Published on: Jan 13, 2020
Business owner, Emma Miller, has recently returned from an innovation workshop at Airth Castle as part of Scottish Enterprise Rural Leaders programme - after winning the tourism category presentation.
The Scottish Rural Leadership programme, run by Scottish Enterprise is a unique and challenging programme aimed at business managers and employees from rural businesses with a desire to develop their skills and grow their business.
Emma began the course in September 2019 and has attended several workshops to develop leadership skills, improve influencing skills and most recently the innovation workshop at Airth Castle.
The workshop brought together 60 rural leaders from across Scotland into 9 teams covering three categories: Food & Drink, Tourism and Climate Change. Groups were asked to identify, research and present an innovative concept which would stimulate growth and economic activity in rural areas. Emma was assigned as Team Leader for one of the tourism groups.
The group proposed a co-operative business, bringing together a range of services to support visitor accommodation businesses in the Highlands. Similar to a 'machinery ring' concept, the hub point would co-ordinate services such as plumbers, electricians, cleaners etc and ensure availabilty of reliable trades to businesses at reduced rates. This saves time and money for the businesses and with a preventative programme of maintenance, ensures good quality accommodation for the tourism industry and a postive experience for visitors. The co-operative would not be a property management scheme as members would be invested shareholders in the business and benefit from reduced rates through buying power and financial return through dividends, which could be used to invest in and improve their businesses.
The concept, dubbed 'Ru-Hub' contributed to the Scottish Government economic priorities of investment, innovation and inclusive growth. Scottish Enterprise's ambitions and objectives were also met with the sustainabilty of skilled jobs in rural areas, building vibrant economic communities and giving businesses the best chance to fulfill their potential.
Emma worked with five others in the group from around Scotland and the group's idea and presentation was chosen by a panel of judges as the winner in the tourism category. The group were presented with a prize of chocolate by judge, Catriona Maclean; Deputy Director, Rural Economy & Communities Division, Scottish Government.
Pictured l-r: John Stewart, Alix Whitaker, Emma Miller, Yvonne Flett, Patricia Picken, Catriona Maclean, Stevie Whiteford
Image: Airth Castle