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UWS announced as ROCCO 2014 Main Sponsor

Renfrewshire Chamber is delighted to announce the University of the West of Scotland as the Main Sponsor for its annual business awards, the ROCCOs. Now in its 11th year the ROCCO Awards is the area’s premier black tie business event attracting 500 guests every year.

rocco 2014

Commenting on the news Chamber President Tom Johnston said “Thank you to UWS for their support, we are delighted they are main sponsor for the ROCCOs in 2014, the 50th anniversary of Renfrewshire Chamber. The Chamber has enjoyed a strong relationship with the University for many years. Myself and our CEO studied there with our Deputy CEO currently studying for his MBA also. Under the leadership of new Principal Professor Craig Mahoney, UWS has an exciting future and we are committed to working with them”.

Commenting on the announcement of UWS as ROCCO main sponsor, Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice Chancellor of UWS, said: “The University is committed to working with organisations in its campus areas to help enhance the economy and skills of the local areas. This distinctive and important regional role is a key strand of our strategic aims for the West of Scotland, as well as strengthening our presence in the national and international arenas.

“Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce makes a hugely important contribution in creating prosperity for the region and we are delighted to support the Chamber and be the main sponsor for the ROCCOs in 2014. I’m also encouraged, of course, to hear of the successful careers of our alumni, now in senior positions with Renfrewshire Chamber!”
The ROCCOs are now open for entry. All members of Renfrewshire Chamber can enter for free and also non-members that are based in Renfrewshire. Winning a ROCCO is a great achievement — the ROCCO brand is recognised across Renfrewshire and beyond and a great accolade for all finalists & winners. The ROCCOs are a celebration and a great way to reward staff & clients.

The awards ceremony for 2014 will take place on Friday 14th November at The Normandy and be hosted by ROCCO regular, Fred MacAulay. Companies are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

For more info, to enter any of the 16 categories or book a table please visit

The 16 categories are:

1. Business Leader of the Year sponsored by Diageo
2. Community Champion of the Year sponsored by Engage Renfrewshire & RBS
3. Employer of the Year sponsored by Rolls Royce
4. Enterprise in Education sponsored by the University of the West of Scotland
5. Excellence in Customer Service sponsored by intu Braehead
6. Excellence in Manufacturing sponsored by the Scottish Leather Group
7. Family Business of the Year sponsored by The Malcolm Group
8. Innovation & Technology sponsored by Hillington Park
9. International Trade sponsored by Glasgow Airport
10. Invest in Renfrewshire sponsored by Renfrewshire Council
11. Journey to Zero Waste sponsored by the William Tracey Group
12. Most Promising New Business sponsored by Business Gateway Renfrewshire
13. Outstanding Performing Business >25 staff sponsored by the Phoenix Car Company
14. Outstanding Performing Business <5 staff sponsorship available
15. Outstanding Performing Business >5 & <25 staff sponsored by Renfrewshire Council
16. Young Business Person of the Year sponsored by West College Scotland

Entry closes Friday 5th September at 5pm

Picture attached: left Tom Johnston Chamber President, right – Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice Chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Renfrewshire Council Leader unveils promise of wage subsidy for every firm

Every small-to-medium-sized Renfrewshire firm will be able to access council financial support to create a job for an unemployed young person.

Councillor Mark Macmillan made the promise as part of the second anniversary celebrations of Invest in Renfrewshire – the council’s programme to boost business and tackle unemployment.

Under the Renfrewshire Employer Offer, any small-to-medium-sized firm hiring an unemployed young person will be eligible for financial support to help pay that person’s wages.

A firm taking on a young person for more than 25 hours per week will get 50 per cent of national minimum wage for up to 40 hours a week, for up to 12 months.

Invest in Renfrewshire employment conference

Invest in Renfrewshire already runs an employer recruitment incentive programme, while Jobcentre Plus have a similar scheme called the Youth Contract – but the conditions and size of grant depend on who you go to, and who you appoint.

Under the Renfrewshire Employer Offer, the council will top up any gaps in the Jobcentre scheme, meaning the same conditions are on offer across the board.

Invest in Renfrewshire and Jobcentre Plus staff will advise any business on which support best suits them, meaning the vacancy-filling process is simplified for all.

Councillor Macmillan said: “The council is determined to ensure local companies can get the help they need to grow their business and their workforce.

“That’s why we have made such a significant financial contribution to boosting local firms and tackling unemployment through the Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

“Over the two years of Invest in Renfrewshire we have made great strides in tackling unemployment – the rate of local 18-24 year-olds claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance is now just over six per cent, having been above 11 per cent when Invest started.

“In that time more than 650 companies have signed up to benefit from our packages of financial support – but we are always looking for new ways to make things easier.

“With that in mind, the Renfrewshire Employer Offer neatly ties together some schemes that are already there – our own wage subsidy programme, and the Jobcentre Plus equivalent.

“This way, any business knows they can get the same level of support, with the same terms and conditions – no matter which organisation they approach first.”

Cllr Macmillan’s announcement was made as part of a two-day celebration of Invest in Renfrewshire’s second birthday, featuring a showcase and awards ceremony for local businesses, and a conference for employability professionals.

The conference saw around 200 delegates from organisations and training providers from across the area gather to hear updates on latest news and to share ideas on how inequality can be tackled in the job market.

For more information on Invest in Renfrewshire, call 0300 300 1180, email, or visit[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Renfrewshire Business hub opening

New hub for local firms is open for Renfrewshire business

A one-stop shop where local firms can find out how to get financial help has been officially opened for business.

The Invest in Renfrewshire Business Hub in Lawn Street, Paisley was given the seal the seal of approval by invited guests from the local business community at a recent event.

Invest in Renfrewshire is Renfrewshire Council’s flagship £8m programme to boost the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

Renfrewshire Business hub opening

The new facility is open for any local company – whether big or small – to pop in and find out more about the range of support on offer through Invest in Renfrewshire.

It also boasts meeting rooms and will be a venue for networking and business information events, with a series of ‘meet the expert’ clinics in the pipeline.

To mark the official opening, Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan welcomed representatives of local firms, training providers and partner organisations to a business breakfast at the hub.

He said: “The council sees the local economy as a top priority, which is why we have made a sizeable financial commitment to the Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

“It is essential that small businesses are given the chance to thrive, and the council has a key role to play in creating conditions in which that can happen.

“The new business hub is intended to be exactly that – a central place where local firms can visit, attend events, access funding, and network with other professionals.

“Our team of business development advisors are on hand to offer help and advice, as will staff from Business Gateway, who will be based there one day a week.

“We would also encourage any small businesses who need somewhere to go to meet clients can use the facility by booking one of our meeting rooms.”

Renfrewshire Business hub opening

Support on offer to local businesses through Invest in Renfrewshire includes the following;

– business growth grants of up to £10,000 to help firms develop new products or pay for property improvements and IT equipment

– financial help of up to £5,000 for any company taking on an unemployed person or a graduate intern

– loans to help businesses grow or meet the cost of specific projects

– retail improvement grants and help with staff training.

Find more opportunities and information by going to


Salon tells Apprentice: ‘You’re hired’

Bosses at a Paisley salon ran their own talent search to find a hairdressing star of the future.

Napier Hair and Beauty, in Neilston Road, staged their own apprenticeship challenge, with a modern apprenticeship place on offer for the winner.

Teenage entrants competed through a series of crimping challenges – including presentations to salon owner Elaine Napier – before the winner was announced at a special ceremony.

Cllr Mark Macmillan with Ryan Healy and Elaine Napier

Successful candidate Ryan Healy, 17, of Paisley, will now receive on-the-job training from experienced colleagues, while being supported through a formal SVQ qualification.

The salon was supported to run the contest by staff from the council-run Renfrewshire Youth Employability Hub, in Gauze Street, Paisley.

Council staff provided help and advice, and attended the contest’s open evening, where advisors talked to youngsters and parents about their career options.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan popped by the salon to congratulate Ryan on his success and to find out more about the scheme from bosses.

Councillor Macmillan said: “I was impressed by the commitment shown by Elaine and her staff at the salon to providing quality training for young people.

“I would like to congratulate Ryan on his success and am sure he will have a great career ahead of him here.

“Napier Hair and Beauty is one of more than 300 local companies to have signed up to Invest in Renfrewshire – the council’s £7m programme to support the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

“The aim of the scheme is for the council to build partnerships with local firms who want to make an investment in young people and in themselves.

“We have a range of funding packages available, including wage subsidies, graduate internships and business development grants, which can help them do so.”

Cllr Mark Macmillan with Ryan Healy and Elaine Napier

Salon owner Elaine Napier was moved to run the contest through her belief that high-quality salon-based training gives aspiring stylists the best start to their careers.

She said: “If I take a young person on, it’s my job to train them and nurture them and complete their apprenticeship.

“If you don’t invest in people, you have no business at the end of it. If you take a youngster on, you can enrich them.

“The provision of quality training is a big issue for the industry. This is a full modern apprenticeship, and there will be a job at the end of it.”

Invest in Renfrewshire provides support for businesses and job opportunities for Renfrewshire young people aged between 16 and 24.

For more information about what the scheme could offer you, call 0300 3000 144, visit, or email

Bar boss says cheers for council grant

A popular bar which moved house to open in the heart of Paisley has a classy new look…thanks to a grant of thousands of pounds from Renfrewshire Council.
Hamishes’ Hoose landlord, Piero Pieraccini took advantage of the council’s Paisley Town Centre Property Improvement Grant to help pay for the modern eye-catching exterior and signage on the High Street property, which had lain empty for several years.

Piero is delighted to show council leader Mark Macmillan the new-look frontage which came about with the help of a property improvement  grant from Renfrewshire Council. Piero is urging other town centre businesses to get in on the act

Piero is delighted to show council leader Mark Macmillan the new-look frontage which came about with the help of a property improvement grant from Renfrewshire Council. Piero is urging other town centre businesses to get in on the act

And the transformation has won praise from customers who are impressed with the makeover and also from other traders who may now follow in Piero’s footsteps and seek a grant from the council.

Well-known Hamishes’ Hoose recently re-located from underneath the railway bridge at 42 Old Sneddon Street, Paisley to bigger premises at 45 High Street where Buddies can enjoy great food and drink. And when it came to improving the property Piero was delighted to learn he qualified for the property improvement grant of £8,700 which has give the outside of the building a complete makeover.

He said: “The front of the premises certainly needed a lot of work done to it, as some of the wood was rotting and the railings in front of the pub windows were rusty. Getting the town centre improvement grant was a real help and without the funding from Renfrewshire Council, we wouldn’t have been able to make the place look as good as it does.”
Piero added: “As well as making the pub look great from the outside, it also improves the look of the High Street in general.

“I would urge every town centre business to take advantage of this grant funding and when their property looks good, it creates a positive image for their business and the town centre as a whole. “The council is doing their bit to help regenerate Paisley town centre and now we need other property owners to do the same.”

Another town centre business to get on their bike and take advantage of the Council’s property improvement grant is Thomsons Cycles, at 58 Causeyside Street.

Martin Johnston, manager at Thomson Cycles in Causeyside Street, Paisley is gearing up for busy times ahead after the business got a helping hand with a whopping £10,000 improvement grant from Renfrewshire Council to give the entrance to the shop a makeover. He is pictured with council leader Mark Macmillan who called in to see the changes.

Martin Johnston, manager at Thomson Cycles in Causeyside Street, Paisley is gearing up for busy times ahead after the business got a helping hand with a whopping £10,000 improvement grant from Renfrewshire Council to give the entrance to the shop a makeover. He is pictured with council leader Mark Macmillan who called in to see the changes.

The business received a welcome £10,000 grant and shop manager, Martin Johnston said: “The property had been empty for years when we moved in and the place was an eyesore.
“It’s crucial to have a good interior and exterior as it’s all about the customer experience when they come to your shop.

“People have commented that the shop is very impressive and we couldn’t have done as much as we did to the property if it wasn’t for the council grant.”
Martin added: “We have been telling other businesses about the improvement grants and it’s definitely something they should take advantage of. “It’s a great idea from the council to help make Paisley better looking.”

Renfrewshire Council leader, Mark Macmillan said: “There is money available to help town centre businesses and property owners improve their premises. “More than 90 per cent of property in Paisley town centre is privately owned. Everyone has to pull together and do their bit to revitalise Paisley and a good place to start is by keeping their property in good repair. “A town centre that looks the business has a better chance of doing the business.”

Property owners in Paisley town centre can get grant funding of 80 per cent of the improvement costs up to £10,000. Contact Renfrewshire Council’s planning department at or call 0300 3000 144 or log on to for more information.

Machinery firm is 250th Invest in Renfrewshire sign-up

A local firm is engineering itself a brighter future after becoming the 250th company to sign up for the council-run Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

Preston Components Ltd – based in Hillington Park – will receive financial help towards the purchase of new machinery through the scheme.

The sub-contract engineering firm will also receive assistance with marketing and the creation of a new website.

Invest in Renfrewshire is a £7m programme which sees the council work with local firms to boost the local economy and support youth employment.

Since its launch last summer, companies big and small from throughout Renfrewshire have benefited from financial support, such as funding for new equipment, shopfront grants and wage subsidies.

Invest is also creating training and employment opportunities for hundreds of young people within a variety of private-sector employers and the council itself.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan paid a visit to Preston Components Ltd to congratulate them on being the 250th sign-up, and to see for himself where the funding will be going.

Councillor Macmillan said: “Boosting the local economy and creating opportunities for young people are two of the biggest priorities of this council.

“We have made a significant investment in this area, despite the challenging financial climate.

“Renfrewshire is home to a wide range of companies and we are determined to create an environment in which they can prosper.

“As Invest in Renfrewshire approaches its first anniversary, we want businesses throughout the area to see how the scheme has benefited others and to be aware of the range of packages available to them.

“I would encourage any businesses which have not already done so to get in touch with our economic development team, who will advise on the support they could offer.”

Preston Components Ltd employs 14 people and provides machining and fabrication services for a number of major local firms, including Rolls Royce, Diageo, Scottish Leather Group and Chivas.

The company was established in 1941, and has been in its current location for 25 years.

Robert Campbell, the firm’s managing director, said: “We are about to invest a six-figure sum in new computer-numerically-controlled machines as part of a major refurbishment of our factory ahead of a new contract with Rolls Royce.

“Having this help from Invest in Renfrewshire will make a huge difference to our future plans.

“The assistance we will be getting with marketing will be a huge help – this will allow us to develop our website, which we have been planning for some time.

“It will also help us take on another apprentice in the near future, which is important for the future growth of the company.”

For more information about how Invest in Renfrewshire could help your business, phone 0300 3000 144, or email

More information is available at

renfrewshire chamber

Inchinnan Business get together a success…

Renfrewshire Chamber recently held an event for Inchinnan based businesses at the European HQ of life science company, Life Technologies.

The event gave companies based in the Inchinnan business park, the opportunity to meet each other, make connections, and learn more about their local chamber and Life Technologies. The group also discussed ways of working together and how to make life for businesses in Inchinnan better including:

renfrewshire chamberSharing catering & gym use
Improving transport links
Improving security
Improving roads / landscaping

Life Technologies were the winners of the 2012 ROCCO Award for Excellence in Manufacturing – and a site tour was provided by Operations Director and Site Leader, Jim Carswell – a Paisley man himself. All attendees were very impressed by the high standard of operation and the warm reception from Jim and the team.

Commenting on the event chamber chief exec’ said “… this was a great 1st meeting. Everyone that said they would attend did – so they understand the value of learning from others and working together. There was a real desire to engage with each other and share ideas and best practice.”

The next event will be in May 2013 (exact date tbc) at Rolls Royce. Any business in Inchinnan Business Park can attend – you don’t need to be a Chamber member. Companies interested should contact

Bob Davidson chief exec’ at Renfrewshire chamber on

In pic – attendees after the tour at Life Technologies

life tech pic

Hiltons Hair & Beauty 

The salon is based in the heart of Paisley city centre, directly above the RBS bank on St Mirren Street (Brae).

Our fully qualified stylists & therapists will do there best to make sure you have a relaxing & enjoyable experience in the salon .

If you have any questions or concerns please pop in to the salon or call & one of your members of staff will only be to happy to help.

Paisley Business

If you run your own business in Paisley then why not advertise on our Blog? This is a one off in the run up to Christmas and we will feature it via our network of websites FREE OF CHARGE! (one off present from

Email with your logo or a photo of the store, your location, what you do or what you sell, any website or contact details and that’s it!

Sarkar Defence Solutions of Hillington has become the 100th local business to sign up to Renfrewshire Council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

The company, which manufactures and exports body armour products, received its certificate at a recent Invest in Renfrewshire business breakfast hosted by Council Leader, Mark Macmillan at Reid Kerr College.
The Invest in Renfrewshire programme encourages Renfrewshire businesses to recruit and train local unemployed young people. In return the council can provide support for the businesses in the form of employment subsidies, training support and business loans and funds to help the businesses grow.

Since the scheme was launched in June, a wide range of businesses have signed up, from new enterprises to established multi-million-pound companies such as Steel Engineering of Renfrew.

Sam Sarkar, Managing Director of Sarkar Defence Solutions, said, “As a business that started up in this area, we’re pleased to be supporting the Invest in Renfrewshire programme. We’ve recently taken on a local graduate intern under the scheme and they will be working on some of our marketing projects over the next seven months. Working with a global company like ours will give them a lot of valuable experience.

“The council’s Invest in Renfrewshire team has been very helpful in helping us with our plans to develop our factory in Hillington.”

Council Leader, Mark Macmillan, said, “It’s great that local businesses like Sarkar Defence Solutions are supporting Invest in Renfrewshire. There are clear benefits for the business and for local young people who are struggling to find work at the moment. I would encourage all local businesses, big and small, to sign up to the programme.”

For more information on the Invest in Renfrewshire programme, go to or call 0300 3000 144.


Picture this: Renfrewshire firm develops “ingenious” new iPhone camera device

An enterprising Renfrewshire company has helped create a new smartphone device that transforms the iPhone into an instant camera.

And the new device has already sparked interest from an Oscar winning actor.

Meso Design, based at Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, designed and manufactured the Popa device on behalf on Manchester based Beep Industries.

The lightweight device simply slots into the base of the iPhone and features a large red button that transforms the smartphone into an instant camera. Popa is due to go on sale at the end of this month and will retail for £49.99. A free app – available from the Apple Apps store – drives the device. Work is currently underway on an Android version. Read more