Gigabit City

Stirling fast becoming a world-leading Gigabit City thanks to CityFibre and Vodafone

Stirling fast becoming a world-leading Gigabit City thanks to CityFibre and Vodafone

Stirling will become CityFibre’s first completed Gigabit City by mid-2020.

Stirling is on track to become a world-leading Gigabit City providing a full-fibre network to nearly every home and business by summer 2020. CityFibre has completed more than half of its build programme to install full-fibre directly to households and business premises across the City of Stirling and Bridge of Allan.

More residents and local businesses than ever before will be able to benefit from a significantly superior internet experience through the use of Vodafone Gigafast Broadband. By using faster and more reliable fibre-optic cables, installed by CityFibre, at every stage of a connection instead of traditional telephone lines, Vodafone Gigafast Broadband gives users download speeds 20 times faster and upload speeds 150 times faster than the average fixed broadband service in the UK.

Customers can choose from three Vodafone Gigafast Broadband packages: 100, 500 or 900Mbps, with prices starting at £28 per month. At these speeds, the whole family can simultaneously stream their favourite film, play online games or upload videos and photos across multiple devices with no lag, buffering or dropout

The Stirling Gigabit City project forms part of CityFibre’s £2.5bn Gigabit City investment programme to bring full-fibre to five million homes and businesses by 2025. Stirling City Council is using CityFibre’s network to connect key public sites such as schools, libraries, and community venues. It will also serve as a backbone for the future deployment of 5G and a host of Internet of Things and Smart City applications.

The full fibre network rollout started in November 2018 and has now reached Cambusbarron, Broomridge, Bannockburn, Braehead, and Raploch. People living and working in Bridge of Allan, Riverside, Torbrex, and St Ninians are next in line to benefit from this new network and can register their interest for Vodafone Gigafast Broadband at

CityFibre has been working closely with Stirling Council to engage the local community and minimise disruption. CityFibre’s team have visited over 11,000 properties to provide information on the project and detailed conversations with nearly 5,000 residents about the benefits full fibre.

Bruce Crawford, Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Stirling Constituency, commented: “It’s great to see the progress that is being made across the city area, and I’m excited about what this means for my constituents. Already, people are connected to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK, which is excellent news for households here. I look forward to the next stages of this rollout, and to even more people getting connected to full fibre broadband.”

Councillor Scott Farmer, Leader of Stirling Council, said: “We are proud Stirling is well on its way to becoming the nation’s first completed Gigabit City project and believe it is the start of a huge digital opportunity for businesses and residents in the area. This forward-thinking approach and strategic partnership with CityFibre and Vodafone ensures’ we are securing the critical digital infrastructure we need today, as well as helping to safeguard the digital future of our residents and businesses.

Neil Blagden, Director of Digital & Commercial Operations at Vodafone UK, added: “At speeds of up to 900 Mbps, Vodafone Gigafast Broadband is ideal for hi-tech businesses, connected classrooms and buffer-free households. It will boost the local economy and improve people’s lives. Every family member or employee can get online at the same time, with no delays. We look forward to bringing the service to more people across the city.”

Elaine Doherty, CityFibre’s City Manager for Stirling, said: “This is superb news for the residents and businesses of Stirling. People are enjoying greater reliability and speeds, while local businesses are being given the opportunity to use a world-class network, providing them with a huge advantage against competing businesses both nationally and around the globe. We are exceptionally pleased with the progress so far and look forward to Stirling becoming our first completed Gigabit City next summer.

Issue 13_Page_26

The Stirling Dinner’

The Stirling Dinner’

A Celebration of 900 Years of the Guildry of Stirling.

The Merchant Guildry of Stirling, celebrating its 900th year, will host the inaugural Stirling Dinner on 25 September 2019 in the presence of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, Honorary Guild Brother.

The black tie dinner at Stirling Castle will celebrate the commercial and cultural contributions and many successes of the city, and the people woven into its rich historical tapestry – past and present.

Alasdair Gammack, Dean of The Merchant Guildry of Stirling, said: “We look forward to bringing sons, daughters and friends of Stirling from around the city and the world to join us for good food and chat in this historic setting! Whether you were born here, live here, work here or study here, you have the shared experience of being part of this exceptional city. Stirling is the historic beating heart of Scotland and it is a special place to live and work. We are surrounded by stunning scenery, immersed in a rich history and steeped in culture. Research shows that Stirling is the best city in Scotland to start a new business, so it is still a pivotal location for ‘merchants’ and remains a thriving hub of commerce.

“The Stirling Dinner celebrates Stirling.  Scotland’s oldest Guildry has been there every step of the way for 900 years and to mark this landmark anniversary we are hosting this wonderful celebration of the burgh of Stirling – one of which we are greatly proud to play our part. We are delighted that The Princess Royal will join us.  It will be a very special evening in the history of our city and we look forward to welcoming all who want to join us in this celebration.”

Guests will be welcomed by the award-winning Queen Victoria School Pipe Band and enjoy a drinks reception with a performance from former Stirling Makar, Clive Wright, before sitting down to a three course meal in the Great Hall.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to local charities. The Merchant’s Guildry of Stirling is the oldest in Scotland and was established 900 years ago to protect trade within the historic burgh.

With the establishment of town councils across Scotland in 1833 the Guildry lost its power making decisions over the running of the burgh. Today it exists as a charity to safeguard and promote the historical traditions of the Guildry and the city of Stirling and its surrounding area, and it has developed a role as the natural forum for Stirling’s benefactors.

For further information email

Issue 13_Page_24

Come taste our chocolates…

Come taste our chocolates…

…at our opening event at Unit 45 on Thursday 19th September 2019.

…at our opening event at Unit 45 on Thursday 19th September 2019.  

You are invited to hear about our work as we help break the cycle of re-offending by supporting women in the criminal justice system through the making and selling of delicious chocolates. 

There is lots going on with plenty chocolates to taste, we want to hear your feedback on our new ranges and remember to collect your discount code too. Pop in anytime between 12 pm and 3.30pm. 

For more information on grace, chocolates visit

Issue 13_Page_23

New ILM Accredited coaching Service

New ILM Accredited coaching Service

Over the last two years, we have carried out business surveys asking Stirling companies about their business and how STEP can support them.

Recurring themes have included:

Taking a break:
Small business owners are not spending enough time thinking about where their business is going with 55% having no three or five-year plan.

Bouncing boards:
45% of businesses in Stirling are sole traders. They have no one to bounce their ideas off, to reassure them they are on the right track or to stop them from heading in the wrong direction.

Making marginal gains:
Sometimes it’s the small stuff that makes a difference but 20% of SME’s can’t find the time to get even the smallest of things done.  
75% of these businesses feel a mentor or business coach would be beneficial and help solve these problems. 
With this in mind and the ILM latest research detailing that 84% of employees say coaching should be part of every company’s management and development programme, we have decided to become an ILM accredited training centre. 

We are now offering two coaching services: 

Executive Business Coaching for Directors and Senior Business Leaders

Our range of group and one-to-one business coaching solutions focus on all aspects of personal growth, business strategy, leadership and are bespoke to your needs.

Find out more at 

Level 5 & 7 Coaching Courses

Our courses are designed to help team leaders, first-line managers, managers with coaching and mentoring responsibilities, senior leaders and HR/OD professionals by giving them an accredited qualification. 

Find out more

Issue 13_Page_20

Becoming your own boss

Becoming your own boss

Have you always dreamt about starting your own business? You might think starting a company is hard work– and you’d be right—but if you find becoming your own boss a thought lingering day and night, Business Gateway might be the missing piece you need. Regardless of your circumstance, here are some steps to becoming your own boss.


The first step to becoming your own boss is to look into your finances. Is this something you can afford to do full time and leave your current job? How much does your company have to make to cover your expenses and keep the business operating? Is this something you will start off part-time and build up to full time? Knowing your figures will help you make these decision and tell you if and when your business will be financially viable.

Money is necessary for starting your business and to keep it going until your customers pay you. You will need to cover your personal expenses until the business can support you.

There are many different funding options for start-ups. Creative thinking and planning your cashflow might save you money and make it less costly than you may think to start your own business.


Running and operating your own business is not always about having the money to do it. It takes a certain character. Do you easily upset, panic and crack under pressure? Being your own boss can be hard it takes a strong head and tough skin.

Do you have a personal support system you can rely on and a business minded person to bounce your ideas off? Remember it will be just you for a while. People often don’t realise how lonely having your own business can be, and having a good family and friendship support system can make a difference. 

Are you organised and able to spin a lot of plates at once? If this is a no, then maybe running your own business isn’t for you. You will need to be head of HR, Marketing, IT, Finance, Manufacturing, Customer Service and more.


If you’re thinking about starting a business you will most likely have an idea of what you are going to do.  Great, but you need to be specific. You’re going to be a business consultant—but what do you specialise in? You’re going to start a clothing line—but what makes you different from the rest? Finding your niche from the outset will make planning further down the line easier.


Even if it’s just a shoestring idea, you’ll need a plan. You might start testing your designs, or selling your services a little but having a plan in place will help control your spend and keep things on track, especially if your idea takes off rapidly. Be sure to allow room for flexibility—you may not know the price of things yet but having a budget in mind will help control costs and quicken future decision making.


There are lots of things to think about before you start trading. Location, Logistics, Set Up, Insurance and more. Its best to have all of these factors in place before you sell any products or services.


Many business owners become overwhelmed when they first start trading. This can be overcome by being organised. A calendar of what you’re going to do and when can be helpful. When are you going to submit your accounts, create a marketing plan, pay wages (if applicable), pull sales reports? etc…


When you start trading— understanding who your customers are, where you’ll find them and understanding why they would buy from you is crucial.

Carrying out market research and creating a sales and marketing plan will help you to develop strategies to gain new customers and keep them.

Starting up your own business could be the best career move you ever make. If you want to make your business dream a reality, but don’t quite know where to start, we can help.

Business Gateway Stirling offers the information, advice, workshops and online tools you’ll need to help set up your business with confidence. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, visit answer a few questions about your plan and we will be in touch with FREE help and advice.

Issue 13_Page_18



The Tourism Sector plays an important part of the Scottish Economy. It could be argued that it’s thee most income generating and job creating sector.

 Stirling’s tourism sector welcomes four million visitors annually, supports 9,201 jobs and has an economic impact of £463 million.*

So it’s no wonder that almost 800** businesses need support to help this sector to continue to grow.

STEP’s business support events have become the backbone of business learning in Stirling over the last 30 years, and now we’re excited to announce that building on previous successful tourism sector themed events, we have an exciting month-long programme of tourism business support events coming in October/November.

Business owners and those working in tourism will have access to events, workshops and networking opportunities to help tourism-based businesses stay ahead with insights and analysis on the people, companies, trends and topics shaping Stirling’s Tourism landscape.

Event Highlights

Replacing our annual ‘Meet the Producers’ event, we are more than delighted to announce that we are working with Scotland Food and Drink, Stirling Council and Forth Valley Lomond Leader to bring ‘Showcasing Scotland’ to the central region.

This event has been developed to help meet growing demand for local products in local markets.

Using the hugely successful Showcasing Scotland business matchmaking model, this event will help boost local and regional sourcing by bringing together regional buyers, producers and suppliers to meet, build relationships and secure future business.

Hosted in Forth Valley College, who are renowned for their food, drink and hospitality courses, students will staff the event providing a learning experience for them as well as first-hand industry experience— joining up dots in the industry.

Marketing is a key element for any tourism business and we are excited to have industry giants, Expedia and Google collaborate at our ‘Marketing for Tourism’ event. VisitScotland will also be on hand introducing 2020 as the Year of Water and Coasts.

We all know that technology is moving faster each day and the introduction of tech can set tourism businesses apart on the worldwide stage. We understand that new tech can be daunting and that’s why we have organised a variety of technology businesses from Augmented Reality to Electronic Point of Sale and everything in between for you to test and see in action.

Networking is crucial for any business but in the tourism industry, it pays to know who is who and what’s on offer in your area.

If you’re a hotel, do you know what activities to recommend to your customers, where to advise them to eat or how they can book a tour?

Getting to know the local businesses in the area can make your customers experience a better one and your job easier.

As part of Stirling Tourism Month, we have two networking opportunities. Let’s Network, our monthly networking event run in partnership with Forth Valley Chamber and Stirling University Innovation Park will have a tourism theme for October.

We will also be hosting a networking Q&A with the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP.

You can see our full programme overleaf or visit

*Source: Scottish Annual Business Survey 2015
**Source: Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR).  

Scotland Food and Drink: Showcasing Scotland Central

For Suppliers and Buyers

📅 17th October
🕐 All Day

Book Here

Tourism Technology Demo Day

📅 31st October
🕐 9.30

Book Here

Funding for Tourism Businesses

📅 24th October 
🕐 9.30

Book Here

Marketing for Tourism: Google and Expedia

📅 5th November
🕐 9.30

Book Here

Lets Network: Travel Trade Breakfast Networking

📅 25th October 
🕐 8.30

Book Here

Meet the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP

📅 12th November
🕐 14.00

Book Here

Babes in the Woods Stirling

Babes in the Wood

Babes in the wood is a not for profit social enterprise which exists to reduce the environmental impact of landfill waste & to reduce the effects of poverty on children from birth to 15 years. They have been a STEP Tenant since March 13th 2018.