GrowBiz XChange Networking Events

The GrowBiz monthly XChange Networking events are an opportunity for Perthshire’s rural business owners to connect, develop their local network and hear from a panel of experts on a particular aspect of growing a business.

GrowBiz aims to combat the social isolation experienced by creatives, entrepreneurs and microenterprises operating either alone or in very small teams across rural Perth and Kinross. GrowBiz’s monthly events calendar is full of opportunities to bring these people together to connect and share in valuable business support developed specifically for rural businesses.

The XChange Networking event is a monthly feature of the GrowBiz events calendar where people can network whilst also learning about a particular theme of business development. The event features a panel of expert speakers chosen by GrowBiz for their knowledge in a particular area. The XChange events serve as an opportunity to hear directly from experts to collectively solve our most common business development challenges. The events rotate through venues spread across Perth and Kinross, ensuring that there is always an event local to your area.

The first XChange Networking event of 2020 took place on Thursday the 30th of January, from 6pm - 8:30pm. The Birnam Arts Centre provided a very warm and welcoming venue on what was a typically wet and cold January night. The team at Birnam Arts also provided a fantastic buffet which was a big crowd pleaser!

More than 40 people turned up to enjoy a chance to meet other business owners from across Perth and Kinross and learn more on the night’s chosen topic: Options for acquiring business finance.

Finance is an integral part of business development no matter the enterprise's size or ambitions, and GrowBiz provides free support to creatives, entrepreneurs and microenterprises to navigate this area as part of their valuable work in developing rural enterprises.

GrowBiz selected a panel of 5 speakers who represented a variety of funding avenues which are particularly applicable to rural businesses, creative enterprises and micro enterprises. Each speaker gave a short presentation on the financial route they represented and provided an overview of the business models their finance option could support, how the funding model worked and how to apply if it was of interest.

The event’s atmosphere was uplifting and motivational. Each speaker spoke openly and in simple terms about the financial route they represented. The focus from each party that spoke was clearly fixed on howthis route could assist a business to grow.

If you missed the event but think the financial information may be of interest to you see a short round up of each speaker’s presentation below.

To check out the GrowBiz event’s calendar and see what’s coming up click here.

Caron Ironside, Perthshire Creates - Visual Artists and Creative Makers Award

Caron was our first speaker of the evening and her message was specifically for the creatives in the room. Caron walked us through the Visual Artists and Creative Makers Award (VACMA) which is a fund providing small grants to support visual artists and craft makers in their creative and professional development. The awards are between £500 to £1,500 and this year sees the introduction of a New Graduate/Emerging Artist Bursary of £500.

Caron gave us a clear picture of the scenarios that the VACMA funding would cover and even gave useful tips for completing the application process.

Brenda Roddy, Crowdfunder Scotland - Crowdfunding

The second speaker of the evening opened our eyes to another non-traditional avenue that we can look to for finance. Brenda expertly explained how crowdfunding works and at what key stages of business growth we might want to consider it as an option.

Brenda talked us through some recent examples of campaigns that had worked well for Perthshire businesses and took us through the key elements that need to be considered to develop a stellar crowdfunding campaign.

Brenda represents Crowdfunder Scotland who currently have a LEADER-funded programme providing local coaches to advise and support individuals to get their ideas off the ground. Brenda is the coach for rural Perthshire and brings many years of experience in fundraising and allocating funds. She's keen to help communities, businesses and individuals to run successful projects, whatever the size. She also brings a great deal of experience with new businesses and environmental projects.

Graham Glover, Perth & Kinross Council - Beyond Scotland Market Development Grant

Our third speaker represented our local authority. Graham wanted to promote one specific grant which is a new fund, The Beyond Scotland Market Development Grant. This grant aims to provide local micro and small businesses with funding support to explore and develop new or expanded markets for their goods and services across the United Kingdom and internationally.

Graham talked us through the success that the council saw recently with a similar fund and gave us examples of the types of growth situations that the fund supports. Through his explanation we learned just how broad the definition of terms are and how many businesses it can be applicable to.

The grants are paid retrospectively and are available up to the value of £2,500 to cover up to 50% of eligible costs. These are open to businesses (including sole traders, constituted community groups, social/community enterprises and co-operatives) who are located in the Perth and Kinross Council area.

Emma Miller, Royal Bank of Scotland - RBS and Back Her Business

Speaker number four was from our first traditional lending body of the night. Emma is a Business Growth Enabler with the Royal Bank of Scotland and talked us through the various levels of support the bank can provide to a new business owner, from opening their first bank account, to arranging lending, right through to helping sustain businesses or helping them to grow.

Emma then moved on to introduce RBS’s new initiative, Back Her Business, which is a fund specifically for businesses that are majority owned by females. The Back Her Business fund is for businesses undertaking a crowdfunding campaign and will match fund the campaign if successful.

Stuart Yuill, DSL Business Finance - DSL Loans

Last but not least, we heard from Stuart Yuill from DSL Business Finance who are a not-for-profit lender pledging funds to start-up, micro and growing businesses throughout Scotland.

Stuart talked us through how DSL assesses a business for a loan and how open they are in comparison to other loans companies that don't have the same not-for-profit values.

After hearing from each of the speakers the room broke into casual conversation and networking, the buffet table became busy once again and people grabbed last bites from the excellent catering provided by Birnam Arts.

There was one major resounding takeaway felt by the room at the end of the event, and that was the sheer breadth of options available to rural businesses for finance.

See what other GrowBiz events are coming up in your area.

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