Scottish Enterprise Awards 2023

SME News | Scottish Enterprise Awards 2023 | 6 Rapidly approaching 35 years of operation, BRAG Enterprises was formed in 1989 with one core purpose in mind – to encourage the regeneration of communities in Benarty through the creation and support of sustainable employment and training. Now hailed as a first within Scotland, its charitable nature hasn’t gone unnoticed. Though it may have over three decades under its belt, BRAG Enterprises has maintained its outlook, and now boasts a wide variety of initiatives for those looking for local employment. Join us as we take a peek into its history, and how it has supported individuals throughout the region. BRAG – Benarty Regeneration Action Group – Enterprises is a nonprofit organisation that has spent almost 35 years tirelessly working to improve the lives of those within the local area. Trading as one of Scotland’s first social enterprises, with charity registration to its name, it has adapted over time to become the collective that we see today. Though not much has changed in terms of its primary goal, it has managed to grow its range of services, whilst also extending its reach across Fife. Now, BRAG Enterprises boasts over 42 members of staff, and an additional 20 volunteers, each prepared to give their all for the sake of empowerment within the employability and regeneration field. Having been born from the debilitating social and economic impact of local pit closures all the way back in the late 1980s, BRAG Enterprises took it upon itself to convert two of its owned buildings into a community enterprise space. Within this space, it invited trading as community enterprise centres, whilst guaranteeing an easy transition either in or out of terms for businesses. As a result, BRAG Enterprises managed to reintroduce an accessible means for those facing unemployment to rediscover a source of income, with its centres often being sought after by startups in need of an uplifting boost. Though, at first, BRAG Enterprises’ centres were predominantly coveted by businesses starting out, they now have occupants who have been on the site for over three decades. This lends to the overall community feel that BRAG Enterprises has managed to cultivate throughout the years. Many praise it for this quality – its centres promote an unrivalled sense of togetherness. Despite this being the initial intention, BRAG Enterprises is still incredibly proud of its ability to establish a place in which businesses and individuals truly feel welcome. However, its community enterprise spaces aren’t all that BRAG Enterprises has to offer. On the contrary, its wide range of initiatives perfectly compliments its venture to empower as many people as possible. Encompassing employability, business, support, retraining, and recruitment initiatives, BRAG Enterprises assists in identifying how to best hone a collective’s strongest skills. It’s particular focus, however, is delivering to areas of high deprivation, often referred to as SIMD sites – Scottish Indices of Multiple Deprivation. Essentially, these sites have been distinguished as ones that require additional support in multiple veins, and BRAG Enterprises has committed itself to delivering said assistance. Through the surplus income from its business spaces, it’s able to complement existing employability funding from both local and national governments, all whilst earning the favour of independent trusts and commercial contracts from which BRAG Enterprises receives support. One of its most notable accomplishments in this branch is its Fife Employability and Training Consortium project. In this initiative, BRAG Enterprises played a crucial role in gathering together the capabilities of seven third sector specialists in order to help individuals return to work as part of the Scottish Government’s No One Left Behind initiative. Through this project, BRAG Enterprises managed to demonstrate an unrestrained compassion for its fellow person, and granted individuals the opportunity to thrive, despite difficulties. It didn’t let distance dissuade it, and instead went the extra mile to secure assistance for the ones who needed it most. Despite working in tandem with a government initiative, BRAG Enterprises applied its own personal touch – uniting communities with the intention of supplying aid to any who were struggling to get back into employment. However, BRAG Enterprises has even more to offer. One such programme that it proudly runs is its Bright Futures employability provision. Targeted towards 19-24 year olds across Fife, namely those affected by adverse childhood experiences, it provides access to a vast array of engaging provisions. In turn, it actively supports them on their journey towards sustainable employment, with most eventually gaining the necessary tools to find their lifelong career path. Accessible to all, and focused on a vital point in any young person’s life, BRAG Enterprises works in tandem with the goals and aspirations of each individual to help them reach the happiness that they’ve been striving for. Over the last year alone, it has already successfully seen 61 young people move into sustainable employment. Most Empowering Employability & Regeneration NPO 2023