Gemma Matthews (far right, above, with members of the AmazeMeLEADER Finland team - more to follow) worked with GrowBiz as an Intern over the summer. During her time with us, Gemma fitted in with the team perfectly – not least because she quickly realised the importance of keeping our chocolate biscuit supply topped up. It is fair to say that Gemma more than exceded our expectations, and her contributions in working on the GrowBiz 10th birthday video and other upcoming projects proved invaluable. Here’s what Gemma had to say about her time with GrowBiz:-
This internship has been an incredible experience for so many reasons. I was extremely lucky that this opportunity came up at the same time as so many milestones for GrowBiz, including its tenth birthday. My first project, interviewing and filming clients for the Birthday Video alongside Kelly Mcintyre, was a fantastic experience thanks to the enthusiasm of everyone who took part. This project quickly allowed me to meet loads of clients and it didn’t take long for me to feel part of the GrowBiz community. It is this sense of community that makes GrowBiz truly unique, not just in the world of business support but as a professional organization in general.
As an intern, it is often hard to really feel part of the team you work with because you lack the knowledge and experience that everyone else has. From the beginning of this internship, however, I have been able to be myself, ask questions and feel like a valued member of the team. Being given responsibility and autonomy with tasks has empowered me to gain new skills and confidence in myself. For two weeks, I was given control of GrowBiz’s social media. The Twitter chat #PerthshireHour was my favourite part of my social media takeover – so many people interacted, asked me about my internship and tweeted with a real sense of humour.
My bigger project has been to work on a “toolkit” to help other areas of Scotland create their own GrowBiz-type organisations. This has been fascinating because I have had to explore absolutely everything about GrowBiz – its ethos, relationship with clients, types of support, mentoring scheme and networks. A definite highlight for me has been the Women’s Enterprise Network events – no matter what my background was, everyone at these events took an interest and treated me as an equal.
Another exciting aspect of my “toolkit” project is the fact that it is going to be completed by young people. At the end of my internship, I will be handing my work over to Nathan Mowatt, a young local photographer. Nathan will be putting the text I have created with Jackie into a beautifully designed online magazine – our hope is that it will be professional but also fully interactive and able to convey the flexibility and dynamism of GrowBiz’s rural enterprise support. With photographs and headshots courtesy of Kelly Mcintyre, we will also be able to portray the beautiful landscape and community of rural Perthshire throughout the toolkit.
Now I am coming to the end of my time working with GrowBiz, I want to thank Jackie, Merle, Alison, Mark, Bravo, Jennifer, Corrie and the GrowBiz Board in particular for being such a friendly and welcoming team. Watching and working with Jackie has allowed me to learn so much about business and being an entrepreneur. Her patience is something I really appreciate. Next, I want to thank Kelly Mcintyre who has been great fun to work alongside and has produced so many videos and photographs that will make the toolkit look fantastic. Finally, thank you to GrowBiz clients for being so welcoming. It’s been great getting to know especially everyone at Create at Nest and Kirsty from Molke who have helped with all my projects this summer.
After finishing my internship, I will be going to Finland on an adventure seminar about rural enterprise in Europe – I promise to keep you all posted. In September, I will be going into my final year at St Andrews University and completing my degree in International Relations with Modern History. I won’t be forgetting about GrowBiz anytime soon, however, as I hope to encourage more students to pursue their own business ideas this year. My experience with GrowBiz has opened my mind to so many more opportunities after university and motivated me to create my own opportunities wherever possible.
We are pleased to report that Gemma returned from Finland in one piece - albeit exhausted! – this weekend, and we look forward to hearing more about her adventure soon.