New centre shows ambition for local businesses

South Ayrshire Council AMBITION suite at Heathfield opening
South Ayrshire Council AMBITION suite at Heathfield opening

New or start-up businesses across South Ayrshire can now take advantage of fantastic modern office accommodation, hands-on business support and mentoring – and even grant funding – thanks to South Ayrshire Council’s brand-new AMBITION enterprise and employment programme.

The intensive support is part of the AMBITION for start-ups strand of the programme, which got underway today (Tuesday 3 September) with the opening of a dedicated business incubator unit at Heathfield in Ayr – one of three such units to be created by the Council.

The incubator unit provides the ideal location to develop and grow a new business, with space for six businesses to work out of the unit on a full-time basis, with additional meeting, conference and hot-desking facilities also on hand.

Complementing the practical support the unit provides is a ‘wraparound’ package of mentoring, access to expertise and advice, and hands-on support to ensure businesses get the best possible start and really get the chance to grow.

The Heathfield unit – which will be joined by similar units in Girvan and Maybole in the coming months – sits at the heart of the start-up support available from the AMBITION programme.

The AMBITION programme will see the Council invest £1.5 million over three years to support job creation and economic growth in South Ayrshire through four key strands: AMBITION for Start-Ups; AMBITION for Business Growth; AMBITION for Employment and AMBITION for Social Enterprise.

The overall aims of the programme are to create jobs, keep jobs, help businesses start-up, help businesses grow, increase the number of social enterprises and, ultimately, help improve the local economy in South Ayrshire in a lasting and meaningful way.

It was established by the Council as a determined and proactive response to the economic challenges facing the local area, as South Ayrshire Council Leader, Councillor Bill McIntosh, explained: “AMBITION is all about taking a bold – but lasting and sustainable – approach to help achieve economic stability and security for our communities.

“That doesn’t just mean supporting businesses to get off the ground; it also means helping businesses increase the number of people they employ and – crucially – helping people gain the skills, knowledge and experience they require to take full advantage of these job opportunities.

“The new Heathfield incubator, which is an exciting new way for the private and public sectors to work together, is a terrific example of how we plan to achieve this, giving new businesses a dedicated business adviser, free business space, hot desk facilities, conference and meeting rooms, as well as access to finance and grant funding.

“Starting a new business can be exciting – but scary – and can be a minefield if you don’t have much more than a great business idea. That’s where we step in – and I would urge anyone starting up – or interested in starting up – a business to get in touch with us to see if Heathfield could be their new home.

“We have all that’s needed to support a business in getting started – all we ask in return is your AMBITION.”

Graeme Currie, Deputy Head of Operations at LESL – one of the Council’s partners in delivering the AMBITION programme – added: “We’re delighted to be a partner in the Heathfield incubator. As one of the largest operators of incubation centres in Scotland, we know that incubator space helps businesses flourish and grow at a faster rate.

“The infrastructure is now in place and all that’s needed are the businesses with the ambition and enthusiasm to join us at Heathfield and make the most of this wonderful opportunity.”

For further information about the Heathfield incubator units or any other aspect of the AMBITION programme, call 01292 616265 or visit www.ambitionprogramme.co.uk.

Photo caption: Councillor Bill McIntosh is joined by Chief Executive Eileen Howat, Graeme Currie and Ayr North and Prestwick Councillors to officially open the Heathfield incubator space.