Innovation Exchange

Team North Ayrshire


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


The ‘Team North Ayrshire’ approach has been developed with private sector members of North Ayrshires Economic Development and Regeneration Board (EDR).  This ground-breaking initiative was launched in November 2013 and is helping North Ayrshire businesses expand and create jobs.  Growth in the business base underpins the EDR Strategy and is imperative for a prosperous North Ayrshire.


Partners in the approach include: North Ayrshire Council, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Skills Development Scotland, Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce, Ayrshire College, Third Sector Interface, Irvine Bay Regeneration Company as  well as a number of private sector businesses and professionals.


It was identified that traditional programme delivery methods of business support were not effective with many companies unsure of where to source information and support due to a diverse and confusing landscape resulting in businesses not accessing the resources they require.


Team North Ayrshire – was developed with three main goals, all aimed at creating much-needed jobs in North Ayrshire:


• To help local companies grow their business

• To encourage more start-up businesses

• To entice other companies to locate and invest in the area


The Team North Ayrshire Approach is a collaboration of public and private sector support providers whose key role is to lead the development of the support provision for business and help in the creation of the best support for business in Scotland.


The recommendations provided the catalyst for change towards a more proactive relationship model with more flexibility of support for NAC and created a partnership with support providers with ambition to deliver more locally than ever before.


This model of support and collaboration was recently quoted within the Scottish Governments Economic Strategy as an exemplar of business support and has led to other Local Authorities adopting similar frameworks.

Theme: Partnership and Collaboration

north ayrshire council logo

NAC implemented an Account Managed approach for businesses with growth potential and the recruitment of 5 business growth managers tasked with creating bespoke growth plans was completed in November 2014.: 150 growth potential businesses were identified and an aspiration set that 450 jobs would be created over 3 years.


Team North Ayrshire partners formed a steering group to help support the development of the offer and the delivery of aspirations. This has led to individual commitments from each partner that is significantly more than ever delivered in north Ayrshire.


The desire to do more in North Ayrshire has led to a number of key aims including :

  • Double the Scottish Enterprise Account Managed businesses over three years
  • Increase consumption of Scottish Enterprise products by 30% year-on-year
  • Increase number of North Ayrshire Council Account Managed businesses by 20% year-on-year
  • Increase start-ups in North Ayrshire by 15% year-on-year
  • Increase the number of businesses within the Business Gateway growth programme to 25
  • Increase memberships of Ayrshire Chambers of Commerce
  • Support the NAC International Strategy



The TNA approach to support the growth of local businesses has already seen early signs of success and the wider engagement seen has helped identify and develop the future required provision, notably international and innovation services.


  • Innovation: Scottish Enterprise has supported this work through a pilot to widen the take up of innovation related products by NAC growth related businesses. This has proven to be extremely successful with a number of joint events delivered and referrals for 80+ businesses accessing SE Innovation Services. This has led SE to roll out the model nationally and helped inform the requirements for NAC Innovation support.


  • Scottish Development International and Irvine Bay have also supported the development of the International Strategy particularly through Inward Investment activities. The strategy looks to attract key businesses to the area and also increase support for businesses to export. This partnership approach again has helped NAC define its offer.


The continued focus of the TNA partnership and desire to create Scotland’s best support for business has identified areas of further development and the partnership will look to further enhance support provision in the following areas:


  • Mentoring  Lead: Chamber: Development of the mentoring offer to allow every business in North Ayrshire access to a mentor if beneficial to business growth plan
  • International Lead: NAC/ IBRC/ SDI: Development of the offer for inward investment and exporting activities
  • Innovation Lead NAC/ SE: Increase provision to support innovation in business: building on recent SE/ NAC pilot
  • Skills and Education Lead: Ayrshire College: Alignment of offer for business support/ engagement
  • Communications Lead : NAC: Development and delivery of TNA messages
  • Insights Lead : SE: Supporting business  intelligence in North Ayrshire

The impact of the approach has seen business accessing more support than historically seen and the proactive focus on growth potential companies has seen a significant uplift in business engagement and job creation.


 Since January 2015, there has been a significant uplift in impact and outcomes being achieved.


  • Over 400 businesses supported
  • Circa 200 companies accessing account management support
  • 350 jobs created
  • Over 500 TNA business support interventions
  • Scottish Enterprise (SE) account managed businesses increased from 38 to 48, a 27% increase
  • Business Gateway ‘Growth Pipeline’ companies have doubled
  • Over 80 companies referred for SE Innovation Product Support
  • 15 businesses referred for Ayrshire Chamber membership
  • 18 businesses referred for mentoring support through Ayrshire Chamber
  • £1.27m Regional Selective Assistance awarded to local business
  • £400k of Council grant support awarded
  • £210k of loan support provided
  • 53 companies accessed specialist consultancy support
  • 53 companies referred to Skills Development Scotland for workforce development support
  • As of Oct 1st 2015, Business Gateway has been brought in house to help develop the early stage growth offer.

Traditional methods of public sector support have been seen to be less effective. Collaboration is the key to success and the ability to develop unique business led support mechanisms has shown to be more valuable to business that centrally led programme engagement.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Matt Strachan

Business Growth Manager

North Ayrshire Council

01294 324926

Case study added to site: June 2016

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