Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Journey

Published on: Mar 11, 2020

The last 6 months has been an incredible journey of learning, motivation, meeting people and being focused on developing Realta Events Management as a business.

Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Journey

Business owner, Emma Miller has recently completed a six-month Rural Leadership Programme with Scottish Enterprise and was presented with a graduation certificate at a ceremony in Perthshire last week by Julian Pace, Head of Rural at SE.

The programme has been run by Scottish Enterprise for 14 years and has seen over 600 participants take part, although this is the first year anyone from Shetland has been chosen for the limited annual spaces. Emma was chosen along with fellow Shetland business owner, Lynn Johnson from the Original Cake Fridge and Tearoom.

Project Manager for Scottish Enterprise, Julia Latto outlined the main goals of the programme are to provide training and skills to individuals who can lead rural Scotland through challenging times. Learning journeys to Holyrood, Westminster and the European Parliaments to meet Ministers and staff gave course participants an understanding of legislation development, how important lobbying can be and what role even the smallest of businesses can play in this.

Emma and Lynn were also given the opportunity to work on business and personal development issues with several workshop sessions alongside this year’s other course participants. One to one coaching sessions were provided to help focus business goals and realise priorities. At a Business Innovation workshop in Airth Castle, Emma led the team which developed the winning business idea in the Tourism category.

Following the graduation, Emma said “This course has been an amazing experience for us both. We run very different businesses, and the range of other enterprises the other folk were involved in shows how diverse rural Scotland is. In the financial, political and physical environment we live in we have to adapt our business practices to embrace the challenges and not be discouraged by them.

“We have the ability to make changes if we put our minds to it, and this course is all about developing future leaders for rural Scotland.  I think the sense of enthusiasm and motivation to make my business grow and become more successful is the main benefit I have taken from this. Meeting so many other inspirational people on the journey has been amazing and I would recommend anyone to consider doing this course if they have the opportunity.”

Participants in the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme receive additional financial support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to cover travel and unavoidable accommodation costs to and from the mainland. Emma and Lynn would like to thank HIE for this as it has made it possible for them to take part in this experience.

Going forward, Emma and Lynn are now part of an alumni of over 600 rural leaders with opportunities for collaboration and other opportunities throughout Scotland and the rest of the world, with Rural Leadership programmes also being run in Canada and Australia.

At Holyrood

2020 Rural Leaders