14 March 2017

Incubator facilities nurture aspiring new starts

_TEPOne of Moray’s leading business centres is inviting new start creative and technology businesses to take advantage of its incubator facilities and dedicated business support in a bid to help them grow and reach their full potential.    

Horizon Scotland – located in Enterprise Park, Forres - has a number of offices available following the recent departure of The Glasgow School of Art, which has moved its Institute of Design Innovation from Horizon Scotland into a new campus on Altyre Estate.

Horizon, which opened in November 2004, is currently home to a number of innovative businesses. The 12,000sqft facility at the 100-acre Enterprise Park Forres is a Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) development and was designed to provide a supportive business environment for new and small businesses, minimising their start up and operating costs with flexibility for them to grow.

Elevator, the North-east’s leading enterprise dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs, business leaders and employees, took over the management and operation of the building last year.

Steven Hutcheon, HIE’s Head of Regional Development in Moray, said the facilities on offer at Horizon Scotland provide the perfect environment in which to ‘incubate’ and grow a business. 

“The aim of Horizon Scotland is to provide a solid foundation for new companies to develop beyond the early stages into well-established enterprises. It offers ambitious, knowledge-driven businesses the opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded tenants and promotes a culture of innovation and creativity. It has been the launch pad for a number of creative and technology based companies, some of which have expanded into other premises on the Park, which is ideal as it keeps the business in the area at the same time as making way for new ventures.

“After spending six years in Horizon Scotland, Glasgow School of Art was prompted to set up a permanent base in the area which is great. The move has also created vacancies in the building and we would urge new or early stage businesses, particularly in the creative or technology sectors, to check it out.”

Edinburgh-based structural engineering company David Narro Associates – which specialises in Architectural Engineering and conservation projects - moved into Horizon Scotland last year after making the decision to expand the business into the Highlands. The team has recently moved into a larger office space following subsequent expansion of the team.

Senior Associate Mark Hepburn said: “The company took the decision to open an office in the Highlands due to the increasing amount of work that was available in the area. We decided on Forres mainly because of the location – the road and rail links are excellent and we are very close to Inverness and Aberdeenshire. 

“The Enterprise Park is a very attractive rural setting, and we very much like the Horizon Scotland building; in fact, it was one of the reasons we decided to move here.  It is an architectural building with exposed woodland structures and is very in keeping the type of structures we are known for designing. The lifestyle in this area is also fantastic, being close to both the hills and beaches.

“The set up at Horizon Scotland is very accommodating for a business like ours. All the facilities are new and state-of-the-art, there is a receptionist, which is very handy, and the café has recently been taken over and upgraded, attracting a lot of outside business to the park.

“Since moving here, we have had more than 200 enquiries and currently secured over 100 projects, including Skibo Estate Golf House, a new distillery on Raasay, The Mansefield House hotel extension in Elgin as well as bespoke houses in Findhorn and Burghead.  We are also working on a project at Brodie Castle, which is being run from our Glasgow office but, being situated in Forres, we are well placed for client meetings and the construction phase of the project.”