Business in brief: TH March | Forum of Private Business | Unipart

SEVENTEEN Scottish companies are in the running to secure £50,000 of start-up funding from the Pitch 2012 competition, including six businesses from the Entrepreneurial Spark incubator scheme set up by Sir Tom Hunter and Sir Willie Haughey.

The Scots contestants will go up against 63 businesses from England, Northern Ireland and Wales to try to carry off the funding, with the successful applicant being named in October.

Big jump in profits at broker March

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Specialist insurance broker TH March yesterday announced a 32 per cent increase in profits over the past 12 months.

Sales at the company, which specialises in insurance services for jewellers and has a long-standing base in Glasgow, grew by 5 per cent.

TH March, which has more than 100 staff, provides cover for eight out of ten jewellers in Scotland and also offers personal insurance services.

Call for prompt payment support

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is supporting a campaign which is calling for all companies in the FTSE 100 index to sign up to a prompt payment scheme.

The scheme asks big businesses to agree to pay suppliers as quickly as possible under the terms and conditions set out at the start of a contract and without altering payment times. A letter signed by a number of business organisations, including the Institute of Credit Management and the FPB, has been sent to those FTSE 100 companies not already signed up.

Honor for Unipart chief exec Neill

The head of logistics group Unipart has received an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

The award was made to John Neill, group chief executive, in recognition of his success as a manager in business over nearly 40 years. Neill led a successful management buy-out of Unipart from its parent company, British Leyland, in 1987.