Sharing experiences at Growbiz

November 20 2019

GrowBiz is a community-based enterprise support service across rural Perth and Kinross, it organises and promotes a range of peer learning and support for women in rural business and runs many networking and training events. In Autumn this year I was asked to talk about my own experiences of being a woman in business in Kinross-shire. I must admit I’m not a fan of public speaking but after some consideration I decided that it would be good to reflect on the last twenty years of my sheep farming enterprise and I could also talk about my experiences helping out with Fruix Storage.

It turns out that I should not have been so apprehensive, the event is held in a cosy venue in Milnathort and the ladies in the group were very welcoming and friendly. The evening kicked off with an introduction session and it was brilliant to hear from everyone. I could never have guessed there would be such a wide range of sectors represented. A number of the group traded in the service sector, we heard from an experienced portrait and business photographer who was new to the area and keen to meet new contacts. Another lady runs her own bookkeeping company supporting other businesses with the financial aspects of their enterprise. In tune with the consumer trends there were businesses offering opportunities to increase physical and mental wellbeing and also a number of crafters taking their first steps towards getting set up in the creative sector.

For some it was their first time to introduce their idea or concept but others  delivered their “Elevator Pitch” with the utmost confidence and clarity, making the experience of sharing an amazing opportunity to learn and develop from each other.  The group meets regularly so there was a discussion on future topics for meetings, it wasn’t a surprise to me to hear that others were keen to keep up with social media trends and top up their marketing knowledge.

My talk followed a delicious supper and I was pleased I had brushed off my Powerpoint skills as the photographs of my sheep, especially lambs, went down well. They say a picture tells a thousand words and I felt the photographs demonstrated the attention I pay to the health and welfare of my livestock. As a producer of quality assured Scotch Lamb I had also included carcass photos and the stats on the number of my lambs meeting the market specification for Marks and Spencer, it was a good way to demonstrate that I’m a food producer not just a shepherdess.

I also devoted part of the presentation to the development of Fruix Storage which is the diversification I run with Andrew at Fruix Farm. I included my experiences of how we started with one shed and how we have secured funding to expand and develop. I also talked about the benefits of having a good website and booking system and using Xero for our accounts. It turns out I had lots to speak about and was asked many questions at the end. It was great to spend an evening with a bunch of enthusiastic like minded ladies. Thank you for the opportunity, Growbiz.

Learn more about Growbiz events and support here.