business support, IT, public sector, small business

£90,000 computer base to help small businesses

The centre helping small businesses in Falkirk district has unveiled its latest attraction: a new, hi-tech computer base.

The £90,000 e-business suite has been created at the premises of Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust (FEAT) in Newhouse Business Park, Grangemouth.

The facility – packed with the latest PCs and audio visual equipment – will be used for training seminars and to promote to the internet to new and growing businesses. It will also offer firms high-speed access to the net.

Today (February 16, 2001), local internet entrepreneurs looked on as Tom Shields, the deputy chairman of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, officially launched the new facility.

The local enterprise company, along with BP and Falkirk Council, is a partner in Enterprising Falkirk – the body which funded the e-business suite.

FEAT director Sandy Riddell said: “I’m delighted Mr Shields has been able to open the new computer facility – and I’m sure the e-business suite will prove popular with local businesses. We’re particularly grateful to Enterprising Falkirk for its funding.

“Recent research has shown that whilst the vast majority of Scottish businesses are embracing the internet, smaller firms are less willing to get online.

“At FEAT we support hundreds of these types of businesses. And we feel all of them could get some benefit from using the latest computer technology. That’s why we created the e-business suite.”

The new centre includes:

  • IBM-PCs with the latest flat screen monitors;
  • audio visual equipment;
  • printers; and
  • a “soft board”, which acts like a giant touch-screen TV.

There will also be high-speed internet access, using Telewest’s new “broadband” service, called “Blueyonder Workwise”.

Mr Riddell added: “The new centre will allow firms to find out for themselves how easy it is to get online – and how cost effective it can be for their business. As well as promoting the internet, we’ll also be running training courses on the latest computer packages, which can often help businesses cut down on costs and paper administration. And lower costs can often be vital for new or growing businesses.”

The new centre was welcomed by some small businesses which have already taken the plunge and gone online.

James McDonald who runs the Falkirk for Sale website (www.falkirkforsale.co.uk) said: “The centre’s a great idea.”

James’s portal site promotes local properties for sale. He said the support of Enterprising Falkirk, the backers of the new e-business suite, was crucial to the success of his business.

Mike Tuckerman, of Grangemouth-based Freedom Scotland Holidays (www.freedomscotland.com) agreed. “The new e-business suite is a useful development that can only help people in the area.”

Ian Jenson, project manager of Enterprising Falkirk, said supporting FEAT’s new computer facility was a natural extension of Enterprising Falkirk’s work.

He said: “It is very important for the future prosperity of this area the we embrace the digital world fully. Enterprising Falkirk has a series of initiatives that are aimed to help both local businesses and the community.

“For example, we recently launched an e-business incubator unit to support a number of e-business start-ups. This unit supports companies that provide e-commerce solutions to other businesses, and internet-based businesses that Falkirk or Scotland will gain benefit from.

“Often the internet is wrapped up in some kind of mystique – and is just too scary for some to embrace. We hope that by funding the new e-business suite at FEAT, we will be able to take the fear out of going online for many small businesses.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

FEAT provides a range of business support services – many free – to help start-up and established businesses. To find out more about FEAT, or its e-business suite, please contact 01324 665500.

Enterprising Falkirk is a unique new partnership created by BP Grangemouth, Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley and Falkirk Council to provide support and resources for the growth of new businesses and the enhancement of the local communities in the Falkirk area. To find out more visit http://www.eFalkirk.com or call 01324 878600.

Issued by THEPRSTORE on behalf of FEAT
For more information, please contact
Adrian Mahoney, The PR Store
T: 01506 823714
M: 07967 150560
E:feat@theprstore.net

Russell Parker
Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust
Tel: 01324 665500

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