storage, production, trade counter and general light industry.

Accessibility has been further enhanced by the new Clackmannanshire Bridge over the River Forth and the re-opening of the Kincardine to Stirling Railway, which has provided a new railway station in Alloa town centre.

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Clackmannanshire – A Great Place for Business

Following the transition from traditional industries of mining, textiles and brewing, Clackmannanshire has undergone significant change in the past decade making it an increasingly attractive place to live and work.

Clackmannanshire could make a huge difference to your company with low cost rents, comprehensive business support initiatives, new business parks, good quality housing and a skilled local workforce – all in a central Scotland location.

Clackmannanshire is fast shaping up as a prime location for new and expanding business. The mix of beautiful countryside and prime business properties, together with a dedicated team of experts at hand to provide assistance for your requirements, provides Clackmannanshire with an increasing reputation as an attractive business location at an affordable price. Small wonder it’s fast becoming a prime location for new, relocating and expanding businesses.

Imagine Alloa Clackmannanshire Bridge

Economic Transformation

During 2005 to 2008 major investments of almost £1/2 billion secured valuable economic development in Clackmannanshire, the result of this being that Glasgow and Edinburgh are now less than an hour’s drive away, and Stirling just ten minutes.

The landmark developments in this transformation included:

  • Re-opening Alloa Railway Station
  • The Clackmannanshire Bridge
  • Quality housing development in the backdrop of the Ochil Hills

  • Major retail developments

  • Three new secondary schools

  • New Forth Valley College campus

  • Town Centre improvements

The employment base in Clackmannanshire is no longer concentrated in traditional sectors and, with high-quality business accommodation catering for all sizes of company’s, Clackmannanshire has a growing number of small businesses to compliment the large-scale employers in the county.

Business Improvement District (BID)

In April 2008, Clackmannashire became Scotland’s first county-wide business park Business Improvement District (BID), A BID is a public/private partnership established to provide enhanced services, in addition to those delivered by the statutory authorities, by businesses voting to invest collectively in local improvements within a precisely defined geographical commercial area.

The Clackmannanshire BID , Clacksfirst Ltd, covers 200 companies in ten business parks and industrial estates which benefit from Security Improvements such as a Clacksfirst CCTV network, Recycling initiatives and the installation of Clacksfirst Directory signage throughout Clackamannanshire’s business parks. Another BID for Alloa Town Centre, ATC Ltd, has since been established to bring additional investment to enchance the image and facilities of the town centre.

Clackamannanshire’s main town has benefited from the ‘Image Alloa’ project – £2.4m of improvements to enhance paving and streetscapes including new public artworks and shop front enhancements to give Alloa a unique selling point and cohesive visual theme.

New College

In addition to the new schools, a new purpose-built college opened in 2011 making Clackmannanshire a place of increasing opportunity and growth.

Clackmannanshire is a great place to locate a business for many reasons. As well as offering excellent infrastructure, it is also a great place for employees to live, making it an attractive proposition for businesses wishing to locate a growing organisation.

The Way Forward

Any business wishing to relocate or expand into Clackmannanshire can be assured of the expertise of several business support initiatives. Clacksfirst Ltd and Alloa Town Centre BID can offer support to those businesses looking to move onto Clackmannanshire’s business park and industrial estates or Alloa Town Centre respectively.

Imagine Alloa – Better for Business, exists to help businesses find suitable premises and make their move into Clackmannanshire with the least disruption possible to their operation through liaising with the local authority and private landlords on their behalf.

Clackmannanshire Council’s Economic Development Team provides the way forward for your successful investment or move into Clackmannanshire. The team actively works with companies interested in locating within, or relocating to the county.

A co-ordinated partnership approach will be provided to meet your investment accommodation – just one of the many reasons why your company should choose to relocate or invest in Clackmannanshire.

Distances to the nearest:

  • Airport: Edinburgh 40 minutes – Glasgow 53 minutes.
  • UK motorway network: 10 minutes
  • Seaport: Grangemouth 20 minutes.
  • Cities: Edinburgh 50 minutes – Dundee 1 hour – Glasgow 50 minutes – Manchester 4 hours – Newcastle upon Tyne 3 hours.
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Alloa based Thredgards Injection Mouldings Produce Team Magnus mini skis

“An entrepreneurial former journalist is enjoying dramatic growth in sales of the mini skis she launched to give children in Scotland a taste of the outdoor pursuits loved by youngsters in her native Norway.

The Team Magnus business run by Kristine Moody is on course to sell 6000 pairs of its Stumpy skis in the current season, just two years after the product went on sale in the UK.

After winning an enthusiastic response from buyers across the UK, Team Magnus is ramping up production in response to a surge in demand amid the recent cold weather.

The company’s success appears to vindicate the decision Ms Moody took with her husband, Alan, to start a business selling outdoor goods amid the toughest economic conditions seen for decades.

An Edinburgh University graduate who moved into business journalism, Ms Moody returned from Norway to live in Scotland in 2007. She was inspired to move into selling outdoor goods for children after seeing the positive response that the products her children brought from Norway enjoyed among friends in Scotland.

The company is named after Ms Moody’s middle child Magnus, who moved to the UK aged three without knowing any English.

She said: “He quickly bonded with other kids thanks to his very cool German balance bike and his Norwegian snowracer – his little posse of product testers inspired the company,.”

The founders thought there was a gap in the market for a firm that supplied quality goods that occupied the middle ground between supermarkets and pricier operations.

Ms Moody explained: “We have three kids and we know that there’s a niche between the “destined for landfill” supermarket gear for the outdoors and the often heftily priced specialist kit on the high street.”

Team Magnus was confident of winning a good response for Norwegian mini skis, which are easy to carry around.

After using a Glasgow-based toolmaker to produce a mould based on a classic design, the company settled on an injection moulding specialist in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, that could produce the skis in the desired quantities.

The skis, which sell for around £25 a pair, form part of a range of products that also includes bikes.

Ms Moody said the decision to use stalls at events like horse shows as one of the main sales channels has paid dividends.

She said: “The skis have given us a fantastic mailing list of rural, outdoorsy families across the UK.

“It’s a pretty smart demographic of farmers and country families.”

By contrast, in Scandinavia mucking about outdoors is pretty classless.

Ms Moody recently took an order from a woman in Hong Kong who wanted to use the skis at her residence in Italy.

Being small has posed challenges for a business that has invested heavily in research and development. However, Ms Moody believes Team Magnus has enjoyed some some advantages as a result of starting in a downturn.

She said: “Spaces are freed up at prestigious events such as the Burghley horse trials or Scottish Game Fair, where in boom years there’s no churn because the crowds are so affluent.

“Several services have been cheaper, as diverse as freight and design.

“With general overcapacity factory runs can be shorter, which is great for a small business.”

She is glad to have products manufactured in Scotland, although it may be possible to lower unit production costs in places like China.

Ms Moody says the advantages of local production include working on short lead times in close co-operation with a supplier. “Customers appreciate UK-made products and these skis have sold as souvenirs to Italians, Austrians and Americans.

Team Magnus sold 1000 pairs in winter 2010 and 4000 last year.

The business is on course to achieve turnover of £165,000 in the current year, compared with £110,000 last year.”

Article written by Mark Williamson

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Super-Fast Broadband is now available in Alloa

Alloa is one of the latest Scottish communities to be included in BT’s national fibre optic broadband rollout in a move that has been welcomed by local MP Gordon Banks.

The town is the first location in Clackmannanshire to gain access to the service, with more than 13,000 homes and businesses set to be upgraded over the coming weeks.

Another local community, Alva, is due to be upgraded in the near future, while over 15,700 properties across Clackmannanshire will be able to receive super-fast broadband within the next 12 months.

Further locations to be included in the company’s fibre broadband rollout will be unveiled in the coming months and BT is also working with the Scottish government and its agencies to reach parts of the country beyond its current commercial network.

Responding to the news, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire Gordon Banks said: “This is a significant step for Alloa. High-speed digital connectivity is a defining factor in our long-term success.” ”

Article by Paul France

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Great News for Omega Diagnostics

China approves Omega’s Food Detective tests

Alva-based medical testing company Omega Diagnostics has secured approval for use of its food intolerance product – Food Detective – in China as it seeks to target the country’s expanding middle class.

The development has come just two months after the Clackmannanshire company signed a distribution agreement for the product in India.

Food Detective, which typically tests a person’s reaction against 59 common food types, has been adapted for China to test reactions against 14 common foods.

The product will be distributed by HOB Biotech Group Suzhou under an existing distribution deal.

Andrew Shepherd, chief executive of Omega, said: “We are pleased to have finally received this formal registration for Food Detective and are delighted to be working with HOB Biotech in promoting this product for the health and well-being among China’s large middle class population.”

The components of the product will be shipped from the UK but assembled in China. The tests will assess intolerance to various cereals, nuts and beans, meats, fish, vegetables, eggs, ginger and tea.

Omega saw sales of Food Detective rise 5% year-on-year in the first half of its financial year to £539,000.

It has identified emerging markets, particularly the BRIC states – Brazil, Russia, India and China – as key targets for growth.

Robin Campbell, healthcare analyst at Seymour Pierce, said: “There have been delays to get Food Detective registered in China, with an original forecast of 2012 approval. This news is positive, although expected, and sales should commence in early 2013.”

Omega had a tough first half to its financial year, with pre-tax profit falling 21.7% to £132,000 after the wet summer hit demand for allergy products. Exchange rate movements also reduced earnings from continental sales.

But the company recently received £1 million of funding from Bank of Scotland to prepare commercial production of a HIV testing device that will be trialled by aid agencies next year.”

Article written by Tim Sharp

Omega wins £150,000 to develop new test on HIV

Omega Diagnostics Group could create up to 40 jobs in Scotland after receiving £150,000 funding to develop its new test for monitoring patients with HIV.

The posts will be added over the next three years at the medical diagnostics and allergy testing firm’s headquarters in Alva, Clackmannanshire.

Scottish Enterprise is providing the money through a Regional Selective Assistance grant which will be paid out in three tranches dependent on Omega meeting employment and capital expenditure targets.

Omega, headed by founder and chief executive Andrew Shepherd, said: “It is expected a first instalment of £32,000 will be received in the current financial year.”

Omega intends to scale up manufacturing facilities for the CD4 test with plans to produce commercial quantities before the end of the financial year.

The first phase involves converting part of its existing facility to meet the initial requests from customer with a second phase to expand the site further if demand increases as projected.

The CD4 test was developed by the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and was exclusively licensed by Omega earlier this year.

The portable kit costs up to $8 and determines whether an HIV patient’s white blood cell count has fallen to a level where retroviral drug treatment is needed.

Tests currently have to be carried out centrally in laboratories because of the processes involved.

Omega believes there is great potential to sell CD4 into developing countries, where there are estimated to be more than 25 million HIV-positive individuals.

The instant results allow treatment to begin straight away, with Omega hoping to attract interest from inter-national aid organisations.

Omega’s nominated adviser Seymour Pierce hailed the “positive news”.

In a note it said: “CD4 testing is a bottleneck in starting anti-HIV drug therapy, particularly in emerging economies with low-resource healthcare systems.

“A convenient, low-cost point-of-care (POC) test would be a boon for healthcare workers in helping identify HIV-positive sufferers with declining CD4 counts.

“[Omega’s] test is set to be the only lower cost, low complexity POC test on the market.”

Omega employs 32 of its 120 staff at Alva. Last month it warned half-year revenues were likely to be flat due to difficult trading conditions in Germany. Shares in Omega ended the day up 0.12p at 14.12p.”

Article written by Greig Cameron

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Craft Brewer Harvistoun to Expand

HARVIESTOUN Brewery is to increase its workforce and launch a new range of beers in the new year.

Craft Brewer Harviestoun

The Alva-based craft brewer, which currently employs 19, plans to recruit a further six staff, following a 30% rise in its staff numbers during 2012.

It follows the opening of an 11,000-square feet warehouse and office with funding from Clydesdale Bank’s business banking centre at Stirling.

The company was established more than 30 years ago and since a change of ownership in 2008 has increased international turnover from 2% to 20%, and now exports to 21 countries including key markets in Scandinavia, North America and Brazil. Harviestoun prides itself on being self-contained, not brewing for third parties, nor having any of its beers brewed off site.

Chris Miller, managing director, said 2012 promised to be “an exciting year”, adding: “Our ethos has always been to be recognised as the best rather than one of the biggest mass producers.”

Stuart McCallum, at Clydesdale Bank, said: “We believe Harviestoun Brewery is a leader in modern craft brewing.”

Article written by Simon Bain

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Bank Backing Harviestoun’s Expansion Plans

HARVIESTOUN has become the latest micro-brewery to unveil expansion plans after signing a finance deal with Clydesdale Bank.

The Alva-based maker of Bitter & Twisted, Old Engine Oil and Schiehallion will recruit six workers next year to take its headcount to 25, having grown staffing levels by 30 per cent this year.

Harviestoun used a six-figure sum from Clydesdale to build an 11,000sq ft warehouse and office.

Since managing director Chris Miller bought the brewery from Caledonian Brewing Company in 2008, exports have grown from 2 per cent of sales to 20 per cent, targeting 21 countries including Brazil and regions such as North America and Scandinavia.

Miller aims to double sales to £6 million in the next three years and is launching a range of 330ml bottles to complement his existing 500ml offering, including a new Atlantic pale ale in the American craft brewing style.

The Arran, Cairngorm, Stewart and West breweries have all unveiled expansion plans as drinkers continue to crave craft ales.

Article written by PETER RANSCOMBE

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Bank backing Harviestoun’s Expansion Plans

HARVIESTOUN has become the latest micro-brewery to unveil expansion plans after signing a finance deal with Clydesdale Bank.

The Alva-based maker of Bitter & Twisted, Old Engine Oil and Schiehallion will recruit six workers next year to take its headcount to 25, having grown staffing levels by 30 per cent this year.

Harviestoun used a six-figure sum from Clydesdale to build an 11,000sq ft warehouse and office.

Since managing director Chris Miller bought the brewery from Caledonian Brewing Company in 2008, exports have grown from 2 per cent of sales to 20 per cent, targeting 21 countries including Brazil and regions such as North America and Scandinavia.

Miller aims to double sales to £6 million in the next three years and is launching a range of 330ml bottles to complement his existing 500ml offering, including a new Atlantic pale ale in the American craft brewing style.

The Arran, Cairngorm, Stewart and West breweries have all unveiled expansion plans as drinkers continue to crave craft ales.

Article written by PETER RANSCOMBE

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Mr Singh’s Indian restaurant in Alloa

Mr Singh’s Indian restaurant has opened up in the centre of Alloa, bringing city centre style to Clackmannanshire’s capital. Watch the video to listen to the general manager talk about the restaurant and also listen to a testimonial from a customer who has just had their meal in the restaurant. It’s a vibrant, busy place that is proving to be really popular and welcomed by the people from Alloa and beyond.

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