New online courses to support businesses adapting amid COVID-19

Local entrepreneurs can turn their ideas into reality through new online workshops at Robert Gordon University (RGU) which aim to support business creation and drive economic growth in communities.

The LINA Online Business Toolkit Workshop is part of the Libraries Innovation Network Aberdeenshire (LINA) initiative, which is designed to help existing and start-up businesses grow.

A partnership between RGU and Aberdeenshire Council, LINA was launched last year to offer libraries as modern co-working spaces and resources to support business creation and drive economic growth in rural communities through the development of new products, services and opportunities.

The Online Business Toolkit Workshop is expanding on the network’s already successful workshops which were previously held in Banff and Peterhead libraries. However, due to the current ongoing COVID-19 situation the workshop will be solely online.

Chris Moule, head of entrepreneurship and innovation at RGU, said: “In partnership with Live Life Aberdeenshire, RGU have quickly responded to the changing needs of the rural entrepreneurial community and put all learning materials and workshops online - providing flexibility whilst maintaining quality of provision.

“We understand that, like their urban counterparts, rural businesses are going through challenging times and we hope the LINA programme can continue to encourage innovation, stimulate new ideas and connect like-minded entrepreneurs for guidance and support.”

The workshop includes interactive learning, case studies, and a toolkit to take away for future use. There will also be opportunities to take part in a video conference session with the LINA Programme Coordinators who will provide additional support around the programme materials.

Those who have completed the Online Business Toolkit Workshop then have the opportunity to take part in the LINA Accelerator. to support your business idea or give your existing businesses the boost it needs to grow. Delivered over six one-day sessions, this intensive accelerator programme will consider different areas of business development in detail and will begin June.

Those taking part in the LINA accelerator can expect coaching and development in key areas such as: determining the direction of your business, setting and achieving targets, adapting your business model to cut costs and increase revenue, adopting a customer-focused approach and the role of brand and marketing.

Chair of the Live Life Aberdeenshire sub-committee, David Cook, said: "I'm pleased we've been able to collaborate with our LINA project partners to help ensure our libraries are inhabited, albeit in a virtual sense.

"Live Life Aberdeenshire has been seeking ways to enhance its digital provision and we are pleased we can continue to support business creation and expand library participation within the business community in this way."

Councillor Jim Gifford, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, said: “I am delighted to see this innovative new online approach to business development given the current COVID-19 restrictions.

“Aberdeenshire Council has itself embraced digital technology to ensure many of our staff can continue to work from home and communicate with one another across all services and I am delighted to see local entrepreneurs will be able to participate through video conferencing with the LINA coordinators.”

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