Dive venture goes swimmingly

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Although they have only been running their own business for a year, the experience has been so good for Isle of Mull couple Helen Dewar and Murdo Smith that they’re now planning further expansion.

Experienced diver Murdo decided he wanted to establish his own enterprise that employed local people and supported community projects. With help from Argyll and Bute Council’s Business Gateway, MDive was set up. A year on it has two dedicated dive teams, has been awarded a prestigious industry accreditation has received a grant from The Noble Trust at Loch Fyne, and is continually increasing its customer base.

MDive’s first contract was with Scottish Sea Farms, which advised on the appropriate health and safety regulations and legal requirements that would have to be met. Once these were met, MDive began trading last December and Helen and Murdo haven’t looked back.

Helen said: “Murdo has worked with dive teams in the fish-farm industry for years and also has commercial and offshore diving experience and a fish-farming background. He has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of what makes a good, efficient and safe diving company so, when the opportunity first presented itself, it was logical for us to set up our own business using Murdo’s expertise as its main selling point.

“I was working for VisitScotland but by March I began working at MDive full-time concentrating on growth and development of the company and our staff. We are happy with our two teams of three divers and a tender but are now in a position to create a third team to cope with demand.

“Setting up MDive was always the right decision for us, but we had no idea we would have achieved all this in less than a year – not only expanding the team, but achieving the ISO certification so quickly and winning top contracts. We believe we are in the position we are in because of our outstanding customer service, the expertise that Murdo has and the hard work and commitment from everyone at MDive.”

Helen and Murdo approached their local Business Gateway office and accessed a range of support, in particular, attending business workshops and one-to-one advice from a business adviser.

Helen said: “Business Gateway have been fantastic from providing free courses to helping us find out about possible funding avenues. Our adviser Angela has made everything so easy and straightforward for us and is always genuinely pleased with how we are doing. We call her our Fairy Godmother for all the help she has given us including arranging for us to be mentored.”

Angela Vernel, of Business Gateway, said: “The progress MDive has made in under a year is extremely impressive and is credit to the expertise and hard work of Helen and Murdo. As well as taking advantage of our free workshops, MDive has benefited from a Business Gateway Plus Growth grant which will help with expansion costs and contribute to future growth and development.”

Contact Business Gateway on 01546 604 555 or visit www.bgateway.com

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