Enterprise Challenge Fund Relaunched to help Banff and Macduff businesses and organisations work together

The Enterprise Challenge Fund in Banff and Macduff has been relaunched to allow yet more collaborative working between businesses in the towns as part of regeneration efforts.

With two successful applications involving 14 local businesses when the fund began in 2017, it is being relaunched to ensure others can access support for eligible ideas they wish to pursue.

The fund was originally intended to be offered in rounds, but it has now been opened up for applications throughout 2018.

The scheme builds on Retail Plus support offered in 2014-2015 and recent feedback from businesses as part of ongoing consultations. It is made available as part of the Banff and Macduff Regeneration Plans.

Up to £2,500 is available for innovative projects offering benefit to the two towns which demonstrate four or more businesses and groups coming together. Potential projects must also meet one of the following criteria:

Showing an increase in town centre footfall; demonstrating creativity and innovation; promoting the use of a vacant space (internally or externally with permissions); and improving town centre vibrancy.

The fund opened again today (Monday, February 5) and a panel will meet regularly to assess applications as they come in. Workshops will also be held and these dates will be announced in due course.

Projects have to be completed within nine months from the award of funding.

Chairman of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, Cllr Andy Kille, said: "We can’t underestimate the importance of supporting and encouraging innovation from the communities in Banff and Macduff.

“By developing collaborative projects between businesses and community organisations we strengthen our towns and bring people together, so I’m pleased to see this fund being relaunched to support that.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what businesses and community groups come up with in 2018.”

Committee vice chair, Mike Roy, said: “There are many possibilities for potential projects – from town events marking specific occasions, to commissioning artwork for redundant spaces, to collaborative promotions for the towns.

“Imagination is key, and tapping into current tourism trends and events could all offer exciting opportunities for local businesses, contributing to local regeneration efforts.”

Interested businesses and groups can contact Project Officer Naomi Mason for more information on (01467) 539201 or email: naomi.mason@aberdeenshire.gov.uk