In 2017, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) allocated approximately £250,000 from its Griffin and Calliachar wind farms in Perthshire to provide financial support to new and existing enterprises in five community council areas around the wind farms.
Jane Atterton and Marianna Markantoni from the Rural Policy Centre have completed an evaluation of this ‘Griffin and Calliachar Enterprise Fund’, exploring its direct impacts on recipient businesses and their owners/managers and the wider economic and social impacts for the rural communities in which they are located.
The evaluation has found that even small amounts of money goes a long way in terms of enabling a small business to buy a new piece of equipment to expand their offering to take on a new member of staff for a busy season or provide some staff training. But it does much more than this in terms of increasing the business owner/manager’s confidence and providing wider community benefits, including increased collaboration and networking between local businesses, health and wellbeing benefits, and increased investment in the high streets of local towns.
Ongoing business support (in this case from GrowBiz) is also important, as is maintaining the local design and administration of any funding and keeping the application process simple but thorough.
The full report from this work is available to download here and more information is available by emailing Jane Atterton.