Media release: Immerse yourself in Lochaber Ideas Week 2019

Ideas week launch photo-2

FROM Monday 18 to Friday 22 November 2019, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce once again presents Lochaber Ideas Week, its flagship week of events to inspire, educate and motivate the business and wider community of Lochaber and the Highlands; bringing everyone together to focus on and celebrate the power of ideas.

The 2019 Lochaber Ideas Week programme is an action-packed week of workshops, stimulating discussions, lively networking events and inspiring talks, all staged in Fort William and across the region.

It features some fascinating people with inspirational stories; invaluable business skills training; vital business debates, together with action-orientated discussions hitting on today’s critical cultural and social issues.

As well as partnering with organisations across the Highlands to offer exclusive opportunities to promote business growth, the 2019 programme also includes a special reimagined tourism day in Glencoe.

The 2018 Lochaber Ideas Week was the busiest yet, with over 1,000 people taking part in a wide range of seminars, workshops and talks.

CEO of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, Frazer Coupland, reflected on its success; whilst looking ahead to this year’s exciting programme: “As we launch our sixth annual Lochaber Ideas Week, it is exciting to see how the week has grown and evolved to become a cornerstone of the Chamber’s work that is deeply engaged and owned by our community. We believe that events like this can be a catalyst for positive economic and social change and will, therefore, help to build a better-connected community.

“Lochaber Ideas Week is all about inspiration and creativity in business. It’s a week of events offering everyone the opportunity to think about the big picture and make connections as well as learn new business skills. It’s open to the entire community and we’re delighted that so many people come along and get involved.  We’re proud to be able to bring such a unique and inspiring range of events to Lochaber.”

Lochaber Ideas Week 2019 programme highlights include:

Monday 18 November

Russell Jones will entertain the audience with a lively motivational talk based on his experience of making the huge life change from renowned Kingussie shinty player to globe-crossing long-distance cyclist.  Russell’s humour, attitude and tales of adventure around the world guarantee an uplifting and inspiring evening.

Business Skills Seminars – In the morning session John Paul Hughes, the guru of creativity in business, will encourage attendees to ‘think different’ in our approach to all areas of our work. In the afternoon, former top-level international rower and diplomat, Cath Bishop, will draw on her experiences in elite sport and international relations to lead a special session on ‘practical strategies’ for improving performance and creating strong teams.

Tuesday 19 November

The fast-paced and incredibly popular ‘Around Lochaber in 80 Tables’ speed-networking event. Last year’s event led to some new collaborative business ventures as well as offering a fun and effective way to make direct business to business connections.

Taking its cue from the climate challenge facing us all, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce is hosting an important workshop for all businesses on ‘Net Zero Business’, featuring a range of contributors from industry and environmental backgrounds to discuss and tackle the challenges and imperative of becoming a zero-carbon economy.

Question Time – a lively evening of debate when a diverse panel from business, community and politics will face wide-ranging Q & A from members of the Lochaber public.

Wednesday 20 November

Lochaber Ideas Week’s first-ever Women in Business Seminar, focusing on the topic of ‘Leaning into Leadership’ with special guest speaker, Sarah Heward, owner of the Real Food Cafe, Tyndrum. Sarah is a truly inspirational business woman who turned a derelict ‘Little Chef’ in Tyndrum into a thriving and innovative fast-food eatery, with a strong ethical and environmental focus.

Lord David Steel will deliver this year’s Charles Kennedy Lecture, the annual lecture set up in memory of the former Liberal Democrat leader and long-serving Lochaber MP.

Lord Steel, himself a former leader of the Liberal Democrats and long-serving MP with a very distinguished career in politics and public service, follows in the esteemed footsteps of Baron Jim Wallace, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Lord Thurso and Alastair Campbell as guest speaker.

Thursday 21 November

The 2019 Tourism Summit at the new Kingshouse Hotel, Glencoe, where big names from the industry will consider the hot tourism topics of today and future trends for Lochaber and beyond. Mountain biker and brand ambassador, Hannah Barnes, and renowned photographer, Brodie Hood, will demonstrate how to use social media to best effect to connect with your audience; Pat Duglass from Sustrans will discuss the huge opportunities for cycle tourism; Stephen Leckie (CEO of Crieff Hydro group of hotels) will inspire attendees with his vision for tourism and doing things the independent way;  and Cat Leaver, director of newly-created ‘Brand Scotland’, will give delegates an insight into the new Scottish strategy for success.

Friday 22 November

Leadership coach, Don MacNaughton, will lead a motivational seminar on getting the most from your teams and yourself.

The week is rounded off by the Lochaber Ideas Week Gala Dinner, hosted by VisitScotland’s Riddell Graham, at the Moorings Hotel, Fort William. This year’s after-dinner speaker is inspirational entrepreneur Mike Stevenson, whose journey from a life on the streets to successful entrepreneur is as riveting as it is inspiring and uplifting.

To find out more about all the events taking place during Lochaber Ideas Week and to book tickets; and how you can boost your business through sponsorship opportunities, go to

or call 01397 705 765 to chat to a member of the team.


Media contact

Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E:

M: +44 (0)7913 951717

Images attached: Caption: Lisa Wharton and Mark Gibbings, from Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, immerse themselves in the finer details of the Lochaber Ideas Week programme. Please credit Brodie Hood. Other photos can be downloaded here:

Notes for editors:

Lochaber Ideas Week

Lochaber Ideas Week is owned by Lochaber Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce is a fully affiliated member of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce network, which together represents more than 12,000 businesses throughout Scotland.

Lochaber Chamber represents more than 200 businesses in Lochaber collectively employing 3,500+ people across all sectors [c60 per cent 15-64 age working population in Lochaber]. They work locally, nationally and internationally to support business from sole traders to international organisations.

Ultimately, Lochaber Ideas Week is a catalyst to stimulate fresh initiatives and ventures, creating new connections and points of collaboration designed to enhance Fort William and Lochaber, The Outdoor Capital of the UK, as a fantastic place in which to live, work and visit.

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce website:

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Contact: Paddy Cuthbert