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The Islands' Partnership is delighted to report the busiest ever Scilly Business Week, with more than 200 participant slots snapped up across the week. There were more than a dozen sessions in total – ranging from workshops about online book-ability and Food Hygiene & Safety to how businesses can engage with and benefit from Plastic Free Scilly and how to prepare for the new General Data Protection Regulations that come into force in May.

We were also delighted to welcome to Scilly, Donna Kehoe, South West agent for the Bank of England who hosted a round-table, and Tim Bagshaw from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership who delivered a keynote session on the recently published 10 Opportunities prospectus for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly.

And there was also plenty of opportunities to chat to the business and finance experts one-to-one as well as to network with fellow businesses across the islands at lunches hosted by the Islands’ Partnership, Smart Islands and by our generous sponsors, the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth & Skills Hub.  Businesses on the islands also showcased new products they are introducing this year, including a new mobile booking app for St. Agnes Boating, extended premises and new product lines and premises at Island Fish and the opening in May of Longstone Lodge, a new style of accommodation for Scilly.

“I enjoyed the Smart Islands panel session and hearing the panel's 'on the spot' responses to the questions posed,” says Sarah Poat of Polreath Tea Rooms & Guesthouse. “The subsequent workshop buzzed. Everyone had plenty to say and lots of ideas and the panel members facilitating each group had to work hard to keep us on task!  I also thought the Plastic Free Scilly session was great. If our combined interest and support can instigate change then fantastic. Whilst we banished single-use plastics from our daily routines at Polreath a number of years ago now, Nikki Banfield, from the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust provided us with lots of fascinating facts, figures and ideas as to how we can reduce our reliance on plastic even more and encourage others to do the same.”

Anna Cawthray from Scilly Seal Snorkelling agrees: “The Plastic Free Scilly session was thought provoking with useful advice on ways to reduce single-use plastic. There seemed that there was a lot of enthusiasm in the room to make changes and hopefully that can be capitalised on to help preserve our stunning natural environment. The social media presentation was highly entertaining with useful exercises that helped you focus on who your customers are and how to reach them,” she adds. “The information about Search Engine Optimisation was especially useful and I have used the website recommended on the course to review my own website and make improvements accordingly.  It's always good to meet with other businesses before the season starts to find out what's new and to realise that you might not be the only one who's not quite fully prepared yet!” 

Kirsty Graham, from the Isles of Scilly Voucher Scheme summed up: “I really enjoyed Scilly Business Week this year. It feels like it is really gathering momentum”; whilst Nick Benatar, General Manager of Tregarthen’s Hotel, which hosted most of the week, was keen thank his staff and the Islands’ Partnership, as well as the speakers for putting on such a successful week. 

“There was a great atmosphere to this year’s Scilly Business Week and lots of enthusiasm for the workshops and presentations taking place. It’s a great opener for the new season,” says Chris Phillips, Business Connector for the CIOS Growth Hub. “We’re delighted to have supported this event again this year. Connecting business owners and entrepreneurs with the right support, funding and training opportunities to help them work smarter and grow is what the Growth Hub is all about, so it’s a great fit for us. Anyone looking for a helping hand for their business can get in touch any time.”

“There was a strong business presence at this year’s Scilly Business Week, with a great range of topics discussed and debated,” adds David Jackson, Islands’ Partnership Executive Director. “The anecdotal feedback we’ve received has been really positive, with many saying it was the best yet. Nonetheless, we are currently carrying out a Scilly Business Week survey that will help us gauge levels of satisfaction as well as ensure we keep topics relevant in the future. I would like to thank Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth & Skills Hub for their generous support and in helping us to make Scilly Business Week a great success.”