Following an extensive package of support from Business Gateway, including help securing over £100k in funding, a glass artist has hosted her first workshops in a bespoke studio and visitor centre.

Founded by Cheryl Jamieson in 2008, Glansin Glass is based in Unst in Shetland, Britain’s most northerly island. Cheryl specialises in the design of contemporary fused glass including jewellery, tableware, and art pieces and draws inspiration from her surroundings to create bespoke pieces.

Following a package of support which included 1:1 business advice and support on her business plan, Business Gateway encouraged Cheryl to take the next step to grow her business which involved building a new studio and visitor centre near her home in Uyeasound.

Business Gateway helped Cheryl put together a complex tailored finance package to enable the project to go forward. By working with the team, Cheryl was able to apply for multiple funding opportunities, and secured over £100k from LEADER, a programme funded by the Scottish Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. It was also supported by Shetland Islands Council and this cash injection gave her the ability to start construction.

The space, which opened in May 2021 following a 12-month delay because of the pandemic, comprises of a workshop, display, storage and office areas as well as an area for teaching classes and a decked outdoor area. Glansin Glass has since been able to welcome visitors and host workshops, with over 300 people attending classes since June.

Cheryl was also able to take advantage of DigitalBoost, Scotland’s digital upskilling programme delivered by Business Gateway. Through this free programme of resources and 1:1 advice, Glansin Glass was able to undergo a Digital Health Check and attend webinars. These have helped her redesign her website to help her sell products online to a wider market.

Cheryl, founder, Glansin Glass, said: “Without Business Gateway, this project would have been a non-starter and my adviser Diana was integral to the process of applying for various funding packages.

“Since launching the workshops in June, we’ve been booked solid, working six days a week and putting on additional sessions to accommodate the growing demand. However now that the summer season is ending, I have some more time to focus on creating my own products, and it’s fantastic to be able to do this in a bespoke space.”

As well as advice on marketing, premises, extensive funding support and advice about financial restructuring, Cheryl also took part in a unique development programme specifically tailored to meet the needs of local self-employed women called Realise.

Launched by Business Gateway, in partnership with The Pure Energy Centre as part of the W-Power Project, eight women entrepreneurs were selected to take part in the six-month pilot programme. Through peer to peer support, this focused on how to effectively utilise digital platforms to build and grow a business and was delivered virtually through Zoom.

Cheryl said: “The Realise programme was well delivered, with useful course content that helped us navigate the challenges of the pandemic. It also provided a valuable opportunity to network and connect with other businesswomen based in Shetland.”

Kirsten Nicolson, Business Gateway manager, said: “Almost two years after work started on Cheryl’s new studio and workshop, it’s incredible to see it open and welcoming a high number of customers. I’m confident this will not only benefit the long-term growth of Glansin Glass, but also support tourism to the area, bringing wider economic benefits to Unst.

“Ultimately, no project is too small or large, and for anyone who has an idea that seems out of reach, come and speak to the team at Business Gateway. As was the case for Glansin Glass, our advisers will work with you to pull together a strong and robust case for funding to help you achieve your business growth objectives.”