Broadband boost for businesses as FEAT celebrates 20th birthday

russell-webThe organisation helping small businesses across Falkirk district celebrated its 20th birthday today with a feast of chips . . . silicon chips, to be exact.

Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust in Grangemouth has helped nearly 2,500 start-up firms since it was launched two decades ago. It now hopes to help even more businesses with its latest attraction: an e-business demonstration centre.

The new centre – funded by Scottish Enterprise – showcases the wide variety of ways people can log onto broadband internet access, from cable and phone line services to satellite connections.

Visitors to FEAT’s base at Newhouse Business Park can also try out a wide range of hi-tech computers, including some with the latest technology, “wireless networking”.

Russell Parker, the director of FEAT, said the new facility – developed as part of Scottish Enterprise’s Broadband for Business programme – should be a hit with local firms.

He said: “Businesses will be able to try out all the latest technology and get free, impartial advice about what’s available in their area. We’ll also be running workshops to help people get to grips with the equipment.

“Things have definitely changed since FEAT was launched 20 years ago. Faxes were relatively new and the main method of communication was by phone and letter.

“Now businesses can trade on a global scale using the latest computers and broadband technology. By tapping into this, any company in Forth Valley can grow their market and become much more competitive.

“That’s why this new centre is of such importance to the local business community.”

Yvonne Hood, an e-business executive at Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, said: “The new facility at FEAT is one of eleven such centres being set up across Scotland to encourage more small and medium-sized firms to use broadband. As one of FEAT’s partners, we were delighted to help create this new centre as part of the Trust’s facilities in Grangemouth. I’m sure it will be popular with existing visitors – and businesses across Forth Valley.”

As well as helping local firms connect to broadband, the new centre will also help businesses which have broadband but want to get more value out of their high speed internet connection.

You can try out the latest hi-tech gadgets in the e-business demonstration centre and sign up for the “Using Broadband” workshop at FEAT for free. Just call 01324 665500.

Scottish Enterprise has also set up a website to help people get more information on broadband. It is available by logging onto http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/broadband

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust (FEAT) provides a range of services to help businesses across the Falkirk area. As a Small Business Gateway (operated on behalf of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley), it offers: pre-start-up advice and training, advice and training for growing businesses, IT training and support and grant aid. FEAT also offers a number of other services. These include a regular marketing club, room hire and other training facilities. The Trust also manages a number of loan funds and grant schemes for partners such as BP and Falkirk Council. To find out more, log onto: http://www.feat.org.uk

Scottish Enterprise is the main economic development agency for Scotland covering 93 per cent of the population from Grampian to the Borders. The Scottish network consists of Scottish Enterprise and 12 local enterprise companies (including Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley). Working in partnership with the private and public sectors the network aims to build more and better businesses, to develop the skills and knowledge of Scottish people, and to encourage innovation to make Scottish business internationally competitive.

The Scottish Enterprise Broadband for Business Programme – behind today’s launch – has been established to increase the uptake of broadband technology for Scots businesses. The programme includes more than a dozen interlinked projects which will:
o raise awareness of broadband and give companies unbiased, independent advice;
o trail pioneering and alternative technologies that can deliver broadband services across the country; and
o develop telecommunications infrastructure, services and tariffs to put Scottish businesses on a competitive footing with Europe’s leading locations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Russell Parker at FEAT on 01324 665500
email: russelp@feat.org.uk

Or Adrian Mahoney at The PR Store on 01506 823714 or 07967 150560
e-mail: feat@theprstore.net

For inquiries about Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, please contact Josie Saunders at The Big Partnership on 0141 333 9585 or 07881 816283

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