Borders women lined up to speak at Borders Gateway conference

Hazel Smith, founder of the Eyemouth-based ReTweed.
Hazel Smith, founder of the Eyemouth-based ReTweed.

Two industry leaders from the Borders are set to join experts in food, knitwear and digital marketing on a panel of speakers which will address businessmen and women in Kelso next month.

The annual Scottish Borders Business Gateway conference will feature representatives from businesses including Harris Tweed and Mackie’s of Scotland as well as local firms ReTweed and ThermaFY.

The conference, and the guest speakers, are aiming to inspire, encourage and support the region’s businesses in growing and adapting.

The event also offers an opportunity for businessmen and women to make new connections, share experience and learn about the exciting prospects for the region’s economy.

Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “The Business Gateway conference is a great chance for Scottish Borders businesses and entrepreneurs to hear some fantastic speakers talk about their experiences and thoughts on a wide variety of business matters, including technology, innovation, going digital and developing rural businesses.

“I’d strongly encourage local businesspeople to sign up early to guarantee their place at this free event.”

First on the bill Harris Tweed Hebrides creative director Mark Hogarth. He’s worked as a branding consultant in fashion and textiles for the firm since 2008 and his work as part of the multi award-winning firm has been credited with transforming the unique heritage industry.

Inspiration from closer to home will come from Amanda Pickford, founder of ThermaFY a software company which develops specialist thermal analysis solutions from its Kelso base.

Also appearing is Hazel Smith, founder of Eyemouth social enterprise ReTweed. Her work offers women a new way to think about their futures by gaining the skills and experience for creative industries.

Sarah Johnson, co-founder and director of Glasgow analytics firm IndigoLeap, will also talk at the event. She is a seasoned digital marketer, with more than 15 years’ experience in the industry and helping clients achieve their business growth objectives, quickly and profitably.

Completing the line-up is Mackie’s of Scotland’s marketing director Karin Hayhow. The family business is based in Westertown which has been home to an ice cream factory since 1986. The firm remains a popular and well-known household name and established global brand, and continues to expand its product range to now include, crisps, popcorn and chocolate.

Business Gateway’s start up and growth business advisers will also all be on hand at the conference to answer any queries and discuss the range of support that can be provided.

The free full-day conference is being held on Wednesday, October 30 at Kelso Racecourse and is open to business of all sizes and in all sectors.

This event is being funded from the European Regional Development Fund.

Spaces at the conference can be booked online via or by calling 01835 825600.

The Business Gateway service is delivered locally by Scottish Borders Council.