Although this month’s Shetland Life is about business, it hasn’t felt much like work putting it together – in fact, as usual it has been a real pleasure.
The word “business”, to some, may conjure up images of profits, paperwork and bar graphs. But at the heart of every business there is always a person with a dream. Local enterprising people and their personal stories are the focus of this month’s magazine.
This issue hosts a wealth of inspirational tales: from Dorota Rychlik opening up an independent commercial gallery in Lerwick, to the stories behind Keepsake Castings and Shetland Cleaning Crew. We feature some very young local entrepreneurs (such as Gavin Bell and Regan Williamson), and some whose slightly more mature vintages prove that it’s never too late to try something new.
If you are considering making your long-held business dream a reality, you’ll find plenty to inspire and advise you here. First of all, you can be reassured by the excellent level of support Shetland provides would-be entrepreneurs: Business Gateway, for example, is always on hand to offer advice and even free training. You can also take heart in research findings (published last year) that UK wide, Shetland start-ups have the best chance of success.
Why is this, I wonder? Surely Shetland should be disadvantaged by its unforgiving climate and its great distance from the mainland. Yet, these two factors may account for your average hardy Shetlander’s resourcefulness and enterprising nature. These islands (where a short walk becomes an endurance test during windy periods) nurture grit and determination. Shetland is an inspiring and energising place to live, and this is reflected in the entrepreneurial spirit which is on display wherever you care to look.
A personal highlight for me this month was taking a look behind the scenes at the Shetland Bike Project. This social enterprise has helped so many people to get their lives back on track. Plus, they sell a great range of bicycles and teach bike maintenance classes to school bairns. What’s not to love?
If business isn’t your bag, then there’s plenty of other stuff specially selected to tickle your fancy. If this never-ending winter has sapped your joie de vivre, then take a tip from Pete Richardson and follow his directions for an uplifting walk around the Ness (while warming your lugs with the Fair-Isle headband which is this month’s Speedcrafting creation). Then, you can return home and follow Akshay Borges’ recipe for a deliciously spicy monkfish and salmon dish (take it from me, it’s amazing). While you wait for the fish to marinate, you can read Vivian Ross-Smith’s article about the inspiration behind her current Bonhoga exhibition, Liam Anderson’s gardening tips and much more.
Plenty, then, to keep you occupied through this blessedly short month. See you in March, when we’ll be springing into a new season (finally!) with our “out and about” issue. Check out our blog later this month if you’d like a sneak preview of what we have in store for you.