Chamber extends hands across the Firth in successful Orkney visit.
Published 19 Aug 2016Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s recent entrepreneurial visit to Orkney, held on Tuesday 16th August, was a roaring success, giving a wide range of local businesses the chance to meet and build connections with their counterparts in Orkney, as well as the opportunity to hear from Sheila Fleet, one of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs.
The event, generously sponsored by NorthLink Ferries and open to Chamber members and to clients on the Chamber’s business support programme, began with a networking breakfast onboard the MV Hamnavoe. On alighting in Orkney, the group travelled to Sheila Fleet’s workshop at Tankerness, where they were given a tour of the workshop and the under-construction gallery and tearoom.
The group also heard from Sheila Fleet herself, pictured below, who discussed the sources of inspiration for her work and gave advice on areas such as expansion, growth, marketing and quality.
Following the visit to Sheila Fleet’s workshop, a networking lunch was held in the Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall, where the businesses from Caithness were able to meet and network with their Orcadian counterparts.
Speaking after the event, Trudy Morris, chief executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said: “We were delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to our members and to businesses just starting out. We have long felt that there are numerous opportunities for businesses in Caithness and Orkney to work together, and this event was a great step in the right direction.
“Meeting Sheila Fleet and hearing her story was truly inspiring, and I have no doubt that the advice she gave will be of great use to the businesses who were there, whether they are just starting out or well-established and looking to expand.
“Likewise, it was fantastic to meet and network with businesses from Orkney. Businesses in Caithness and Orkney share many of the same advantages and disadvantages that arise from being based in a rural area, and this lunch was not just about making contacts but about businesses in both areas learning how others address the same issues.
“The feedback we’ve had, both from our members and from the businesses in Orkney, has been highly positive, and we’re already looking at arranging a return visit. With just a few miles of water between us, there are plenty of opportunities for future networking and collaboration, and we look forward to seeing the business communities in Caithness and Orkney build strong links in the future.”