A day of inspirational thoughts, support and networking designed to help you develop and grow your business.

Free to attend; open to all.

Do you own or manage a business in the Highlands & Islands and Moray, and do you want it to develop and grow? Then come along to our ‘FSB Bootcamp’ in the Inverness Caledonian Thistle Stadium on Friday the 26th of April?

Our FSB Bootcamp will enable you to:

  • Listen, question and chat to a number of inspirational speakers keen to help you develop and grow your business.
  • Browse our exhibitors’ stands to find out about the support available to your business locally.
  • Meet and network with a wide range of businesses from across the region over a free light networking lunch.

Tea/coffee will be served on arrival and a sandwich lunch will be provided.


09:30   Arrive for tea, coffee and networking

10:00   Introduction

10:05   Running a football club in the Highlands – Scot Gardiner, CEO Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club.

10:20   Session 1: Attracting Customers and Boosting Sales

  • Panellists will include Richard Carson, Google & SEO Lead, Planit Scotland, talking about knowing your customers and digital marketing, and Darrel PatersonHighland News & Media’s Business Development Manager, talking about the advertising opportunities in print and online newspapers.

11:05   Session 2: Staff Recruitment & Retention – and Managing Without

  • Panellists will include Catherine Bunn, Highland Campervans, talking about her approach to staff recruitment and retention, Michelle Denoon, Skills Development Scotland, talking about public sector support for businesses, and John Johnson, Scottish Enterprise, talking about how short-staffed businesses can become more productive.

11:50   Comfort break

12:00   My Journey: Sandie Gordon, FSB Scotland Young Entrepreneur of the Year

12:10   Session 3: New Opportunities For Growth

  • Panellists will include Tim Hartley of Scotland Can B talking about the Wellbeing Economy and the opportunities for smaller businesses, and Calum MacPherson, CEO of the Inverness & Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, speaking about the sort of supply chain opportunities likely to come local businesses way and how they should prepare to seize them.

12:55   Where do we go from here?

12:55   Introducing Exhibitors

13:00   Networking Lunch

14:30   Close


Scot Gardiner, Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club

Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club CEO Scot Gardiner was born in Dundee and spent the first part of his working life in publishing with DC Thomson and Agfa. He then went into football and held senior positions at Rangers FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Dundee FC and Heart of Midlothian FC before moving to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. He is also the founding owner of a production company primarily based in Dundee. 

Sandie Gordon, Candles from the Croft

FSB Scotland Young Entrepreneur of the Year Sandie Gordon is the fifth generation to work on the family croft at Altass in Central Sutherland, and, following on from her role as project management director of a business in Ardgay, she returned to the croft to set up Candles from the Croft. After 14 months she now supplies 25 stores (and growing) UK-wide and sells online worldwide, and she also fulfils independent commissions for local organisations and individuals. Sandie is highly motivated and ambitious, and she wants to create a successful international business that brings money and jobs to her fragile area.

Richard Carson Google & SEO Lead, Planit Scotland

For over a decade, Richard Carson has worked with businesses across the Highlands, the UK and around the world to create compelling digital marketing campaigns that attract new customers and boost sales. He is a certified advertising partner of both Google and Microsoft, guiding Planit Scotland to become the only Scottish agency to be recognised by the latter for digital marketing excellence. Richard’s experience allows him to get to the root of clients’ strategic objectives, enabling him to target key customer groups that may be interested in products, services and businesses… but just don’t know it yet!

Darrel Paterson, Highland News & Media (HNM) Business Development Manager

Darrel project manages the Business Brand Executive and oversees a suite of services, including the leading B2B magazine in the North of Scotland, a new dynamic podcast, an exclusive Business Club and innovative digital marketing solutions. HNM’s business model both secures its position and makes it a pioneer in digital media. And its network of 12 news brands and websites offer tailored marketing solutions to help businesses engage with their target audiences and achieve tangible results.

Michelle Denoon, Employer Engagement Executive, Skills Development Scotland

Michelle works with employers in the Highlands, Islands and Moray to grow their businesses, collaborating with partners to help them develop their workforces, identify training opportunities and maximise public sector business support.  She has a Business Management degree and has previously worked in the private and public sector on European projects, Public Procurement, Recruitment, Sales and Marketing. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys the great outdoors with her husband and children, and she recently achieved a personal milestone with a 1.5km outdoor swim.

Catherine Bunn - Highland Campervans

After spending several years in the RAF as a Flight Operations Officer, Catherine left in 2007 to start a family and begin a small business called Highland Campervans. Initially working from home whilst raising two small boys, 17 years later the business has grown considerably and now employs 25 staff as a thriving Motorhome Dealership. It is very much a full-time job for both Catherine and her husband Steve. Outstanding customer care is central to the business’s success, and that is down to our staff. Building a team who all believe in the business and helping our customers create amazing memories, is core to our continued growth and success

John Johnston, Productivity Specialist, Scottish Enterprise:

We work with companies across Scotland to help grow the business and maximise the resources they have. Our role is to support improvements in productivity, culture & behaviours across the business. Our improvement projects can be tailored to solve immediate business issues or a more significant change programme. Our goal is to take industry best practice and share across all of Scottish businesses. My own thinking is, if you can make someone’s role/task easier, they will naturally be more productive.

Tim Hartley, Delivery Lead, Scotland CAN B

There has never been a better time, or a more important time, for businesses to fulfil their potential as a force for good in the world. Communities are looking to businesses to step up and help solve local problems. Employees want to be values-aligned with their place of work and feel like they matter. Customers are demanding transparency from the brands they buy from. In a few short years the conversation about business as a force for good has moved on from asking “why” to asking “how”. The time is now! 

Calum MacPherson, CEO, Inverness & Cromarty Firth Green Freeport

Prior to joining the Inverness & Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, Calum was with Robertson Group, laterally in a UK-wide role leading the Capital Project business.  He has also previously worked with Highlands & Islands Enterprise in a number of roles including Area Manager for the Moray region where he led a range of business, infrastructure and community development initiatives.

Venue parking and transport information

You can find the Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club Stadium on Stadium Road, Inverness, IV1 1FF. There is free on-site parking at the venue and there is disabled access and lift to conference room.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Interested in our Bootcamp series?  Find out the about other FSB Bootcamps taking place across the UK here.

Event contact

For general enquiries regarding the event, please contact [email protected]