Ambitious plans to transform a former Italian restaurant in Kirkcaldy town centre into a enterprise hub benefiting start up businesses, have been given the green light.
The town’s area committee has this week committed £145,000 to kick start the re-design of the former Made in Naples restaurant building in the Merchants’ Quarter, which has lain vacant for a number of years.
The Enlightenment at Adam Smith project, led by the Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions Partnership, will see the 2,600 sq. ft unit turned into a skills development and enterprise space.
Aiming to provide a a range of support and practical space for new and young local business start ups, the centre also will house a training cafe / bistro supporting the development of at least 48 trainees each year into Fife’s hospitality, tourism and retail sectors.
Flexible trading space for up to 20 small independent businesses will also be provided so that businesses which want to make the leap from ‘home to high street’ can do so.
Business Gateway will also on hand to provide on-site support to help businesses grow and thrive with a view to taking on other vacant units within town.
It’s intended that once fully operational, the centre will act as a catalyst within the Merchant’s Quarter for a boost to both the day and night-time economies.
In a report to councillors, David Grove, Fife Council’s lead officer for town centre development, said: “Whilst modest in scale, the fund will support projects that may otherwise have remained undelivered”
The funding, which comes from Kirkcaldy’s share of a one-off £1m fund allocated by Fife Council to support economic development, has been warmly welcomed by Marilyn Livingstone, chief executive of the Adam Smith Global Foundation.
She said: “This is about giving people the opportunities and support that may otherwise might not have been there. Also, it ties into the need to think about our High Street differently, giving people the skills to bring their products to market will in turn benefit the town’s economy.
“It also builds on the Adam Smith brand which will further benefit not just the local economy, but also tourism.
“This has also provided Kirkcaldy with a huge and exciting opportunity to build on the existing partnerships.”