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Meet our Summer Intern, Gemma!

Meet our Summer Intern, Gemma!

Working with us this summer, we have student Gemma, who has just completed her third year studying for an Undergraduate Degree in International Relations with Modern History at St. Andrews University. And she recently had the good news that she has passed her year exams with a flying first!

We asked Gemma to write a blog for us on her expectations, and first impressions of GrowBiz, and this is what she had to say!


On my first day of this internship, I jumped in my car, anxious to leave plenty of time for the journey to Dunkeld, with certain assumptions about how my day would go. Of course, these assumptions proved to be completely and utterly wrong.

I arrived at the Duchess Anne Hall and nervously waited in the shade for my new boss to appear. Pretty soon, Jackie and Merle pulled up by the roundabout, smiling and waving through the window. After a quick hello and handshake, we immediately got to work, pulling the banners and boxes out of the car ready for the Rural Enterprise Roundtable event. We found spare tables and carried them upstairs, making this town hall into a respectable rural business venue for the day.

The guests then started to arrive and I introduced myself to one group after another whilst rather messily eating my lunch. We then drifted upstairs to begin the roundtable discussions and presentations, for which I was tasked with taking minutes. I did not stop typing all afternoon…

Although this was quite a daunting first event, it was actually a great way to get to know GrowBiz’s ethos, services and mission better. As I listened to Jackie’s presentation and the discussion from representatives of local actions groups, councils and the Scottish Government, I realised just how unique and important the free and confidential services offered by GrowBiz were.

Of course, the role GrowBiz plays in the community (and vice versa) is incredibly important too – something which was proven at the Xchange networking event later that day at the Birnam Hotel. I was given some tasks to do, like signing people in, but took my seat as the speakers began. Afterwards, I was keen to speak to as many GrowBiz clients as possible so introduced myself to the people sitting next to me. I had been told how varied the businesses involved with GrowBiz were…but I was not expecting this pair to be renting out an inflatable pub!

So, my first day was, as they say, a baptism of fire. I would not, however, have done it any other way. Since then, I have attended a board meeting, a WEN event and have even been able to attend the mentoring course. The variety of work involved with this internship has been what I have found to be especially interesting, and have felt relaxed from the start thanks to Jackie and the team being so welcoming.

As for the upcoming weeks, I have been given a fantastic project to help make a short video for our Birthday Xchange event on 29th June which will showcase GrowBiz’s clients and how far everyone has come over the past decade. Another project is to create an interactive toolkit so other areas of Scotland (and possibly the world) will be better able to create their own type of GrowBiz organisation. Although maybe a little bit daunted at the beginning, I am really excited to continue working with the team, board members and clients over the summer and will hopefully finish my projects to the proper GrowBiz standard.

Gemma Matthews 







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