Businesses reap dividends from first enterprise week
ARGYLL Enterprise Week, which took place in Oban from October 31 to November 4, has been hailed a success by those taking part.
A first for Argyll, the ambitious week of activities hosted in partnership by Argyll and Bute Council’s Business Gateway and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with The Oban Times as media partner, was designed to help connect, inform and inspire businesses.
Speaking at the opening event, Nicholas Ferguson CBE, chairman of the Argyll Economic Forum, noted: ‘There’s a momentum going in Argyll, and something like this event helps propel that. Meeting people and swapping ideas is energising.’
Attendees appreciated the benefit of meeting other businesses and discuss- ing opportunities. ‘It’s about trying to spark off each other,’ explained Jamie Delap of Fyne Ales. ‘It’s good to see enthusiasm about the future,’ agreed Neil MacDonald from Midton Acrylics.
There were more than 400 participants representing at least 150 businesses or organisations at events across the week, with attendees coming from right across the area, including Bute, Dunoon and Tiree.
A mix of 29 workshops, seminars and discussions took place across the week on a wide range of topics such as cyber security, women in business, knowing your food and drink market, adventure tourism and funding sources.
Councillor Aileen Morton, policy lead for sustainable development, said: ‘The feedback has been excellent with 95 per cent of respondents confirming that they had learned something new, 97 per cent confirming that they had made new connections and 96 per cent confirming that they had been inspired as a result. Based on this very positive feedback, we will keep working with our partners and the business community to plan future activity.’
Work is now starting to explore future Argyll Enterprise Week activity and a short online survey is now live to gather ideas and preferences to shape this, combined with the feedback from this year’s event.
John Orr of BC Technologies concluded: ‘The event was beneficial and is needed. With fine tuning, it can be made even better. Keep at it.’
During the week more than 70 people expressed an interest in being kept informed about future networking opportunities, so the Argyll Enterprise Week team will continue working with partners to take this forward, as well as following up with the 64 who asked for further discussions with HIE or Business Gateway about the support available.
‘ We’d like to thank all the speakers, exhibitors and suppliers who contributed to the success of this first Argyll Enterprise Week,’ concluded David Smart of HIE.
‘Crucially, we’d also like to thank all those from Argyll’s businesses, social enterprises and communities who came along. To hear them say that they have benefited from attending is what it was all about.’
Back row: Jamie Delap, Fyne Ales; David Smart, HIE; and Craig Cameron, Midton Acrylics. Front row: Jennifer Nicoll, HIE; Nicholas Ferguson, chairman of the Argyll Economic Forum; Brendon Wallace, BC Technologies; Neil MacDonald, Midton Acrylics; and Pippa Milne, Argyll and Bute Council.