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Gold Premier Partner
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Gold Premier Partner
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Gold Premier Partner
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Silver Premier Partner
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Silver Premier Partner

Chamber Matters: Rise of the Entrepreneur

Trudy Morris, Caithness Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, celebrates the rise of the county’s entrepreneurs, and discusses the importance of nurturing such spirit. 

Throughout 2016, Caithness has been a hive of activity, with the buzz of industry breeding creativity among entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds, inspiring the establishment and development of some innovative and exciting new businesses.

At the Chamber, we’ve seen a sustained rise in applications for the various avenues of support we provide, from our Business Support Programme, funded by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, through which we provide specialist advice and hands-on workshops, to avenues for financial assistance, such as Caithness Business Fund, which can provide backing for business growth and innovation.

To top off the success of these vital support services, we have recently celebrated the achievements of this year’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Young Business of the Year awards, announced at our 44th Annual Dinner on September 16th.

The winners of this year’s awards were Sean and Marysia Frame of the Tartan Cracker Company (Young Entrepreneur) and White Heather Home Care (Young Business). Entries for both competitions proved strong and the judging panel faced tough choices – a testament to the calibre of the candidates.

Sean and Marysia, a sibling partnership, established their idea at the 2015 iStart Challenge, a Dragon’s Den style contest run by the North Highland Regeneration Fund (NHRF) and North Highland College UHI, where it was awarded Best Creativity & Innovation for its locally-made, Scottish-themed wedding favours and gift packaging.

Having recently begun trading, the duo has established their ecommerce offering and already fulfilled an order for another local company. We were delighted to see the continuation of their idea into a viable business, and look forward to seeing the business develop.

Michael Barry, accepting the award on behalf of White Heather Home Care, gave an impassioned speech on the night regarding the state of care for vulnerable adults in the UK, and we’re keen to follow his company’s progress as they continue to expand their services. Since their establishment in 2014, White Heather have experienced stratospheric growth, with a £1 million-plus annual turnover, and the creation of 50 FTE jobs providing over 4,000 hours of care each month.

It is through the nurturing of these young, inspired businesses that we as a community can secure a bright future for the region’s economy. The region is blessed with a wealth of national and international knowledge and experience across a full spectrum of industries, and through projects like the Business Support Programme and resources such as the Caithness Business Fund and NHRF, we can use this to forge our future.

If you feel the entrepreneurial spark, why not get in touch with us today? Email us via info@caithnesschamber.com or call 01847 890076, and next year the county could be celebrating your success!