Scottish Enterprise Awards 2020

14 | Scottish Enterprise Awards 2020 Nov20366 Best Local Enterprise Development NPO 2020 Create is an independent local enterprise organisation developing businesses and skills for people in south east Edinburgh. Recently, we profiled Create and caught up with Sharron Stanton to find out more about the company and how they earned the accolade Best Local Enterprise Development NPO 2020 in SME News Scottish Enterprise Awards 2020. Established in 1990, Create aim to build on its reputation as a trusted and responsible provider of flexible business property solutions by opening up sites to new and established businesses in Edinburgh and beyond. To begin, Sharron provides a brief overview of the firm, as well as touching on the diverse client base Create has accumulated throughout the years. “Create has been operating as a social enterprise in the Craigmillar area of the city for 30 years and has Local Enterprise Trust status. The income achieved from property rentals allow Create to invest in and support projects which meet our wider business objectives. Currently, we have 62 properties containing a 50% ownership and businesses are employing more than 700 people. “Naturally, our aim is to stimulate economic activity, which is achieved by the provision of affordable commercial properties and workspace to enable businesses to start up or locate to the area and contribute to the local economy. Typically, tenants are small to medium sized businesses working in the antiques, catering, crafts, flooring, homecare, landscaping, and photography industries amongst others. All clients can expect us to provide affordable office space and a dedicated business support service. Based upon our core values of innovation, integrity, and diversity, we are committed to encouraging the formation and development of small businesses and the development of people’s skills.” Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, the demand for office space is increasing and as Sharron goes on to explain, this has presented opportunities to the firm from which it has been able to thrive from during the pandemic. “Create’s unique selling point is investing in its tenants through offering affordable office space and launching a business club to enable B2B trade. In addition, we have developed an affiliate scheme for tenants and started to offer a unique marketing initiative through our website and social media platforms. Aiming to build a business community within our properties, we can offer a safe and flexible working environment for our tenants and their staff. With short term leases starting at one month on a rolling contract, this also enables start-up businesses to take the next step to grow their business and to fulfil their ambitions.” Much of the firm’s success can be attributed to teamwork and the knowledge each employee boasts. Moreover, as Sharron points out, these are two values the firm typically look for when recruiting new talent. “Anyone joining Create must have experience and knowledge of the SME property market and an understanding of a social enterprise company and its governance. In addition, an open and positive approach to self-development and a willingness to take on new challenges amongst a team is very important.” The outbreak of COVID-19 has certainly changed the way businesses are now operating, but as Sharron highlights, in spite of the pandemic the firm can still aid businesses moving forward with the offering of flexible office space. “COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the way that businesses function. The future will more likely see a rise in business owners having a mixture of home working and office based. Businesses recognise that their sustainability is in part built on the contact and relationship building that an office space can provide so our services should still be in demand in the future.” Finally, Sharron discusses the benefits of the firm’s location before outlining some of its plans for 2021 and beyond. “Scotland is not only a country with beautiful countryside and scenery, but also one steeped in history and culture which attracts businesses from around the globe. Part of the Scottish Government’s aim is to make Scotland the number one destination in the world to do business, and by offering access to finance, incentives, and opportunities for businesses the potential is there. “Looking ahead our aim is to continue with our focus on growth and development principally through property ownership and management services, and to continue adhering to the ethos of the Enterprise Trust. Furthermore, we want to support individuals in becoming self-employed and to be recognised as a premier affordable property brand in the commercial market for pre- starts and SME’s in Edinburgh.” Company: Create Opportunities Limited Contact: Sharron Stanton Website: