A new Fund has been launched to assist small businesses with their business growth and development and promote the economic growth of Caithness and North Sutherland.
Caithness Business Fund was created after discussions between Caithness Chamber of Commerce and Baillie Wind Farm Ltd who had a vision to see a wider area of Caithness and North Sutherland benefit from local wind farms. Baillie Wind Farm Ltd is contributing £25,000 per annum to the Fund, which is over and above its community benefit fund.
The Fund hopes to leverage in monies from other developers in the area to increase the fund and thereby maximise the amount of money that can assist businesses in the area.
Caithness Chamber of Commerce is managing the Fund on behalf of the company and the Fund will be initially issuing grants of between £100 to £5,000 to young people starting a new business or already in business and looking to grow. As part of the grant award, successful applicants will also get a business mentor for 12 months.
Two awards were made at the launch at Forss House Hotel to Kris Hamilton of Hamilton Optimum Training in Wick and Caroline Macdonald who owns and runs B’Dazzled Hair and Beauty Salon in Castletown. Kris Hamilton is aiming to provide Caithness with professional supervision and advice in health and fitness training. He offers a variety of one to one training classes and programmes for adults. Caroline Macdonald offers a full range of professional hair and beauty treatments from B’Dazzled and the business has grown substantially. Caroline now has plans to create a spa area to include a jacuzzi and sauna. The spa facilities will be available for private hire during the week and for pamper parties at the weekend.
Sergio Castedo from Statkraft and a Baillie Wind Farm director said “Statkraft and Baillie Wind Farm Ltd are delighted to be able to contribute to the new Caithness Business Fund and to see how local small businesses are already benefiting from it. We look forward to continuing to support the fund in the coming years.”
Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce said “We are delighted that this Fund has been set-up and welcome Baillie Wind Farm’s significant annual contribution. It is a first for business and we hope that other developers will see the benefit and the difference they can make and follow suit. It will make a huge difference to small businesses in the area and young people looking to start out in business especially when start-up finance is difficult to source.”
She added “We are pleased to see two young businesses be the first recipients of the Fund. What the Fund liked about Kris’s business is that he’s not just creating a gym; he has specific business goals such as improving the average level of fitness in Caithness. Caroline is creating a combined offering of hair, beauty and spa facilities in one location. Both these businesses are doing something quite different and providing services to Caithness which will add value and variety to what the county can offer both residents and those looking to visit or relocate. We wish them all the very best for the future.”
Baillie Wind Farm director, Tom Pottinger said “Baillie Windfarm Ltd is delighted to have been instrumental in setting up this new business fund, along with the Caithness Chamber, for the development of small business in the Caithness and North Sutherland area. We have long felt that developers need to be more innovative in the way they set up potentially divisive community benefit funds. Hopefully other companies, not only those involved in renewables, will see the merit in contributing to this important boost for small business. We were impressed by the entrepreneurship shown by Kris and Caroline in setting up their ventures and wish them every success for the future”.