A free service is giving Borders businesses access to the brightest minds in the land, to help their companies evolve and grow.
Borders businesses are seizing a ground breaking opportunity to build a bright future by connecting with the smartest talent in the land.
They are developing fresh ideas and exploring new opportunities after tapping into skill, knowledge and ‘out of the box’ thinking from the cream of Scottish universities, research centres and institutes.
Innovation, development, growth, cost-cutting – businesses are experiencing a myriad of advantages by collaborating with Interface, a free, impartial service which opens the door to the country’s 23 higher education and research institutes.
Launched in 2005, the service has introduced more than 2700 businesses across the country to new academic partners, whose skills have helped them grow, innovate and even trim costs.
Among the Borders firms to benefit is Kelso-based water treatment specialists Scotmas. The company used Interface’s links with leading higher education talent to help them develop new areas of business and fresh markets.
Alistair Cameron, Managing Director of Scotmas said: “Interface's brokerage service has helped us to develop fundamental partnerships with several academic institutions over the years.
“This has enabled us to differentiate our products and as a result, be more competitive internationally having a direct effect on overseas sales and increased exports.
“Over the next few years we expect to increase our turnover and expand the team by employing more staff. Most of this growth is anticipated to come from innovation-led projects, facilitated by the multi-disciplinary approach of Interface as well as subsequent collaborations that have occurred as a result of that initial relationship.”
Interface’s research has shown that 97 per cent of businesses believe their project would either not have happened or taken longer without their support, while 83 per cent had reduced operating costs, increased productivity, profits, export, turnover and new or safeguarded employment.
As well as forging academic links, business can access specialist facilities such as 3D printers, microscopy, human performance labs, wave tanks, virtual reality and textile printing.
It’s a success story that’s likely to be repeated across a wide range of local businesses, following a seminar earlier this month involving Interface, Scottish Borders Chamber, Heriot-Watt University, Borders College and Scottish Enterprise.
Shelley Breckenridge, Interface Business Engagement Manager covering the Borders, says: “Borders businesses can benefit in many ways by collaborating with academic expertise, for example increasing turnover, saving time and resource through improving processes, safeguarding and creating jobs and successfully entering new markets as a result of improved or new products.
“We work with businesses and organisations large and small in all sectors, finding them an academic match who can help them create new products, services and processes.”
For more information, visit www.interface-online.org.uk