Expressions of interest to attend this year's Rural Youth Project Ideas Festival are now open.

Starting on Friday 29 November and concluding Sunday 1 December, the Rural Youth Project Ideas Festival residential weekend will be a mixture of workshops, inspiring speakers, fun outdoor and indoor activities, evening functions and networking with young people across the world that will leave delegates empowered to make real and lasting change in their rural communities.

An upcoming business seminar will explore the concept of farm business incubators as a route into farming for new entrants in Scotland.

The NEWBIE business seminar at AgriScot on 20 November will be a chance to hear about an international exchange to north France and how farm business incubators to help new entrants there.

A group of farmers are working with SAC Consulting and a data company to develop distributed ledger, or blockchain, technology that will allow consumers to trace oats along the supply chain and be assured they are gluten free.

A new programme has launched to help businesses develop their online presence and make the most of the digital opportunities available.

GrowOnline is an online programme open to anyone. If you sign up you will have access to a wide range of online resources including ideas, information, tutorials and mutual support from participants.

The programme has been developed by community-based enterprise support organisation GrowBiz as part of its new Making Rural Business Digital project.

From growing lemons on Lewis to a Michelin-starred chef cooking Skye mutton, Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) groups are pioneering a range of new routes to take local produce to market on the islands. RISS provides professional support to farmers interested in trying new things. It connects them with the right people and helps them develop a viable project.

Six projects will benefit from £438,000 of investment to drive innovation in farming and food production.

Delivered through the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund, the new funding supports projects that introduce innovative approaches to enhancing competitiveness, promoting efficiency, and helping businesses shift to a low carbon climate resistant economy.

Announcing the funding while visiting Stravenhouse Farm near Carluke, one of the farms involved in the project, Rural Minister Mairi Gougeon said:

The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) Contact Point is preparing a series of 'LEADER thematic labs'.

There will be up to four labs with 30 LEADER stakeholders in each. The thematic labs will be an opportunity for an in-depth exchange of ideas and will include keynote presentations, discussion of lessons learnt, including enabling factors and challenges, current achievements and future outlook. 

Would you like to travel overseas to research a new idea?

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust is currently accepting applications for Churchill Fellowships.

The fellowships offer an opportunity for anyone to research new ideas overseas and make change happen in their profession or community when the return.

Would you like to see your broadband project recognised at a European level?

The European Broadband Awards are open for entries ​to big or small, rural or urban, private or public projects. Projects should be at least 65% complete. 

The five award categories are:

Green Villages

The aim of the project is to build pro-ecological attitudes towards the inhabitants of rural areas. It is directed to residents of areas covered by the LEADER programme, especially for people living in single-family houses, people with farms.

Find out more