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The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.

 

DGBusiness Awards open for entry

Dumfries & Galloway Chamber of Commerce is calling on businesses across the region to enter the DGBusiness Awards 2018.

Held in association with Dumfries & Galloway Developing the Young Workforce, the awards are not only a great opportunity for businesses to showcase themselves and raise their profile, they can also provide a good insight.

Completing an awards application can highlight potential areas for improvement or development, as well as providing the perfect excuse to look back at what you and your company have achieved in detail. It can also be an opportunity to freshen up a business plan, processes, competencies, and set new goals.

The DGBusiness Awards 2018 will be judged by an independent panel of experts, comprised of business figures from across the region. They will assess entries and select a shortlist from which the winner for each of the 12 categories will be chosen.

The judges will be looking for information about the business and evidence of how it has grown, developed or made a difference in the specific award categories.

DGChamber President Tom Armstrong says: “I would encourage businesses which are based in, or work in, our region to put themselves forward for some formal recognition.

“Dumfries & Galloway has some really strong business sectors but there is also some fantastic work being carried out in other areas, especially by some of our young entrepreneurs.

“With awards for Outstanding Business, Family Business, Rural Business, Entrepreneurship and Customer Service as well as our new award for Exporting there is the chance for every business to enter.

“For a full list of categories and downloadable application forms, go to: www.dgchamber.co.uk, where tickets can also be purchased for the awards ceremony.”

Closing date for submitting application forms is 5pm on Friday April 27th 2018 and businesses can enter as many categories as they wish.

The winners will be announced at the 20180DGBusiness Awards which take place at Easterbrook Hall on Friday June 15th 2018.

 

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORMS FOR THE 2018 DGBusiness Awards

 

CHAMPION IN DEVELOPING THE YOUNG WORKFORCE SPONSORED BY DEVELOPING THE YOUNG WORKFORCE DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY

OUTSTANDING BUSINESS PERSON

OUTSTANDING YOUNG BUSINESS PERSON

EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE SPONSORED BY THE CRICHTON TRUST

OUTSTANDING FAMILY BUSINESS

MOST PROMISING NEW BUSINESS SPONSORED BY SCOTTISH POWER ENERGY NETWORKS

OUTSTANDING THIRD SECTOR ORGANISATION

OUTSTANDING SME (BUSINESS EMPLOYING 25 OR UNDER)

OUTSTANDING LARGE BUSINESS (25 EMPLOYEES OR GREATER)

 

 

 

DGBusiness Awards 2018: Excellence in Customer Service

Dumfries & Galloway Chamber of Commerce is calling on businesses across the region to enter the DGBusiness Awards 2018.

Held in association with Developing the Young Workforce Dumfries & Galloway, the awards are not only a great opportunity for businesses to showcase themselves and raise their profile, they can also provide a good insight.

Completing an awards application can highlight potential areas for improvement or development, as well as providing the perfect excuse to look back at what you and your company have achieved in detail. It can also be an opportunity to freshen up a business plan, processes, competencies, and set new goals.

The DGBusiness Awards 2018 will be judged by an independent panel of experts, comprised of business figures from across the region. They will assess entries and select a shortlist from which the winner for each of the 12 categories will be chosen.

Excellence in Customer Service Award Sponsored by The Crichton Trust

This award will recognise companies with a focus on customer service and care. The Excellence in Customer Service Award has been designed for businesses who can demonstrate excellence and achievement within the field of customer care and service. Entrants will demonstrate excellence through their customer service objectives and strategy, business performance, customer care activities, staff development plans and show how this has driven business growth. 

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ENTRY FORM

NUMBER OF SCOTTISH BUSINESSES EXPORTING FALLS

The number of Scottish businesses that currently export their goods or services has fallen to less than a third in the last six months, according to the latest Business in Britain report from the Bank of Scotland.

While only one in four (24 per cent) firms now say they have taken a strategic decision not to export, down slightly from 26 per cent in June 2017, the number that are currently exporting has fallen by eight points to 29 per cent, from 37 per cent last summer.

Across the UK, 40 per cent of firms now export, down only four points compared with six months ago.

Volatile currency rates were the biggest factor affecting firms’ decisions to trade overseas, with 26 per cent saying the biggest barrier to exporting is exchange rate uncertainty, followed by tariffs and quotas (cited by 10 per cent) and cost including transportation and port entry taxes (cited by seven per cent).

Looking beyond exporting alone, a net balance of 17 per cent of all businesses across Scotland also say the fall in the value of the pound is bad for the economy, while 20 per cent say it’s bad for their business.

The Business in Britain report, now in its 26th year, gathers the views of more than 1,500 UK companies, including 125 in Scotland, and tracks a range of performance and confidence measures.

However, it found that, among those that are already trading overseas, exporters in Scotland are buoyant about their 2018 trade prospects with a net balance of 17 per cent expecting overseas sales to increase over the next six months.

This is on the back of a strong end to 2017 in which a net balance of 19 per cent said their international trade had increased in the second half of the year. 

While some are facing new challenges, with 25 per cent of Scotland’s exporters have decided to focus more on UK sales in light of Brexit, most are optimistic about what lies ahead.

Simon Quin, Scotland, area director for Global Transaction Banking, SME at Bank of Scotland, said: “The majority of Scotland’s exporters still see international trade playing an important role in their plans, despite the continued climate of domestic and international uncertainty.

“Judging from Scottish firms’ export performances over the previous six months, this confidence is not misplaced and by using internal trade as a growth strategy for their business British firms can also manage risk during periods of uncertainty.”

International markets

Based on their current overseas trading, the current most popular partner countries for Scottish exporters are the USA with 17 per cent and Brazil, China, France, Germany, Ireland and Norway, all with eight per cent of exporters respectively trading with these countries.

The country exporters in Scotland see as their biggest opportunity for international trade is China (25 per cent), followed by the USA (22 per cent) and Germany (eight per cent).  

Simon Quin added: “The fact that Scottish exporters see China as offering the biggest opportunity in future shows that they are looking to pre-emptively tackle the impact of a potential loss of access to the EU single market.

“Trading overseas can feel intimidating, but with Scottish food and drink in particular enjoying an enviable reputation across the word, and the fact that the fall in the value of the pound makes a lot of British exports more attractive overseas, it’s clear there are opportunities for Scottish exporters to prosper globally with the right support.

“The Bank of Scotland is here to help, and our strategic partnership with the Department for International Trade as well as teams of Scottish-based relationship managers can provide the kind of insight, support and introductions that can be invaluable to firms setting out on, or expanding, their export journey.

“To support customers further we also provide access to our International Trade Portal which helps both current and prospective exporters understand the best market for their product or service, the trading requirements and conditions for that market, as well as buyers or suppliers they may wish to work with the Bank of Scotland can also help customers manage other risks associated with international trade, for example foreign exchange risk. It’s a big step in the right direction to help new or experienced exporters navigate the sometimes tricky international trading waters.”

 

Alister Jack hands over results from Broadband Survey

Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack has met with the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt. Hon Matt Hancock MP, and handed over the results from his broadband survey.

The local MP asked constituents to respond to a series of questions using an online survey on his website about their broadband service.

On the question of broadband speed the results were are follows:

Under 2mbps:                         46.2%

Under 10mbps:                       5.6%

Between 2mbps – 5mbps:       23.9%

Between 5mbps – 10mbps:     10.5%

Between 10mbps – 15mbps:   4.6%

Between 15mbps – 20mbps:   3%

More than 20mbps:                 6.2%

When respondents were asked what they used their broadband service for 57% said they used it for business purposes.

Alister Jack said, “I want to thank everyone who responded to my broadband survey. 

“This is one of the biggest issues that I am contacted about and I was pleased that Matt Hancock took the time to meet with me and receive the results personally.

“There is no doubt that poor broadband speeds is a huge impediment to economic growth here in Dumfries and Galloway.  Many small and medium sized businesses, the vast majority of which are independent traders, rely on their broadband connections to do business, and it is very frustrating when they cannot access the necessary speeds to do so.

“For many people in my constituency a decent broadband connection is a luxury.  People want and deserve better and I will continue to use my role in Parliament to campaign for greater improvements to our broadband infrastructure.”

Upon receiving the survey results Mr Hancock said, “I was pleased to receive the results from Alister’s very successful broadband survey in his Constituency, which my department will review.  I fully recognise the importance of a fast and reliable broadband connection, particularly in rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway. The UK Government are fully committed to ensuring that 100% of properties have access to superfast broadband by 2020.  It is disappointing that the Scottish Government have missed their target of 95% in a number of areas of the country, including in Dumfries and Galloway, and that is why the third tranche of funding will be distributed straight to Local Authorities.”

A large number of respondents included additional comments with their submissions.  A few of these are copied below.

“Very slow and has a lot of drop outs on a daily basis. Had engineers out numerous times but never seems to improve much. Broadband download speed are rarely above 1.2mb/s which makes doing anything online very slow and sometimes impossible.”

“We run a small engineering business and have to rely totally on the internet to be able to download tender documents etc. and are finding it practically impossible. Our Broadband provider has informed us that our bad service is because of our rural location and our distance from an outdate exchange.”

“It sometimes sits at 0.2 and drops altogether 6 to 10 times a day. My kids are at a disadvantage and put under extra pressure with assignments and deadlines at school. Often meaning late night struggling re setting the router all the time.”

“The Broadband service to our property is disgraceful. We pay for a service which we do not receive most of the time. I run a small business which is my only source of income and this relies on internet access and a decent speed. This is just not happening. This year (2017) I have lost 3 weeks of business due to faults on the line, slow speed and the lack of help from BT.”

More services to tackle poverty in D&G

Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service (D&G CAS) are delighted to announce the appointment of additional staff in Bureaux across the region to support people affected by poverty. They have also appointed a new Volunteer Development Officer based at their Dumfries HQ to support the Bureaux management teams across the region to recruit, develop and retain high quality volunteers. All of these new posts are funded through the Scottish Government and European Social Fund’s Aspiring Communities Fund.

Sue Irving, Chief Executive of D&G CAS said,

“We are very excited to have secured this funding. These are key appointments for the organisation as they add additional capability and value to our already broad breadth of issues we deal with. Poverty in all its forms is a very real and significant problem across Dumfries and Galloway. By having skilled and knowledgeable staff available across the entire region, we will support people to identify solutions to the issues they face.

 

In addition our volunteers are the backbone of our organisation. They are usually the first point of contact for the public to gain advice and assistance on the issues they face. To continue to provide an effective service we require more volunteers, not just as Advisers but in a variety of other roles. Our Volunteer Development Officer, Phil Stewart, who is based at our Dumfries Office, will support the recruitment of volunteers from right across the Region”.

If you need advice on poverty issues or any other matter then please call into your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or call us on 0300 303 4321. If you are interested in volunteering at one of our bureaux in Annan, Dumfries, Castle Douglas or Stranraer then please get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , www.dagcas.org, www.cas.org.uk, call us on 0300 303 4321 or pop in to your local bureau.