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CASE Reveals Year-End Results

12th June 2003

Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) has published its year-end results, following the release of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Network's results this morning.

CASE performed well in all of the Network's themes of Strengthening Communities, Developing Skills, Making Global Connections and Growing Businesses.

During the year 2002-03, CASE helped create 43 new businesses through the HIE-Starts programme and supported the creation or retention of more than 207 jobs. The development agency also assisted 26 businesses to develop their e-commerce activity and 32 north businesses received support to engage in research and innovation projects.

Particular highlights included investment by CASE and the private sector in the development of the Forss Business and Technology Park and the investment of over 1million in the construction of advance offices in Golspie and Wick aimed at attracting potential inward investors to the area. There was also success for the Engineering Consortium (comprising CASE, Subsea 7, JGC Engineering & Technical Services and D Gow & Sons) at the National Training Awards.

Developing the skills continues to be a priority for CASE with Skillseekers and Modern Apprentices continuing to perform well. A total of 73 Vocational Qualifications were achieved through the Skillseekers and Training for Work programmes and 337 young people took part in Modern Apprenticeships.

CASE achieved particular success in its Strengthening Communities remit. The development agency supported the enhancement of 25 community facilities; more doubling last year's efforts. CASE also helped to create 10 new jobs in community businesses and supported 10 cultural or arts events in the county. Chief executive of CASE, Carroll Buxton said: "Despite obvious disappointments, such as Grampian Records in Wick and Hunters of Brora, CASE has continued to assist the growth of the far north economy through both large investments such as the Scrabster Seafood Development and smaller business start ups such as a pony carriage trekking service in Lairg and a textile designer in Tongue.

"One of the key priorities for the coming year will continue to be tackling economic disparities across the area and encouraging development in more fragile parts of the two counties.

"We have a diverse economic base within Caithness and Sutherland which offers opportunities in a wide range of sectors and CASE will continue to help both existing and new businesses capitalise on these."

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