Roundup of our AGM 2018 & Networking Event

Our AGM & XChange Networking Event was held on 14th March at Pitcrocknie Coffee House, Alyth. It was well attended with Board Members, the GrowBiz Team and clients and colleagues all represented.

At the AGM, we heard from our Chair, Catriona Rowan, who started off speaking of "the magnitude of GrowBiz progress over the last twelve months". She praised the volunteer Board for their continued support. Long-term Board Member, Wendy Birse stood down from the Board, and Catriona thanked her, saying "We are sorry to lose the wise council and pragmatic approach of Wendy from the GrowBiz Board - she has been involved from the start." Wendy was presented with flowers as a thank you. All other existing Board Members confirmed their wish to remain in place - office bearing positions to be confirmed at the next Board Meeting. Catriona also thanked the "amazing, enthusiastic GrowBiz team. All power to you for the year ahead".

GrowBiz CEO Jackie Brierton then spoke, firstly on the importance of the GrowBiz core principles, which include being community based, client centred and user led, non-judgemental, responsive, inclusive and friendly.

Jackie then gave us a whistle-stop tour of GrowBiz over the last twelve months. This included working with more than 300 businesses, holding 94 events with attendance of 1200 people, 33 trained mentors, 45 grant applications, a 10th birthday celebration and several awards won by both GrowBiz and GrowBiz clients. Impressive, we think you'll agree.

And what next for GrowBiz? Continue what we do! Also in the pipeline - an extension of our existing creative care model, hopefully more micro-grant funding and the launch of our digital toolkit. We will be working with the Scottish Government to look at improving rural enterprise support in other areas too.

The AGM was closed, and we then heard a fascinating talk from People's Energy, a new ethical gas and electricity that returns the profits to the customers. The company was established based on money raised by the public. The founders, David Pike and Karin Sode, raised £500,000 through crowdfunding, enabling them to launch the company in August 2017. They were determined to disrupt the energy market where customer trust and satisfaction are at an all-time low. David and Karin wanted to bring back trust in the energy market, by putting their actions and money where their mouth is.  The company will be owned by customers and 75% of profits will be returned to customers in annual rebates.

Customers will also be represented on the board of directors. People’s Energy will share salaries, decisions, accounts and prices with customers, becoming the first completely transparent and customer-focused UK energy company in the UK, with only one simple tariff and 100% renewable electricity. People’s Energy has grown to a £5m turnover business in the first six months.

This was followed by questions and discussion before we headed back to finish the buffet and some final networking to round up a very interesting and inspiring evening.

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