Redundancy helps former oil & gas worker net new business

Stephen Bruce of Peterhead Fish Company

A former oil & gas worker has launched a unique service that offers people the chance to order fish online and have it delivered to a preferred location less than 24 hours after it has been landed.

Stephen Bruce, who was made redundant last December, came up with the idea for the Trawl & Haul service after turning to Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire for advice on how to start his own enterprise, Peterhead Fish Company, earlier this year.

Having quickly established a loyal clientele who visit his van in over 20 locations around the Peterhead area, the 55-year-old wanted to offer his customers the chance to order exactly what they wanted at the touch of a button.

With the help of a £3.2k By Design Grant, secured with the help of his Business Gateway adviser, Roz Taylor, Stephen added the Trawl & Haul service to in June.

He said: “Starting my own business had always been at the back of my mind but when I was made redundant from my health & safety adviser post I was forced to take the step. I’d worked as a fishermen for 21 years prior to going into oil & gas so knew that the seafood landed in Peterhead was excellent and that there was demand for it. I went to Business Gateway because they have a reputation for helping people get started. My adviser gave me great advice, helped me fine tune my business plan and highlighted potential funding streams. If I hadn’t secured the grant I wouldn’t have been able to add the new service, which fills a gap in the market, so quickly.

“People lead busy lives these days but they still want quality produce that is traceable – and I can tell them exactly what boat their fish came from and the exact time and date it was landed. By giving them the opportunity to order the fish and then give them the option of where and when they can collect it, it makes life a lot easier. I’ve had mums tell me that their children refused to eat fish until they put my fish in front of them and now they clear their plates!”

Roz Taylor, Business Gateway, said: “Like many oil & gas workers Stephen found himself without a job and in need of a new career. Having worked in the fishing industry previously he already had great contacts in the industry. With our help we were able to give him greater confidence and also sign post him to outside organisations who have been able to help him secure funds to grow his business.”

With the additional service now up and running, Stephen not only wants to attract more customers from the retail and restaurant sectors he plans to expand the areas to which he will sell, and hopes to be offering customers in Aberdeen fresh Peterhead fish before the end of the year.

He said: “More and more people realise that they don’t have to settle for produce that isn’t traceable or fresh. That hopefully means demand is only going to grow for the services I offer. My aim is not only to promote fish for health but highlight the quality of seafood that is landed at Peterhead and that is why I am looking to expand into the city.”

Find out how Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire can help you by visiting their local or call 01224 968174.