Small Business Saturday Blog

Black & Gold: Supporting other local businesses through partnerships

Monday, November 07 at 12:30

The Elder family have farmed along the banks of the River Tyne in East Lothian for over 150 years. They launched Black & Gold Cold pressed rapeseed oil in the harvest of 2010 after Louise Elder became aware of the nutritional benefits of the oil.

The overall balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids in the oil means that rapeseed may be superior to other oils commonly used for cooking, such as sunflower and extra virgin olive oil. By cold pressing the oil, the levels of naturally occurring antioxidants, viscosity and nutty taste are beautifully preserved.

The name Black & Gold comes from the black seeds which are shed from pods on the rapeseed plant and when pressed, a golden oil is released.  Black & Gold is sold in fine food outlets and high-end restaurants such as Harvey Nichols.

Creating a Business Improvement District 

Black & Gold helped to set up a Business Improvement District (BID) in the East Lothian area of Scotland. This is a business led partnership to help bring together local businesses and the local council to improve local trading. BIDs provide a levy which can be used to help develop an area. Typically, BIDs are used to enhance town centres, tourism and business parks. In this case, Black & Gold believe that the East Lothian Food & Drink BID will help other small businesses to collaborate and to tackle common problems that they have in extending their business reach. This includes helping with sales and marketing, product development, identity and distribution.

Why have we got together?

Together we can collaborate and communicate to better promote the wealth of produce available from East Lothian, Scotland’s Food and Drink County.  Our vision is to be the number one destination for food and drink buyers and for our products to be the food and drink of choice by consumers.  They will expect high quality, premium products with great provenance. We can celebrate and shout about our bakers, millers, cidermakers, fishermen, chocolatiers, distillers, brewers, farmers and small businesses operating from home.  By collaborating we can help each other find our feet or find new markets. We can do that more efficiently through joint distribution and operational services.  Most importantly, we want to deliver a positive economic impact and effect economic return for all our members and partners.

What makes our BID different?

We are different because our membership is made up of food and drink businesses that produce, process, manufacture or add value to food and drink products in East Lothian. We are the first BID of its kind in the world. There are over 30 successful BIDS across Scotland which include Falkirk and Essential Edinburgh. The total investment that BIDS are now providing in urban centres is over £34 million.



Louise Elder started Black & Gold in the harvest of 2010 with the first product on sale at the Haddington Farmers’ Market.

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