Programme for SHIREs Conference announced

Norette Ferns

The line-up of speakers for the first-ever Scottish Highlands and Islands Rural Economy Conference -- the SHIREs Conference -- has been announced.

The free conference takes place at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness on 21 November.The SHIREs Conference is a focal point for the increasingly diverse modern rural economy across the Highlands, Islands and Moray. It is open to all individuals and businesses who want to find out more, and be part of the exciting developments taking place across the region

The keynote address will be given by Catriona Maclean, Deputy Director of the Scottish Government's Rural Economy and Communities Division. The event will also be a chance to hear from Alison Milne from the National Council of Rural Advisers and Tom Campbell, Chief Executive of NC500, as well as leaders of successful rural businesses such as Isle of Harris Gin.

Harper Macleod is organising the event in association with SPP Media Group, and it will be followed in the evening by the inaugural SHIREs Awards.

Professor Lorne Crerar CBE, Chairman of Harper Macleod and of HIE, who will chair the conference, said:

"Rural is a word that requires a new definition when it comes to the economy, as it means much more than it once did – a focus on the traditional activities of agriculture, fishing and forestry. You may not even realise that you are part of this economy, but in fact you are. Much work has been done at a national level to recognise the modern rural economy and how to properly support it, and this conference is part of those efforts.

"This conference was driven by demand for further conversation and debate about how best we can support and grow our modern rural economy - it's all about the businesses and organisations driving the economy, from manufacturing to tourism, and the people and communities who make modern rural Scotland thrive."

The conference is free to attend but booking is essential.

Find out more and book your place.