Scottish Business Buzz

Scottish Business Buzz (23.05.18)

Written by Michelle Rodger

Social Bite has completed Scotland’s first village for homeless people, after ten months of building and two years of planning.

The Social Bite Village uses vacant land donated by City of Edinburgh Council to provide a communal way of living for 20 people at a time, acting as a stepping stone to permanent accommodation.

The strategy aims to break the cycle of homelessness, giving community members pathways into employment, and offering an alternative to existing forms of temporary accommodation.

In February the Social Enterprise launched the UK’s largest “Housing First” program, which will help rough sleepers into mainstream flats in five cities with a wraparound support. The Village project – combined with the Housing First Program – hopes to help more than 800 homeless people off the streets and temporary accommodation into housing with support over the next 18 months.

Josh Littlejohn MBE, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “I am so thrilled to see the project reach completion and it has only happened due to the support of literally thousands of people and hundreds of organisations. There’s no one-size-fits all solution to homelessness and what we’re doing at the Village is developing a viable alternative to the unsupported, substandard and expensive temporary accommodation models that are prevalent within the homelessness system such as hostels and B&Bs.”

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Scottish employment is at a historic level, with record numbers of people in Scotland employed, the gender gap has narrowed and more young people have jobs, according to latest data.

In 2017, 2,618,100 people were in employment and the employment rate was 74.3%, with both the number and rate being the highest on record.

The Regional Employment Patterns publication, based on the Annual Population Survey 2017 (January to December) revealed that Scotland has also narrowed the gender employment gap and increased youth employment.

The publication says:

  • The gender employment gap – the difference in male and female employment rates – has decreased from 10.6% in 2007 to 6.9% in 2017
  • The employment rate for people aged 16 to 24 increased to 59.4% over the past year
  • the disability employment gap was 35.8%, a decrease from 37.4% in 2016.

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Businesses across Scotland have around £32 billion tied up in working capital, according to new analysis of more than 5,000 UK businesses from Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking.

Working capital is the amount of money that a company ties up in the day-to-day costs of doing business and tends to increase as businesses grow or as efficiency falls.

The fact that the amount of money tied up in things like inventory or unpaid invoices increased by 2 % in the past year could be a positive sign for the Scottish economy.

But tying up too much money in day-to-day costs puts pressure on cash flow and experts fear that the fact that working capital now accounts for 11.4 % of Scottish firms’ revenues could leave many firms ill-prepared to respond to change.

Across the UK, the amount of money tied up in working capital leapt 37 % in the past 12 months to £680 billion. This was caused partly by the fact businesses were growing, but also by the fact firms – and particularly smaller ones – were becoming less efficient at collecting cash from customers.

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Plans to create a gateway to Scotland have been announced by P&O Ferries.

P&O Ferries has announced that it plans to lift capacity on its Zeebrugge-Teesport route by almost 25% in order to created a gateway to Scotland via the north-eastern port

The company currently carries more than 100,000 freight units a year to Teesport from its continental hub at Zeebrugge. The 12 sailings a week service is provided by the 25,000 ton Bore Song and the 10,000 ton Mistral.

Customers will benefit from P&O Ferries’ plans to increase the capacity of its ships combined with the introduction by PD Ports of a new rail service to Mossend in Scotland.

The timetable of both services will be fully integrated so that freight can be moved from one to the other with minimal delay.

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The world’s first crypto currency peer-to-peer (P2P) sports betting platform has been launched in Edinburgh by a team of industry specialists, aimed at disrupting a global online sports betting market now valued at more than $50 billion.

Mungoparc, headquartered in Edinburgh, has developed the first ever Blockchain-powered, P2P betting platform where users can now bet on football games in the Premiership, SPL, La Liga, Champions League and Europa Cup among others with a range of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The launch comes ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Russia and the Mungoparc site is optimised for the growing trend of multi-channel users, particularly those using smartphones which commentators agree will become the dominant channel in the near future, and incorporates functionality popular with fast-growing demographics in online sports betting including millennials who show little regard for more traditional ways of betting.

Founder director Paul Roach said: “We provide our players with an exciting and secure platform on which to challenge other users’ knowledge of sport but with a big difference – on the world’s first Blockchain-powered, peer-to-peer betting exchange.  We are positioned for a new, younger type of sports better and one who wants a gaming experience to be part of the offering.”

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About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.

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