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A virtual business club is setting up in Oban to connect local firms and hold monthly breakfast meetings once the lockdown rules are relaxed.
The idea has come from Daniel MacIntyre, a business and marketing consultant who runs The Little Bay Trading Company in Oban, which represents clients across Argyll and even as far away as France.
Andrew Spence, chief executive of BID4Oban, has welcomed the new initiative which was due to be discussed at a virtual meeting involving Mr MacIntyre and the BID board on Tuesday, May 5.
Mr Spence said: ‘This is all about pulling together and working together because if we all pull and work together, we can make sure we come out the other side of this.’
Mr MacIntyre, a director at The View on George Street, said the aim of the Oban Business Club is to create a free network of people in the town to work together and share expertise.
He said: ‘The Oban Business Club will help encourage a team spirit among our business community. It will provide an opportunity for key players to come together and help champion and address our collective needs.
‘What can we do to help each other recover in the coming months and years? There is lot of support out there which will help individual businesses in the short term, but Oban also needs to take a medium-to-long term view of recovery.
‘To do so, we will need to encourage fresh ideas and club together to respond to the big changes that are going to impact our businesses, jobs and livelihoods.
‘I firmly believe that Oban needs to collaborate better and innovate faster. In its simplest form that means doing business with one another, or maybe having that coffee with another business person to discuss a new product or service development.
‘I feel we need to take a good long hard look at seasonality and how we embrace a digital economy to increase our resilience by having more all year round trade.’
The club could end up hosting a quarterly social event featuring ‘inspirational speakers, a round-table discussion and networking opportunities’.
At first, the plan is to connect online and once the lockdown restrictions are relaxed, a monthly breakfast meeting would take place at an alternating venue in Oban to help businesses ‘meet, learn and support each other’.
The aim is to help firms with business development and position Oban as a place of ‘enterprise, culture, tourism and a University town’, said Mr MacIntyre.
He said: ‘The (virtual) club is inclusive, so it doesn’t matter if you are a start-up, small-medium enterprise, social enterprise or a high-growth international business.’
Businesses are encouraged to sign-up at www.obanview.com/obanbusinessclub/