Harper Macleod appointed to help Glasgow SMEs scale up as part of innovative City Council framework

Leading law firm Harper Macleod has been appointed to help Glasgow's SMEs scale up over the next three years as part of an innovative new scheme by Glasgow City Council (GCC).

The firm's corporate and commercial specialists will deliver business structure consultancy as part of a comprehensive business growth framework of support services being delivered by the Council, in partnership with a number of advisers.

Harper Macleod will be advising growth businesses on structuring, board development, franchising, governance, valuation and succession planning under Lot 2 (Structure) of the framework, which is anticipated to support over 1,200 SMEs across all sectors. The law firm is one of six main providers appointed under the framework.

The firm will provide group interaction masterclasses on a number of different business structuring topics as well as one to one 'interventions' where tailored consultancy services will be provided directly to those SMEs.

Paula Skinner, Lead Partner of the Harper Macleod team which will deliver the services, said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to the framework and look forward to working with many more of the area's SMEs. We're a business which grew in Glasgow and know the challenges that face those scaling up their business in the city.

"Rather than simply providing grants, this project will direct businesses to the professional advice they need and will significantly increase the assistance available to accelerate the growth of SMEs in the region. In Scotland as a whole, the focus is now on how to help our businesses achieve sustainable scale and reach their full potential. We need everyone working together to support the potential for growth at every stage of a business' journey, which in turn should benefit the wider economy.

"Helping businesses to scale is in our DNA and we believe that this is a really forward thinking move by Glasgow City Council, to adopt this new model of supporting businesses. It's a model we believe can be successful and it something that other authorities around the country will be watching with interest."

Glasgow City Council launched the scheme as part of its strategy to make Glasgow the most business friendly city in the country and the most productive major city economy in the UK, through innovation and supporting enterprise. The focus has moved from start up to sustainability, focusing on high quality advice and rather than short-term grant funding.

The scheme, a central part of Glasgow City Council's Economic Strategy, utilises funding from the Glasgow City Region City Deal (GCRCD), European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) and The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The strategy will also see growing businesses supported in the new high-growth innovation hub at the Tontine Building at Glasgow Cross, at the heart of the City Centre Innovation District

The other main suppliers appointed under the framework are: Matrix Business Growth Consultants (Lot 1 – Growth), Connect Three Solutions (Lot 3 – Skills and Resources), Martin Aitken & Co (Lot 4 - Finance), ID Resilience (Lot 5 - Resilience), Targeting Innovation Ltd (Lot 6 - Digital Innovation)

Martin Aitken & Co’s Business Advisory team, led by Euan Ferries, will be providing SME owner-managers with guidance on how to develop and hone their financial management skills, as well as helping them to get the business ready for external investment to facilitate growth.

Euan Ferries, Corporate Advisory Manager, Martin Aitken & Co commented, “We were delighted to be appointed by Glasgow City Council to provide financial consultancy services.

“Getting a business ready for investment in terms of what a potential funder will look for, advising on the different types of funding available to Glasgow’s SMEs – equity, debt, grants and peer-to-peer lending/crowdfunding, and establishing the regular rhythm of management reporting in the business, are amongst the key areas we will be advising on.

“A lack of financial management skills has been identified as an area where SMEs can often be held back as the expertise and knowledge required to take the business to the next level is not present in the business. It’s our job to help the SMEs who approach GCC for support to bridge the knowledge gap and to lower the perceived barriers to securing external investment.

“Funding is available to those SMEs that have a good business plan, a clearly articulated proposition, supported by robust financial projections, and a management team equipped with the commercial and financial nous required to generate the return the directors of the business and the investors are seeking."