Julia Latto explains how GlobalScots are inspiring rural businesses to go for growth through the Harvesting for Growth (HTG) initiative.
A project manager in Scottish Enterprise's rural operations team, she has worked closely with a variety of GlobalScots as they have advised ambitious businesses in rural communities.
"The GlobalScot network is a real gem when it comes to helping develop our companies," she says. "My dealings with GlobalScots have really opened my eyes to how powerful the network can be. I've been involved in a number of events. It's really inspiring to see how the breadth of experience and life knowledge these individuals bring to the table can have such an impact on companies.
"Those we've worked with quite often come from other sectors, but the leadership and management skills they've acquired in building their careers can be applied to any business with ambition."
Supporting positive business changes
GlobalScot support has had a big impact on John Sinclair, who runs Craigie's Farm Deli and Café at West Craigie Farm with his wife Kirsteen.
Originally a dairy farm managed by his father, John has gradually expanded the business, opening a new shop, café and butchery now employing more than 40 people.
John was one of a number of business leaders who attended an HTG Learning Journey event in London. He has continued to benefit from engaging with the GlobalScot network, in particular, with GlobalScot, John Stewart.
"As the business has grown over the years, the main issue for me has been around staffing," said John.
"The discussions I had with John really made me look at recruitment and our skills gap in an entirely different way. He encouraged me to look much more closely at our people and really analyse what they were bringing to the business and if they really had the skills we needed.
"Just taking the time to assess who our best performers were, how to harness their enthusiasm and how to develop staff who we knew could do better was really valuable."
He added: "We now have a much happier working environment and our people are really adding value to the business. We've been able to improve the performance of a number of employees and, in general, any issues with staffing have become much less significant.
"We've recently doubled the size of our premises and both turnover and profitability are up. I'd definitely recommend using the GlobalScot network to other companies in the rural sector - there's no doubt that the input we received from John really has helped change the business."
And Julia agrees there are real benefits for rural companies in engaging with the network:
"The companies we've worked with have definitely been inspired by their engagement with these senior business leaders and the insight they're able to offer."