Busi­nesses reap div­i­dends from first en­ter­prise week

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.

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