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March 12, 2008

Opportunity Kintyre

A group from Kintyre has been working with US based, Sirolli Institute to kick start the area’s local economic regeneration. Sirolli promotes a particular approach called Enterprise Facilitation which has had great success in communities across the States, Australia and in many parts of the UK


About Opportunity Kintyre
Opportunity Kintyre is a community based organisation committed to positively influencing the regeneration of the local economy in Kintyre for the benefit of both its residents and visitors. It hopes to achieve this through adherence to the Sirolli model of economic development and a process of Enterprise Facilitation®.

Based upon the work of Dr. Ernesto Sirolli, Opportunity Kintyre is about harnessing the resources and passion of the people of Kintyre in order to assist the creation and growth of new and existing businesses.
This model is truly ‘community based’ working ‘from the bottom upwards’. It focuses upon grass roots economic development relevant to the local community, and is based upon assisting individuals or established businesses to follow their instincts, sticking to what they know best and really enjoy, whilst gaining management support in the areas of business that they are less familiar with or enjoy least.

In many parts of the world, in many different communities, Enterprise Facilitation® has freed entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, build successful teams and carry on doing what they love to do – we hope that individuals from Kintyre will be tempted to do the same.

How It All Started
In September 2005, a small group of people from Kintyre headed for Glasgow, to meet and hear Ernesto Siroll.
We had heard that the Scottish Executive was looking for 3 communities to pilot a local economic regeneration project using Sirolli methods. On arrival, we noticed that most of the other delegates were from the public sector. The Sirolli Team seemed particularly impressed by Kintyre and the fact that representatives from a real community had attended. Ernesto himself advised our group that Kintyre was ideal in terms of size and location for this type of project.

Inspired by what we had heard, and the success of the Sirolli method in other communities like ours, we returned to Kintyre with a determination to submit a very competitive bid.

We formed a local Steering Group, made up of representatives from the Community Councils and other local people with an interest in Kintyre, and held several informal meetings at which we discussed the way forward and the substance of our bid. The name ‘Opportunity Kintyre’ was chosen as being the most appropriate. The wider community proved very supportive – in addition to the funding from Scottish Executive, we raised £50,000 by way of pledges of cash or in-kind support and submitted our bid by the deadline.

In February 2006 we heard that we had been successful.
In its first year of operation, Opportunity Kintyre has supported 55 local entrepreneurs and social enterprises to create and sustain local businesses in Kintyre. They have done this by providing a unique mix of one-to-one mentoring and the provision of relevant resources from a volunteer Community Panel and associated networks.

They have been successful in assisting in the creation of 5 new businesses, 1 business acquisition and 1 business retention. This has achieved the creation and retention of 9 jobs in Kintyre so far, and a contribution to the community (in terms of capital investment, sales and social capital) in excess of £266,000.

In 2008, Opportunity Kintyre will continue its valuable work at the heart of the Kintyre community – its clients have conservatively estimated further capital investments/sales in excess of £500,000 this year.