I became a member of Impact Hub after I attended the ‘Feeding the City’ workshop in January this year. The day before, I had attended a ‘Scotland Food & Drink’ event in Dundee called ‘Building a Best-Selling Business’. The Impact Hub event was a convenient stop-over on the way back to my home on the Isle of Skye. The event not only helped me understand local food networks a little better but also the value of spaces such as the Impact Hub.
The ‘Feeding the City’ event helped me build my network of food producers, retailers and outlets whilst I researched my new pass time: The ‘Glendale Highland Market’. The event also appealed to my academic interest in Cities. The key takeaway was an awareness of the volume of grass roots activism, charity and entrepreneurship that provide a wealth of innovation in Scotland by sheer dint of drive and motivation.
Last Thursday I had cause to reflect on this again when I moderated a panel ‘Promoting Micro Producers’ at the ‘Skye Connect’ conference. My opener was that 95% businesses in the UK are Micro Businesses i.e. employ between 0-9 people. Seventy-five per cent are sole traders or sole proprietors. Micro businesses support our economy as significant sources of employment, diversity, resilience, innovation and, frequently, as guardians of our heritage. Our sometimes lonely and often pioneering work is best supported by connecting as a community through a variety of different networks. Organisations like Impact Hub for example are vitally important, ensuring easier access to essential business services, such as business space, finance and marketing.
I have come a long way with my interest in the ‘Glendale Highland Market’ and local food production since my first Impact Hub event. At the ‘Skye Connect’ conference I also relaunched the ‘Taste Local Awards’. The ‘Glendale Highland Market’ provides people with access to local produce and the ‘Taste Local Awards’ aims to recognise other outlets that do the same. And here I am, full circle, back at Impact Hub Inverness to ask you for your help. Nominations are welcome from anyone, anywhere in the world, who know of a restaurant, pub, café, shop or other outlet in Skye and Lochalsh who sell, prepare or serve local food. Nominations are very easy to do and completely free.
If you would like to support us, and our micro producers, please visit the awards website and nominate by 22 December 2018. And if you know of anyone who would like to sponsor us please get in touch with me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Natalie Bayfield is an Impact Hub Member, Organiser of the Glendale Highland Market and Convenor of Skye & Lochalsh Food Link CIC Taste Local Awards. You can follow her on twitter @NatalieBayfield