What A Year
Like no other, and much of it I for one would like to put firmly behind me. But not all of it.
In times of strife, the best of people often rises to the top. In the pandemic there has been so much generous giving to charity, a caring community spirit and a long, hard look at how we go about our daily lives.
Here at SPEY, every single team member has risen to the occasion, working their socks off for each other, our clients and the communities where we work and live.
And also thanks to some support, many of us in business are still here to tell the tale.
Awarded to over 1,700 businesses in Scotland, a PERF as it’s known to those in the know, or a Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund by its full Sunday title, helped small businesses like ours weather the storm.
The top five sectors in Scotland to be awarded were, unsurprisingly, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, construction, wholesale retail, and creative industries which is where SPEY sits.
As a full service creative communications agency providing creative strategy, PR, marketing, digital and content services for businesses across Scotland, SPEY is the only business to do so in our region.
Headquartered in Speyside, we are an accredited Scottish Living Wage Employer for all our interns and are proud to employ ten people in high value professional jobs.
Thanks to HIE awarding the PERF grant, we protected employment despite being hit hard from the pandemic. The majority of our clients are in the hardest hit sectors of tourism, hospitality and food and drink which had a big impact on our cash flow. The support helped us to ride the initial storm and build back the business without laying off a single person, only having to use furlough in the initial stages.
To fit the criteria HIE say:
“Factors taken into account included the significance of the applicant in their local area and community, both in serving other businesses and in providing employment, as well as the extent to which they offer quality careers for local graduates and attracting high-quality jobs to the region.”
We matched that criteria and now we’ve managed to build back the business, expanding work with our current clients and winning new ones, despite the tough economic climate.
This month we were delighted to be recognised as the best boutique agency at the prestigious PR Moments awards, on the back of being named best agency working in whisky in the world by industry titan Whisky Magazine.
We are not quite done with 2020 yet, but it looks like we are going to go out on a high. So I just want to say thanks to HIE for their continued support, to my awesome team who have gone above and beyond, and importantly to our clients, for whom we consider it a privilege to work with.
So onwards we go, working hard to continue to grow the business, provide award-winning work, and importantly retain and attract talent to Speyside, the most beautiful place in the world.
A spokesperson for HIE said:
“The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund (PERF) was managed through Scotland’s enterprise agencies, to provide grants to SMEs made vulnerable by COVID-19.
“Applications were assessed against a consistent set of criteria, and in line with our appraisal process for the fund and all successful applicants had to submit evidence to prove that they met these criteria.
“This was a huge help to many of our key businesses in the Highlands and Islands including businesses in some the most remote areas, which employ only a few people, but which are vital to that community. The fund was crucial to their recovery and awards were for specific actions such as retaining staff, paying wages for a graduate placement, covering operational overheads and meeting government guidelines by providing PPE and safety measures upon re-opening.
“More than £18m of PERF grants were awarded in the Highlands and Islands. Around 70% of which was to businesses in either the creative industries, tourism and hospitality or food and drink sectors – illustrating the importance of these sectors in many parts of the region.”
For more information about Highlands and Islands Enterprise visit www.hie.co.uk