LISTEN: Jackie Brierton explains how GrowBiz offers advice and support for local business
GrowBiz Scotland is offering their free and confidential support to business across rural Scotland by helping them with their advice and expertise in local enterprise.
For them it’s about connecting people with the right person to speak to about their problems.
Jackie Brierton, GrowBiz’s CEO, said: “The idea is that it’s about helping people in local communities organically to support them in developing ideas.
“It might be putting them in touch with somebody who might help them with a resource, or a piece of land or money or whatever, but also just connecting people.”
GrowBIz is usually dealing with micro-businesses which are made up of less than ten people or less, across a broad range of the services Highland Perthshire has to offer.
The skill and expertise GrowBiz have to offer comes from the people behind the charity.
They’re known as contractors and a good number of them run their own businesses which gives them a real finger on the pulse of local business and a broad range of skills to offer.
Jackie Brierton explained: “Most of my contractors also run their own business, so there’s a lot of expertise and background across all the different areas, not just the sectors, like marketing finance ectara.
“So we probably don’t tend to get a lot of big business, but then they’re not looking for the kind of support that we’re providing.
“And we try work in collaboration with Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise, Highland and Islands Enterprise, ectara.
“If we can see that another agency will be able to help a business, we refer them on.”
Some of the biggest challenges facing businesses in Highland Perthshire, and the rest of rural Scotland, stem of the remote geography of the area.
Jackie Brierton said: “Quite often you’ve got connectivity issues, sometimes the broadband just isn’t as good as it should be, you’ve got transport issues, you’ve got distance from your supply chains and access to your supply chains.”
Add to that the pandemic has closed the doors of most business at some point over the past year, causing further difficulty to already small companies.
Although some companies have used this as a chance to focus on other areas which they’ve not had the opportunity to improve such as revamping their website.
Jackie Brierton explained: “For some its actually been a good opportunity to review and reflect and get the businesses into shape.
“But we can’t forget that there are some who haven’t survived at all and who may never open again, we’ve got to be there to support people to think about what they might want to do in the future.”
And now Highland Perthshire is seeing a boom in the number of small business starting up in the area according to Jackie Brierton.
She said: “Interestingly, in the last few months we’ve actually had a lot of start-ups. Which is counter intuitive to what’s going on, but people are taking advantage of new opportunities, but they’re also rethinking what they want to do.
“People have been sitting at home, they’ve perhaps been made unemployed or they’ve just decided they want to change what they’re doing, sometimes they’ve always had a dream to start a business.
“And I suppose now is as good a time as any.”
People looking for support from the charity can find out more on: https://www.growbiz.co.uk/