A gin distillery, a merchandise company and an accountancy firm are among those reaching their business goals thanks to Aberdeen Football Club.
The Dons have their very own business group and it is trying to help companies successfully tackle Covid-19 and the drop in oil price.
Aberdeen FC’s By Official Appointment scheme aims to be the Granite City’s leading business support group.
The Pittodrie club has been promoting them on their websites or social media as well as urging fans to use the companies.
A series of networking events involving members also proved crucial as it allowed ideas to be exchanged to find the best way to get through the pandemic.
Aberdeen gin distillery House of Botanicals has utilised spare capacity to produce hand sanitiser instead of upmarket spirits.
As domestic and export orders dried up, owner Dr Adam Elmegirab decided it was time to give back to his community.
He launched production of hand sanitiser, using the city’s only mass production facility for spirits, as a not-for-profit venture.
Adam said: “Almost overnight we lost 90 per cent of our turnover when the lockdown was introduced in the UK and across the globe with the shuttering of bars, restaurants and hotels.
“This was something we saw coming as two of our biggest export markets are China and Italy, where it’s fair to say covid-19 impacted first. However, we didn’t ever expect things to get as bad as they have in the UK.
“Being the only bonded warehouse in the centre of Aberdeen that is operated by a spirits brand, and having the equipment and machinery to produce en masse, we stepped up to support front line services when there was a shortage of hand sanitiser.
“We did it as a not-for-profit venture, with any proceeds raised over the break-even level donated to a local food bank. We can’t expect our wider communities to support us if we don’t support them.
“It’s just human nature to be resilient and pull together.”
Accountancy firm NKY Consulting is branching out from specialising in oil and gas to offering accounting services and business advice to a more diverse set of clients.
Neil Yeoman from the company said every member of By Official Appointment has had to adapt their services in light of the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “Aberdeen FC is a really engaged community club and one of the groups they host is a business community under the banner By Official Appointment.
“Local businesses partner with the club, attend networking events and offer the club’s fans special deals for their products and services.
“Aberdeen has been facing a double whammy of a low oil price and Covid-19 and members of the football community business group have had to innovate and adapt to survive. We had to do the same in 2015 during the last downturn caused by the oil price dropping, so we have been quicker to innovate this time around.”
Concept Promotional Merchandise, run by Bob Christie, moved some of their production from making company branded goods and corporate gifts to producing embroidered NHS Superhero T-shirts, which were donated to front line staff.
Bob said: “At the beginning of the pandemic we felt we had to put our shoulder to the wheel and utilise our extensive embroidery facility in order to help out where we could. I decided we would donate some embroidered t-shirts with the NHS Superhero logo on them.
“We manufactured and donated more than 800 drawstring bags embroidered with the NHS Superhero logo. These were distributed around several front-line NHS facilities as a small token of thanks and a morale booster for the NHS teams throughout the city.
“Aberdeen has a resilient business community and our innovation and skill set has been used in so many ways. We are now concentrating on the ‘back to work’ needs of our regular clients and have sold thousands of branded snoods, which can be used as face coverings on public transport and in the workplace.”
Rob Wicks, commercial director of Aberdeen FC said: “When the pandemic took a hold of this country, Aberdeen FC, like every other business in the region had to adjust to a new norm and we began to think more long-term and more proactively about our message and our products to ensure we would come out of this world‐changing period in the best possible shape.
“We’re a focal point, an institution unlike any other that brings people together through a shared love of football and thanks to our #StillStandingFree, we’ve succeeded in getting our city and region to fall back in love with their club.
“Members of our By Official Appointment initiative, which aims to become the ‘go‐to’ business to business programme in the northeast, have seen demand for their services wane or, in some cases, wiped out.
“We’ve been actively promoting them on our channels and encouraging our fans to support these local businesses as they transform how they deliver their services or seek payment in advance for services which can be redeemed in the future.
“As a club we are reimagining our journey now, examining how we best attract supporters and corporate clients, and ultimately reinventing ourselves in order to emerge into a changed world with a fresh outlook on how we do business.”