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Nicky Presents the Perfect Pitch

The final session of the "Get Inspired across the Highlands and Islands" saw us head East to Moray College, UHI where local celebrity Nicky Marr demonstrated how strong presentation skills can help you to become more engaging in business.  From a speculative phone call to a sales pitch, or from a chance meeting to formal networking, each interaction will be enhanced if you take time to plan what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.  Great presentation skills are even more important for budding entrepreneurs – how will you sell your product or service if you can’t sell it as a concept?

Nicky’s appeal was clear in the broad range of curriculum areas that were represented in the audience on the day and they left lifted by this inspirational talk  “this session has really inspired self-belief”.

Shetland Social Enterprise COPEs with everything

Ingrid Webb from COPE Ltd was hosted by Shetland College, UHI and in her talk, Ingrid gave a detailed description of what a social enterprise is before going on to describe the various businesses that COPE Ltd is the umbrella organisation for and how they operate to enable everyone, regardless of disability, the opportunity to work if they so wish.  Ingrid was a passionate speaker and her audience was greatly inspired by her talk. 

After her talk she summarised what she conveyed so wonderfully, “Scotland is a country with great ambition and this is especially prevalent in the Highlands and Islands. I truly believe that all businesses should embrace their social responsibilities. I hope I was able to highlight the benefits of social enterprise and show that we may be geographically isolated in the Highlands and Islands, but it does not need to restrict us.”

Students Look Through the Lens of an Entrepreneur

Jill Innes from Storyboard Films talked about her first year in business, looking at the various challenges she has faced and her top tips so far in a session hosted by North Highland College, UHI.  This not only attracted students from Caithness but was also very well attended in Inverness where the NC Media Studies class came along to the virtual session to soak in the experiential learning from a young entrepreneur.

Jill’s passion that drove her to create a business that fitted around her love for camerawork and creativity was transferred to the students who provided the following post event feedback, “you can follow your own personal hobbies to create an interesting career path” and “try to find a job I enjoy so that I can be committed to it”.
The event reached over 250 students and, due to recordings of the sessions, will reach a great many more.

The Stornaway Black Pudding

Ever since The Stornaway Black Pudding was awarded Protected Geographical Indication by the European Commission the renown of this local product has grown and grown.  At the start of the year it was also labelled as a “superfood” further enhancing both it’s reputation and it’s desirability.

Claire Macleod, from Charles Macleod Butchers, was hosted by Lews Castle College, UHI, in Stornaway as she provided an insight into how the collaboration of a number of local butchers, who many would have seen as rivals, was central to creating a single geographic brand that has had a positive economic impact on the Western Isles.

Claire fascinated students as she talked them through the intricacies of balancing the traditional manufacturing methods that are central to the quality of the pudding, the transport infrastructure and a growing global demand. 

Three Chimneys Building a Global Brand

Building a global brand from Skye was the topic of our next session in the “Get Inspired Across the Highlands and Islands” event with Shirley Spear from the Three Chimneys heading into West Highland College UHI in Portree to talk to both a local and virtual audience across the region.

The remarkable success of this unique establishment meant the title could not have been more apt and while talking globally Shirley was keen to stress the importance of developing a local skillset to ensure the long term:
Shriley stated, “We feel it is crucial, as a leading hospitality business operating in the area, to help encourage young people to stay in the region, learn and develop their skills through valuable, hands-on experience in the workplace. 

The students marvelled at the mixture of patience, perseverance and commitment which has helped the Three Chimneys achieve their targets as their comments included, “it may take time and effort but success will come” and “passion and persistence can create a world renowned business as long as you enjoy your work and the environment you are in”.


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