A Rural Business Creation Project designed to develop enterprise skills and encourage business start-up ideas amongst women in rural areas of Scotland has just completed its first pilot in New Cumnock.

The free course, supported by the Scottish Government, was run by New Cumnock Development Trust (NCDT) in partnership with Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) and Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS).

It was completed over a 10- week period with weekly sessions held by Zoom for 1.5 hours each week, working with a combined cohort of around 30 women from three target areas including New Cumnock, the Small Isles and Liddesdale in the Scottish Borders.

New Cumnock-based Carol Dick, founder of Carol’s Card Creations, was one of the participants who completed the course.

She said: “I had been thinking about starting a business and it was after going on the Rural Business Creation course that I finally took the plunge. It gave me the confidence to stop just thinking about it and just go for it.

“Being able to connect with other women on the same business journey as me was so valuable as we could share experiences and support each other along the way.”

Cumnock Chronicle: Carol Dick.Carol Dick.

Topics covered on the course have included business planning, attracting customers, pricing and managing finances. Participants have also had the opportunity to meet other local women interested in starting up a business, as well as networking with women from areas across Scotland during the zoom sessions.

Louisa Macdonell, Chief Executive of Development Trusts Association Scotland, added: “We are delighted to have delivered this much-needed, gender specific business start-up training in three rural areas as part of an initial pilot.

“The priority has been to reach and unlock the economic potential of the rural and agricultural economy by giving women, a third of whom are women in agriculture, the skills they need in entrepreneurship to build sustainable businesses.

“This new way of delivering training using the community expertise of the Development Trusts is a brilliant innovation and the success of the participants’ businesses going forward will play a crucial role in empowering the areas in which they are based.”

For more, email gaynor@wescotland.co.uk