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Rural Leadership Programme

Rural Leadership participants 2020

Rural Leadership Programme

Applications for our 2021-2022 programme will open in spring 2021.

We're living in unprecedented times when the business environment is affected, and perhaps changed for ever, by the twin uncertainties of COVID-19 and Brexit. Businesses will need strong leadership if they're to get through a period of intense change and take advantage of opportunities that will arise in future.

If you're a business owner or manager based in a rural location and want to develop your leadership skills and grow your business, our Rural Leadership Programme is for you.

What's it about?

This unique and challenging programme has a new virtual format and is now in its 14th year with over 630 graduates.

The Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme is designed to equip rural business owners and managers with the confidence and skills to make bold decisions and to get the best from themselves, their business and their team.

Through an engaging interactive format, our programme focuses on self-development and self-awareness to empower business leaders to effectively respond to the challenges and complexities of running a business and to enact positive change in the wider rural economy.

Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme Celebration of Success Event 2020 at Guardswell Farm in Perthshire

Who's it for?

Are you an ambitious farmer, rural business owner, manager or employee involved in running or managing a small to medium-sized business in Scotland?  Are you pushed for time?  Do you have a strong desire to improve Scotland’s rural economy and communities?

We are seeking rural leaders or key employees who have ambitions for the future of their business and recognise the need to change their business model, learn new skills, embrace digital technologies and a new way of working and respond to their customers’ needs.  Our programme is designed especially for busy people and the virtual format means time away from your business is minimal.

Feedback and benefits

“Having completed the course, I feel I have a renewed sense of ambition and optimism about the future of my business. And I feel better equipped to bring about the changes necessary to realise that ambition.”

“It’s such a powerful network. I know I could pick up the phone, and I do, to any fellow Rural Leader for advice or to bounce an idea.”

Feedback from recent programmes has been excellent and recognised by government and other rural institutions.

Real impact has been in the significant transformation of many graduates’ businesses:

  • Gaining the confidence to make bold decisions
  • Taking a step back to concentrate on leading as well as managing
  • Changing roles and delegating to others
  • Resolving family issues that hold businesses back
  • Taking on an important role within the sector
  • Lobbying parliament to change legislation
  • Unrivalled networking opportunity with other like-minded, ambitious people
Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme Celebration of Success Event 2020 at Guardswell Farm in Perthshire

Programme activities

Led by key experts in their field, the programme includes over 40 hours of virtual workshops, team tasks, group discussion and one-to-one coaching sessions over six months.

Run from October 2021 to March 2022, there will be four regional groups, each with 10 participants.

Participants initially join one of four regional groups - Highland (Inverness), North East (near Banchory), East and South East (near Edinburgh), South West Scotland (near Ayr) with opportunities to come together as one large group for later workshops.

Find out more

Join one of our introductory webinars to find out how the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme could benefit you and hear more from the facilitators and leadership coaches. We highly recommend doing this.

We will add more information on webinars in spring 2021.

Download our 2020-2021 programme flyer (PDF, 580kB) to get an idea of what is involved

Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme Celebration of Success Event 2020 at Guardswell Farm in Perthshire
Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme Celebration of Success Event 2020 at Guardswell Farm in Perthshire

Fees and how to apply

The majority of the costs are covered by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise with participants fees set at £400 + VAT.

Applications have now closed. They will open again in spring 2021.

For general enquiries contact Aileen Carr at SAC Consulting:

aileen.carr@sac.co.uk or call 01307 464033