His Royal Highness Prince Andrew Duke of York today met business leaders and entrepreneurs from throughout the North and North-east on Thursday, April 28, when he visited Elevator, the UK’s first Centre for Entrepreneurship in Aberdeen.

His Royal Highness, who works to promote economic growth and skilled job creation in the UK, toured our £1million Hub at Bridge of Don, which was set up to help facilitate the start-up and growth of new and existing businesses in Aberdeen city and shire.

DSC 8575During his visit, the Duke of York was introduced to the current cohort of participants of Elevator’s Accelerator Programme, which is for ambitious early-stage business owners and teams seeking to improve their business offering, growth and investment potential at an accelerated rate. 

He also met key representatives of the business community, including Maggie McGinlay of Scottish Enterprise; Pat Machray of Opportunity North East (ONE); Richard Sweetnam, Head of Economic Development, Aberdeen City Council, and Moray Barber, Senior Partner at KPMG.  He also met Business Gateway staff and representatives of The Prince’s Trust Get Into programme, a suite of sector specific employability programmes that help young people aged 16-25 who are not in employment, education or training into work. 

Elevator Deputy Chief Executive Graham Morgan welcomed His Royal Highness to the Centre.

“This is a challenging time for the North East, but it is also a time of opportunities. The entrepreneurial agenda has become even more important to the local economy, indeed to Scotland, and Elevator is very well placed to make a real difference at this time.

“Aberdeen has always had a strong reputation for innovation and has always been strongly entrepreneurial but at this time, perhaps more than ever, the need for diversification, new thinking and creativity is self-evident. The opportunity to share thoughts on all this and to show the positives that underlie the challenges is fantastic.”

DSC 8482Latest figures from Business Gateway Tayside and Business Gateway Aberdeen City and Shire show that the number of new business starts-ups in Grampian and Tayside has risen to its highest on record, breaking all targets and out-performing other regions in the rest of Scotland.

In the past 12 months, Elevator has helped 1,276 people to start their business through Business Gateway services, 27% more than the 1,000 target set for the area.  Of those, 555 (43%) were in Aberdeen city, while 721 (57%) were started in the Shire. The figures show that more than half of those starting a new business (51%) were women, while almost 6% were started by people who had been made redundant from the oil and gas industry.

In Tayside more than 830 new starts were reported for 2015/16, surpassing its target of 800.

The statistics show that Aberdeen and Tayside are bucking the national trend as figures from the Committee of Scottish Bankers show that the number of start-ups across Scotland fell from 11,772 to 11,669 in the year from December 2014 to December 2015.  

The Duke of York carries out official engagements in support of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and works to promote economic growth and skilled job creation in the UK. Formerly the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, his work has a strong economic and business focus, as he seeks to recognise the people and organisations striving to ensure that Britain has the workforce, intellectual property and entrepreneurial culture to remain a global economic leader.

As business becomes more efficient, His Royal Highness The Duke of York believes entrepreneurs will be the growth and job creators of the future, and he therefore supports initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship. He also recognises the importance of innovation in creating new enterprises and is a champion of British Science, Technology and Engineering.

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