Higher profile is needed at home for food and drink sector

Tuesday 21 October 2014

We are rightly proud of the role that the food and drink business sector has on boosting exports and promoting Scotland abroad, but are we doing enough to exploit growth opportunities in our domestic market?

The variety and quality of our food and drink was not readily associated with Scotland several years ago, but this perception is changing and the opportunities for businesses are extensive.

In Scotland, visitors spend 20p in every pound on food and drink and with nearly four million visitors to Edinburgh over the last year; our capital city is growing in stature as a dining destination. With over 100 new bars, cafes and restaurants opening last year it is not surprising that Edinburgh is the most popular city break destination outside London. Over 80% of visitors think about food when choosing a destination.

The growing demand for traditional dishes, regional specialties and local produce provides excellent opportunities for suppliers across Scotland. Our local suppliers should continue to be supported with coordinated marketing opportunities, supply chain efficiencies, including manageable trading terms.

The development of business opportunities through social media channels is key, as is demonstrated in the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce training programmes where social media is by far the most popular series of training courses to develop new sales channels and brand profile. Creating more consumer choice for local produce in our grocery retail outlets needs to be developed further.

As major grocery retailers and discount chains develop on our high streets, we must ensure that they strike the right balance between internationally sourced products and those from local suppliers.

More needs to be done to encourage more shelf presence of local brands, whilst respecting the need to have efficient supply chains and an acceptable consumer price. The role of the local trader is critical in the mix as is the growing trends towards farmers’ markets.

We must also continue to invest in our talent to ensure the quality matches the best internationally. Customer service expectations will continue to grow, whether it is one of Edinburgh’s five Michelin starred restaurants, or those attending Edinburgh’s Festivals, who spend over £37m on eating and drinking. Close collaboration with the education sector is key and across Edinburgh there continues to be market leading partnerships with all levels of education, nurturing both new talent and developing new skills for those already in employment.

Let’s make sure that the growing strength of Scotland’s outstanding larder overseas is equalled at home. We must ensure that with even closer working together between major brands, local businesses and education that we reach the hearts, and of course appetites, of both our local consumers and the ever increasing international visitors.

David Birrell, CEO at Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce


Onyx Group: The Latest I.T. Security Threats

Once again the news is awash with stories about new security vulnerabilities. This time we are faced with SandWorm and POODLE. One is a critical flaw in a key element of Microsoft Windows and the latter is a vulnerability in SSLv3.

The mainstream media, as usual, will do a great job of scaremongering, making these latest vulnerabilities appear to be the next batch of malware threats that will destroy your entire IT environment in an instant. But is that really the case? We have called upon some of our expert Security Consultants to delve into these topics, looking at the technical aspect of the threat, the level of danger you face and the steps you should be taking to minimise the risk.

For more information please follow the link: http://email.onyx.net/onyxgrouplz/lz.aspx?p1=T051S591056&CC=&p=0

Celebrating 25 Years of the World Wide Web – an Interactive Infographic

Did you know that the first item sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer back in 1995 for $14.83?

As 2014 is the 25th anniversary of the world wide web, the team here at Onyx are taking users on a journey through some of the highlights of the world wide web since its conception by Tim Berners-Lee back in 1989, developing an entertaining interactive infographic.

The infographic is a celebration of 25 years of the world wide web and coincides with Onyx’s 20th anniversary of providing IT solutions to businesses across the country.

For the full article please follow the link, http://onyx.net/news/view/56/25-years-of-the-internet-interactive-infographic

Queen Margaret University ‘did you know’ facts

Last month Professor Petra Wend PhD FRSA Principal and Vice-Chancellor of QMU was the speaker at our ‘Inspiring Women in Business’ afternoon tea and in her speech she mentioned some very interesting ‘did you know that’ facts about Queen Margaret University.

Did you know that it only takes 6 minutes to travel from Edinburgh Waverley to Musselburgh train station, where QMU is only a stones throw away?

Did you know that nearly 94% of QMU graduates find jobs, way above UK and Scottish average?

Did you know that QMU have one of the highest application rates per place in Scotland? Hot on the heels of St Andrews and Edinburgh. And this year they have increased their applications even further, way above the UK average?

Did you know that QMU have over 20 applications for every nursing university place?

Did you know that the vast majority of QMU students are not local, but come from Europe, the Rest of the UK, the rest of Scotland and from overseas?

Did you know that 20% of QMU students are international and come from 84 countries?

Did you know that QMU have a campus in Singapore? That they teach in India, Nepal, Middle East? That they form the British University in Cairo with Loughborough University in England?

Did you know that QMU income from knowledge exchange, i.e. research and work with businesses is the highest of modern universities in the UK and higher than many old universities?

Business Mentoring Scotland: A Free Service to Help Businesses Grow

Do you feel that you need a bit of support when growing your business?

Would your business benefit from the input of an experienced mentor who is there to support and challenge you? If so, this fully funded mentoring service might be for you.

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce is a delivery partner for Business Mentoring Scotland and we match over 150 senior managers from growing businesses annually with experienced mentors. Our mentors volunteer their time and are all professional business leaders in their own right and are committed to sharing their knowledge, experience and skills with growing businesses.

Whether you are a relatively new business, or have ambitious plans to grow you existing business, working with a mentor can kick-start or re-invigorate your plans, giving you immediate access to impartial advice, relevant experience, and a great network of contacts. Business Mentoring Scotland is available to leaders with businesses that have been trading for over a year, have over £100,000 turnover and have a strategy to grow further over the coming 3 years.

With a rich talent pool of over 200 mentors in Edinburgh and in excess of 850 throughout Scotland we’re confident that we can match you with an expert mentor from any sector to help you and your business grow.

For more information, an application form or to book a meeting with our mentoring executive, Jimmy O’Connell, please call 0131 221 2999 Option 3 or email training@edinburghchamber.co.uk

Breakfast Connections with Michael O’Leary, CEO for Ryanair

Michael O'Leary at The Balmoral

Our ‘Breakfast Connections’ series reached new highs this morning with record numbers of delegates making their way to The Balmoral to listen to Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair.  O’Leary known for being a charismatic character certainly did not disappoint at the sold out event.  Covering points about Edinburgh’s booming tourism, the opportunity Scotland has to become a leading destination and also managing to squeeze in a pitch about the Ryanair £19.99 seat sale, the straight talking CEO delighted Chamber members.

Our next ‘Breakfast Connections‘ is with Ian Craig, CEO of Transport for Edinburgh and is on Thursday 27th November. Please follow the link for more information and to book online, http://www.edinburghchamber.co.uk/event/breakfast-connections-one-year-on-with-ian-craig-ceo-transport-for-edinburgh/


60 Seconds with Paul O’Regan from Word of Mouth Communication

Name: Paul O’Regan
Company Name: Word of Mouth Communication
Website: http://www.wordofmouth.co.uk

Q In five words or less, what do you do?
A Help businesses communicate (words/graphics)

Q How long have you been a Chamber member?
A Since 2009.

Q Why did you join?
A For the events – but I soon learned that there’s much more to the Chamber than that.

Q What services do you use?
A Still primarily the events, although we’ve also used members’ contact details to run targeted campaigns.

Q What’s the best business/benefit you have won through the Chamber?
A I love learning new things, so I particularly enjoy the events with a factual or educational element (the Budget Breakfasts, for example, or the recent whisky tasting).

Q Are there any additional services or information you’d be particularly interested in?
A We’re thinking about using the mentoring service, we keep an eye out for any special offers – particularly from restaurants!

Q If you were telling another business person about the Chamber, what’s the first thing you would say?
A The fee is good value, and the Chamber staff will help you get the most out of your membership.

Q Where do you read your copy of Business Comment?
A In the office on a Friday afternoon (with great interest, as we specialise in magazines ourselves).