Our BUSINESS START UP finalists for the 2017 Scottish Rural Awards are…
Set up in July 2016 by Wayne Johnson and Gordon Wilson, Trossachs Mobility loan out affordable all-terrain wheelchairs so that no one is restricted and can enjoy the Scottish countryside without barriers. Having been welcomed with open arms in community, their vision has also been discussed at government level, with a motion raised in the Scottish Parliament and a debate in Westminster.
Craine Communications is a solution to the lack of independent telecoms engineering companies in the general Argyll area. Set up by Stuart Craine, the company’s services are used by both Skyenet and Locheilnet. This year they connected over 100 new connections for Locheilnet with 100 per cent customer satisfaction. Craine Communications aim to develop a skilled workforce, drive rural digital development and empower small communities and existing businesses well into the future.
House of Bluebell
House of Bluebell is a contemporary Scottish tailoring business that offers 100 per cent wool suits, jackets, waistcoats, trousers and skirts. They utilise tailoring techniques that have been used for generations in Fife, passing them on to younger members of the team to keep them alive. Having launched in September 2016, their main goal is to encourage younger generations to learn the tailoring skills required to produce high quality garments that can be sold in the UK and worldwide.
Lochranza Centre CIC
Lochranze, Isle of Arran
Lochranza Centre CIC is a field studies centre based on the Isle of Arran. They teach geology, geography and biology, in addition to teaching activities and providing accommodation for up to 90 people. Having been in existence for over 30 years, they launched as a Community Interest Centre (CIC) in 2015. As well as providing a hub for locals, the CIC is currently working with the Arran Trust, the tourist board and the National Trust for Scotland to gain Geopark status for the island.
Kyle of Lochalsh, Inverness-shire
Launched in 2015, Anisha Macdermid created Exclamation Marketing in order to offer services to assist local businesses in rural locations such as Skye and Lochalsh. The company has now helped over 150 local business owners through training courses and masterclasses, and have improved occupancy levels for one self-catering business from 0.05 per cent to 69 per cent in one year.
GlenWyvis Community Benefit Society
Upper Docharty, Dingwall
Founded on 31 March 2015, Glenwyvis’ original business plan collaborated with the remote island of Unst to make GlenWyvis Gin, created in the world’s first community-owned distillery. The project has broken the UK record for the largest amount raised for a community project with over £2.5 million from 2,500 members. The company’s site at Scroggie Farm is 100 per cent powered by renewable energy and is carbon neutral. GlenWyvie aims to put the area on the tourist map, supporting other local business in the Dingwall area.
Buth Bheag Candle Co
Tarbert, Isle of Harris
Buth Bheag Candle Co is a small home-grown family business who hand pour luxury scented candles, wax melts, room sprays and diffusers. Having been in business for little over a year, they now have 12 stockists and a second retail outlet in Inverness Airport. Named after beaches on Harris, all ingredients used are local, supporting the rural Scottish economy.
LOTI (CRAOBH) Limited – Lord of the Isles
Craobh Haven, Argyll
LOTI (CRAOBH) Limited is the company behind Lord of the Isles bar, restaurant and stores, which is run by Wil Craig and partner Mollie Macfarlane. Established on 14 March 2016, they currently employ four full-time and up to 15 part-time and seasonal employees. They provide fresh and locally sourced produce and aim to help put Craobh Haven on he map as a holiday and leisure destination.
Campbeltown, Argyll & Bute
Brandfire formed at the beginning of 2016 and aims to be the most results-driven creative agency in the west of Scotland. The company, which was founded by Stewart Twynham and Gordon Bennie, has worked for several social enterprises, producing many projects off of their own back to help the community. In the summer of 2016, the company tripled the number of visitors to the Kintyre Amenity Trust, securing the future for their Heritage Centre.
Wee Isle Dairy Ltd
Isle of Gigha, Argyll
Based at Tarbert Farm, Don and Emma Dennis set up Wee Isle Dairy Ltd just under two years ago. As the only commercial producer of ice cream in Argyll, the company aim to raise awareness of the island and the produce available in the region. With an environmentally-friendly focus to business, the company also produce milk in glass recyclable bottles, moving away from plastic and reminding people of the comfort of ‘cream at the top’ pasteurised milk.