SBRC - An unexpected side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the cooperation and sense of camaraderie among many communities.
While stories of individuals helping vulnerable neighbours are well-known, less discussed is the sense of solidarity that has arisen among the Scottish business community.
A goodwill collective, Scottish Business Cares (SBC), has been formed to help maintain this unity throughout and after the pandemic. Delivered by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) in partnership with the Scottish Government, with support from Par Equity, Taranata Group, Droman Solutions, and Clark Communications, SBC will provide guidance around the practical, financial, and legal issues businesses are facing as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Jude McCorry, SBC Board Member and CEO of SBRC, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the groundswell of support in the Scottish business community, and we don’t want to lose this feeling of unity once lockdown restrictions ease. Since the pandemic began, we have hosted approximately 30 webinars to help companies in Scotland share information and learn from each other’s expertise.
"Inspired by the feedback from participants, we have created SBC to work with businesses through the pandemic and beyond to provide support where it’s needed.”
Paul Atkinson, SBC Chair and Partner at Par Equity, added: “Business leaders in Scotland have been faced with a challenge like never before and to tackle that we must work together. Scottish Business Cares is about sharing information and the experiences of companies throughout Scotland, from the Borders to the Highlands and Islands. As we have all experienced, the needs of businesses have changed very quickly over the last few weeks and will do so again.
"As an informal but informed group, we can be agile, getting information to businesses as early as possible. This could make all the difference in their survival.
“Above all we want to ensure that no Scottish business fails because of lack of knowledge or support so that we can emerge from this crisis the same vibrant business community we were earlier this year.”
SBRC’s webinars will continue under the SBC banner and form the base of SBC’s guidance, alongside other initiatives. Previous attendees have described them as “the most relevant and informative webinar out there,” noting the content and presenters are “excellent [and] really worthwhile.”
To further aid Scottish businesses, SBC is developing an app, expected to be available in late June. It will have a range of functions including an assessment tool for organisations to review and support resilience planning, and notifications and advice on resilience issues specifically relevant to the user’s sector, size, and region.
Data from the app will contribute to reports to Scottish Government about business confidence and support needs, to aid in the development of plans for further government support.
The app will also be a gateway into a 1-2-1 mentoring service for organisations across Scotland who need immediate support in overcoming challenges brought on by Covid-19. Each participant will get a total of 7 hours of mentoring from a business leader with knowledge and experience relevant to their specific situation, with the aim of adapting their business in light of the pandemic and ensure continued success.
The mentoring programme will launch initially in June with 50 SMEs who have previously participated in SBRC’s webinars and grow based on demand and funding availability. Potential mentees are invited to join a webinar on 15 June at 10am for more information.
The Scottish Business Cares Advisory Board includes Paul Atkinson (Par Equity), Jude McCorry (SBRC), Graeme Gordon (IFB), Lyn Calder (AAB), Belinda Roberts (WeDO Scotland), Paddy Tomkins (Droman Solutions), Simone Lockhart (Taranata Group) and Alistair Forbes.