Invitation to entrepreneurs looking to start-up, scale-up, or transform their business



If you are the next best thing in business or an international entrepreneur in the making, the 10 and 20-week business Accelerator Programmes by Elevator may be just the thing you need to test, research, develop, launch and refine your product or service-led business, becoming pitch and investor ready.

Elevator now opens applications for the second cohort of their 20-week programme along with launching a further 10-week Programme specifically for businesses who want to improve their business offering and growth potential at an accelerated rate. Entry and participation of Elevator’s Accelerator Programmes are free of charge.

Building on the success of the first 20-week intensive Accelerator Programme, which shaped 12 ambitious entrepreneur-led businesses with entrepreneurial discipline, mentoring and business advice, Elevator are looking for 25 entrepreneur-led businesses to populate their Accelerator in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Elevator’s Accelerator Programmes work by supporting ambitious entrepreneurs in a world-class centre for entrepreneurship in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. Business Founders work with the Elevator Team, sector specific business mentors, experienced entrepreneurs and are provided with a wealth of resources to mould their businesses into a successful, market and growth-ready operation, whether expanding into new markets or internationally.

Applications to participate in the next programme open today (Monday the 11th of January) via the Elevator website at and will close at 5 pm on Monday 1st February 2016. Cohort 2 of Accelerator Founders will start their Programme on Monday 22nd of February.

Owners of ambitious, early stage businesses are welcome to apply for the programme if they have a business with high growth potential. The programme covers different entrepreneurial themes each week including business models, goal setting, identifying new markets and opportunities, vision, mission and values, customer relationships, company culture, team dynamics, cash-flow, intellectual property, pitching, scale and growth and exit strategy. Founders are based within a world-class centre for entrepreneurship, surrounded by cutting edge technology, seeped with an entrepreneurial spirit and continual networking opportunities.

Experienced entrepreneurs present to participants in weekly sessions and mentors are appointed to each business owner. Business Founders taking part will tap into Business Gateway, Elevator and Scottish Enterprise resources within the centre along with the strong ties with local private and public sector organisations supporting all activities.

Professor Gary McEwan, CEO of Elevator said: ‘This is a unique opportunity for ambitious entrepreneurs leading businesses with outstanding growth potential in Scotland and beyond to realise their potential and increase their impact on the global marketplace. Our first cohort represented a range of business disciplines including energy, technology, property, and health care. We saw a significant improvement of best business practice, opportunities realised and investments pitched for by the 12 founders who joined us for an intense 20 weeks. The team at Elevator are extremely excited about the next wave joining us – ultimately, there is no other experience like this in Scotland; the journey, the outcome and the benefits will be different for each Founder and the economic benefits for the country are notable.’

John Turnbull, Founder of Vistem, said about his participation in Cohort 1 of the Elevator Accelerator Programme:

‘The Accelerator Programme run by Elevator has been transformational for Vistem. Not only did Vistem’s business offerings mature but I developed my entrepreneurial skills, learning from some inspiring, successful people. The environment is world-class. The camaraderie between the Elevator Team and the other Founders on the programme was superb. I got a tremendous buzz from discussing, developing and pitching our business. If you are serious about success, I highly recommend the Accelerator programme at Elevator”.

Are you using the latest technology to attract tourists?


Digital Tourism Scotland (DTS) is a new partnership programme to help tourism businesses across Scotland improve their digital skills and capitalise on opportunities that new technology offers.

The programme will offer advice, workshops, and insight into how others are adopting and improving digital practices. There are 2 free ‘Digital Technologies Update for Tourism’ workshops available:

Tuesday, 24th November 2015, 1.30 to 4.30pm, Holiday Inn Aberdeen West

Wednesday, 25th November 2015, 10.30am to 1.30pm, Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf



Government grants to boost business broadband

Business is Great

Your business can get a connection voucher of up to £3,000 for faster, better broadband through the Government’s Broadband Connection Vouchers scheme. Check your postcode here to see if your business is eligible. In the P&J advert today, the Aberdeen area is highlighted but I have checked Westhill postcodes and ones further out e.g. Midmar and they seem to be eligible as well, so check your business postcode out!

Oil & Gas Technology Roadshow 2014

Oil and Gas 2

Oil & Gas UK held their first annual conference last week. The Oil and Gas Industry Conference was a two-day event held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre from 11 to 12 June 2014.

Following the publication of the Wood Review earlier this year the conference fell under the umbrella of MER UK (Maximising Economic Recovery UK) with the conference streams taking a thematic approach, striving to answer the question: how can we develop a sustainable future for the UK oil and gas industry.

To coincide with the conference, an Oil & Gas Technology Roadshow came to Westhill on Friday 13th June. Using an amazing exhibition vehicle, companies were invited to join the roadshow and exhibit their technologies and services directly inside the customers premises. They parked up in Arnhall Business Centre where I visited them yesterday morning along with Sir Robert Smith, MP. I was really impressed by the range of products and services on display and was able to chat with the exhibitors.  This was a unique opportunity for suppliers to meet directly with engineers – the people who do not manage to attend the more traditional trade shows.

Thanks to Oil & Gas UK for extending the invitation.




Local curry house favoured at awards ceremony


Congratulations to Echt Tandoori who were amongst the winners at last night’s 2014 Scottish Curry Awards in Glasgow. Echt Tandoori beat competition from Aberdeen’s Light of Bengal and Cinnamon to claim the “Restaurant of the Year” accolade for the North-East of Scotland region.
The Echt restaurant was also nominated in the “Best Restaurant Design” category but lost out to Edinburgh’s Indian Cavalry Club.

Sir Robert Smith MP delivers Christmas cheer and encouragement to Royal Mail Posties at Westhill Delivery Office

Royal mail visit Westhill (640x437)

Sir Robert Smith MP has visited Royal Mail’s Westhill delivery office to pass on Christmas wishes and encouragement to the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.

Sir Robert was shown round the office by local Delivery Office Manager, Mike McKillop  and was introduced to the postmen and women who are working hard sorting and delivering all cards and parcels in the Westhill area in the run-up to Christmas.

Sir Robert said: “It was great to meet the dedicated, hard-working Royal Mail posties at Westhill delivery office and to see first-hand the effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year.

“Postmen and women do such an important job, especially at Christmas, given the growth in the number of packets for delivery. I would like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over this busy festive period.”

Mike McKillop, Royal Mail Delivery Office Manager at Westhill, said: “Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail. Our people pull out all the stops throughout the year to ensure mail is delivered quickly, but even more so over the busy festive period. We are grateful that Sir Robert came along to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.”

“Our people do a fantastic job at this time of year to ensure that friends and families stay in touch through their Christmas greetings and gifts.  We’d like to remind our customers to post early so that friends and family have longer to enjoy their Christmas greetings!”

The recommended last posting dates for mail are:

  • Friday 20 December for 1st Class items
  • Wednesday 18 December for 2nd Class items
  • Monday 23 December for Special Delivery items


The recommended International posting dates for 2013 are:

  • Wednesday 4 December for airmail to Asia, Far East ( including Japan ),and New Zealand
  • Thursday 5 December for airmail to Australia
  • Friday 6 December for airmail to South & Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East
  • Monday 9 December for airmail to Cyprus and Eastern Europe
  • Tuesday 10 December for airmail to Canada, France, Greece, Poland
  • Friday 13 December for airmail to USA
  • Saturday 14 December for airmail items to Western Europe (excluding France, Greece, Poland)


Customers can also help Royal Mail ensure that all their letters, cards and parcels are delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible by taking a few easy steps:

Use a 1st Class stamp! – Post 1st Class for just 60p and have your Christmas card delivered the next day – anywhere in the UK.

  • Post early! – Avoid disappointment by posting your cards and parcels early. The last posting dates this Christmas are: December 18 for 2nd Class mail; December 20 for 1st Class mail; December 23 for Special Delivery.
  • Use a postcode! – A clearly addressed card or parcel, with a postcode, and return address on the back of the envelope, will ensure quick and efficient delivery.
  • Use Special Delivery!– For valuable packages and parcels guarantee delivery with Royal Mail’s Special Delivery, which means your gift is tracked, traced and insured against loss.
  • For more information about Christmas with Royal Mail visit: or call 08457 740 740.

Sir Robert Smith MP meets with Westhill-based apprentices

Proserv (640x421)

Robert Smith MP met with Proserv staff who had recently finished their apprentices during his visit to the Offshore Europe 2013 exhibition.

Sir Robert commented “Apprenticeships are a great way for school leavers to develop their skills whilst experiencing the working environment. It is great to see companies like Proserv supporting apprentices and ensuring continued employment following their training.”

Photo shows  from the right – Bradley Savoldelli (Aberdeen), Sir Robert Smith MP, Jamie Lawrenson (Newtonhill)

Grant scheme helps new Westhill company recruit first employee

A newly formed Westhill business that aims to solve water production issues in the oil and gas industry has added its first employee thanks to a scheme from Business Gateway funded by Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils.

A grant of £1,000 alongside advice and support is available for businesses to take on their first employee through the Aberdeen City and Shire First Employee Grant Scheme and director of Greenthread Ltd, Ross Clarke, was glad of the assistance.

The 44 year old stays in Ellon and started his business after being immersed in the innovative environment of the oil service industry for over 20 years.

The extraction of oil and gas produces water as a by-product which has to be treated before disposal or re-use and Ross was driven to develop a new company with the ambition to solve this industry challenge through sustainable technology solutions.

He said: “I believe ‘produced water’ will be one of the major issues to overcome within the industry both at present and more so in the future. An opportunity arose to acquire a technology that addresses some specific water production issues, whilst at the same time is extremely environmentally friendly compared to comparative technologies and so a company was born.”

The company was formed in 2011 and was signposted to the first employee grant which Ross said was helpful as he found starting a technology company to be a cost heavy process.

He added: “New businesses shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help and advice as there are a great many support functions available through Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.”

New employee Andrew Henderson, 26, is a graduate from RGU and started at Greenthread in May. He said: “At the start of 2012 I was looking for a change in direction with my career as since graduating I had solely worked on designing and testing well completion products for the oil and gas industry.

“I wanted to work with new technologies and also get more involved with the project management side of engineering. However I didn’t want to stray too far from my old design engineering role as I enjoyed that part of my job the most.

“Working with a small technology driven start-up company provides the answer. I have new, exciting technology to learn about and work with and project management is now a major part of my role.

“The small work force means I still get to do plenty design work. I am really enjoying working at Greenthread.”

With its first employee now on board Greenthread Ltd has ambitious plans for the future.

The company aims to develop a pilot plant to target specific North Sea issues and create a suite of technology solutions to address all areas of produced water treatments to target global markets.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor Peter Argyle said: “The growth of small companies must be nourished and I am delighted to hear of an innovative oil and gas company in Aberdeenshire being supported to expand with assistance from the Business Gateway as well as Scottish Enterprise.

“I encourage more people to consider applying for this worthwhile scheme as it is more than just a cash injection; it provides solid advice and support too.”

Businesses applying for assistance thought the Aberdeen City and Shire First Employee Grant Scheme will be asked to complete an application form and payment of the grant is in two stages with 50% up front when the employee is in place and the balance paid six months later.

Businesses must ensure that this is the first employee of the business and systems must be in place to deduct National Insurance and PAYE.

The employee must not be a partner or investor in the business and must work a minimum of 30 hours per week.

For a copy of the application form and more information please contact
Business Gateway Manager Sally Collinson on 01224 664771 or at