Fife- a thriving region that is open for business

Fife- a thriving region that is open for business

Gordon Mole, Fife Council’s senior manager for business and employability shares just why Fife may be the perfect place for new business opportunities...

Deciding where to base your business can affect its chances of success. From actively driving investment, to developing a highly skilled local workforce, Fife Council is working hard to make Fife the best place to grow your business.

Productivity, innovation and skills development, along with the delivery of improved infrastructure, are all areas we are focusing on to ensure growth and prosperity for the local economy. 

A concerted effort is being made to harness the determination of the business community and combine it with the knowledge and experience of the public sector to drive forward growth.

 

City Deals 

Amongst the highly ambitious projects that the Council is driving, is the development of two City Deals-that have the potential to have a transformational impact on the economy. Fife is a key partner with Edinburgh City Council on the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, and negotiations are now underway to inject a step-change in economic growth.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, committed to an Edinburgh City Deal in March of this year that will boost the regional economy and build on the region’s many strengths, while tackling inequality and deprivation.

The initiative is a bid by East Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian councils to secure economic development funding through the Westminster and Scottish governments.

This is an exciting project because it could be the biggest ever investment in economic infrastructure in the Edinburgh city region area – and Fife has a massive amount of potential investment riding on that.

Fife is also supporting the pursuit of a City Deal for the Tay Cities region, recognising the importance of the Tay Cities economy to, and contribution of, North East Fife.  This will support economic growth in the Tay area, help to reduce inequality and create a more prosperous future.

 

Investment 

The new £1.4bn Queensferry Crossing is one key visible sign of investment. Once complete, the Queensferry Crossing will be the largest three-tower cable stay bridge in the world, with two 650m spans. 
 
Fife Council also recently welcomed the announcement that Babcock, the UK’s leading engineering support services company, has been awarded a multi-million pound contract by Dong Energy to construct a reactive compensation station for the Hornsea Project One offshore wind farm, on the east coast of England, at its Rosyth facilities in Fife. 

This announcement is great news for Babcock, one of our largest employers, and for local people across Fife. This latest development is significant for the UK’s renewables sector, and reinforces Fife’s position on the world stage for renewables. 

The announcement follows Babcock’s commitment at the end of 2015 to develop a new multi- million pound state-of-the-art engineering centre at its Rosyth facilities, as part of an ongoing programme of investment on the Fife site.

 

Focus on tourism, low-carbon energy and manufacturing

Tourism is at the heart of Fife’s economy today, with VisitScotland’s figures suggesting that the industry is supporting 9,400 jobs.

The designation of the Forth Bridge last year as a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year puts it alongside the Great Wall of China, the Acropolis in Athens and the Pyramids of Egypt in terms of cultural significance.

There are many other cultural hotspots around the region for visitors to explore, presenting opportunities to encourage continued investment in the area.

Popular Fife attractions include Tentsmuir Forest by Tayport, Craigtoun Country Park in St Andrews and Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery.

The popularity of the Outlander TV series, which features the historic villages of Culross, Dysart and Falkland has helped introduce the kingdom to an entirely new audience – particularly in the US, Canada and New Zealand. 
 
In addition, tourism groups such as the Fife Tourism Partnership are exploring ways to grow Fife’s cultural offering and attract visitors all year round. Projects being developed with partners include The Fife Pilgrim Way, a heritage project developing a new long distance walking route through the heart of Fife and the Forth Cruise Project, where volunteers meet cruises to promote the area.

Fife is also forging a formidable reputation in the low-carbon energy sector. A particularly exciting development is the creation of a £100m Glenrothes-based data centre campus that will be the largest of its kind in Scotland.

Based at Queensway Park, once at the heart of Scotland’s ‘Silicon Glen’, the development will feature two state-of-the-art data halls hosting high performance cloud computing alongside grade A office accommodation.

The facility will be powered by 100 per cent green energy from the adjacent RWE Innogy biomass plant, which previously fed the Tullis Russell site.

Renewable energy is a key sector for Fife and is estimated to account for 41 per cent of the region’s electricity and a 35 per cent reduction in Fife’s CO2 emissions as at July 2015.

Flagship developments include a new £2.3m Low Carbon Investment Park at Buckhaven, which will offer 10 hectares of industrial and commercial land.

The Energy Park’s occupants include Bright Green Hydrogen, which this year received £4m funding from the Scottish Government to deliver the Levenmouth Community Energy Project. This will see the Methil facility developed into the world’s leading demonstrator of innovative applications for hydrogen derived from renewable sources.

As part of the project, Levenmouth will become home to Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles.

It’s often reported that manufacturing is dead in Scotland, but manufacturing is very much alive and kicking in Fife.

As well as being the home to fast –evolving traditional sector – a number of major manufacturing and retail businesses headquartered in Fife are key players in their sectors - Fife houses some of the UK’s best performing micro-businesses based on growth, according to research by Experian.

 

Fife is home to some of the highest-performing small businesses with a turnover of less than £100,000, with 35 per cent considered to be fast-growing. This puts the Kingdom ahead of second-place Birmingham on 34.7 per cent.

Innovation and skills development remains at the core of the region’s focus to ensure our part in the Scottish economy is a leading one.

Skills development

Fife Council is working closely with partners to develop a highly skilled workforce well-prepared to meet the current and future needs of local, national and international employers.

 

This starts in the classroom, not the boardroom. We recognise the invaluable role that schools play in preparing pupils for the world of work.  That’s why, in Fife, we’re embracing Developing the Young Workforce (DYP), the Scottish Government’s national strategy for strengthening links between businesses and education, and working to make sure that contact with local businesses is embedded within schools.

 

In Fife we are driving forward our vision for the Kingdom as a vibrant economy where its business environment inspires people to create jobs - making Fife the best place to start and grow a business