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Ideas Week inspires Lochaber!

3rd December 2018

IDEAS WEEK 2018 LAUNCH EVENT. Speaking to S2 pupils at Lochaber High School (left – right) Oliver Stevens, BSW, Danielle Hannah, Liberty, Lesley Benfield, Lochaber Chamber, Bruno Berardelli, Lochaber Chamber, Andrew Johnstone, Science Skills Academy, Colleen MacLean, Developing the Young Workforce, Isabel MacKenzie, Lochaber Hgh School and Tim Allen, Scottish Chambers of Commerce. Picture Iain Ferguson,

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce provides a packed week of inspiration

Lochaber Ideas Week once again provided a packed week of inspirational events in Fort William this November. From Monday 12th to Friday 16th November, the town was buzzing with daily events that brought the whole business and wider community together, with more than 1,000 people booked onto events throughout the week.

Motivation from Eddie the Eagle

Michael ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Edwards brought a packed house down at the Moorings Hotel on Monday evening, with his incredible tale of perseverance and dogged refusal to give up in the pursuit of his Olympic ski-jumping dream at the Calgary Winter Olympics back in 1988.

Business Benefits

Around Lochaber in 80 Tables, the ever-popular speed-networking event sponsored by Lochaber Times was fast, friendly and frantic – in a good way! With lots of new faces along this year, it was great to see so many new connections being made. One new member of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce was very impressed with the format and atmosphere, saying that this was the best networking event he’d ever been to!

There were three professional development seminars on throughout the week – Creativity in Business on Monday morning got everyone buzzing with ways to ‘think different’ in how they approach business. Strategically Social: Social Media for Customer Care gave the attendees great insight and provided practical steps into improving customer care and the online perception of their business. Unlock your potential: High performance seminar inspired delegates to make the most of their potential and also get the best out of their teams.

Enter the Dragons’ Glen

Dragons’ Glen on Wednesday night provided a nail-biting evening of drama for the packed crowd at the Ben Nevis distillery.  All the businesses who entered made a great impression and the Dragons’ decision was far from easy. Happily, the People’s Choice and the Dragons agreed on the worthy winners – and Fort William Wheeled Sports Society was awarded the £10,000 cheque from the West Coast Communities Growth Trust for their ‘mountain bike pump track’ business.

Looking into Visitor Trends

Thursday’s Tourism event saw a great turnout from local tourism businesses who came to ask questions of a panel of experts in the industry about future trends. This was followed by a highly informative presentation on how to make your tourism business ‘China-ready’ by taking simple steps to suit the preferences of the Chinese visitor market.

Big turnout for Alastair Campbell

Almost 300 people came along to Lochaber High School on Thursday 15th to hear Alastair Campbell deliver this year’s Charles Kennedy Lecture. The former Labour government Director of Communications gave a highly personal, moving and insightful lecture that shed light on his close friendship with Charles and his beliefs about how to help those facing personal struggles. This was followed by a lively Q & A session, where it didn’t take long for the subject of ‘Brexit’ to rear its head!

Mental wellness

On Friday morning there was a well-attended ‘Mental wellness in business’ presentation and motivational talk from Josh Quigley, a young entrepreneur turned campaigner and speaker on mental health issues. This event raised awareness and stimulated interesting debate about how to help colleagues who you think may be struggling with mental health issues.

A night to celebrate

We rounded off the week in style with the Ideas Week Gala Dinner sponsored by R.A. Clement Associates, the largest accountancy firm in the west highlands. Our after-dinner speaker was the hugely successful tech entrepreneur and angel investor, Dale Murray. She gave a fantastic speech about never giving up on your business dream and the importance of getting more women into senior positions in business.



We’d like to give a huge thanks to our overall presenting partner for the week: Developing the Young Workforce West Highland.

Thanks also to our event sponsors for their generous support: Nevis Range, Marine Harvest, Liberty British Aluminium, R A Clements Associates, Twin Deer Law, Ferguson Transport & Shipping and Lochaber Times.

We’ve already started planning for the next Lochaber Ideas Week and can’t wait to bring you even more exciting and inspiring events in November 2019.

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