The first graduate to complete the TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme in the Highlands and Islands has set up her own business.
Elizabeth Todd, a marketing graduate from Edinburgh University, secured a 12 month placement with Isle of Eriska Hotel, Golf and Spa in summer 2010.
During her placement she worked on a new marketing strategy for the business, with a focus on social and online marketing.
Following on from the experience she has set up Tweetiepie Media, a social marketing consultancy and management company.
Founded in July 2011, she has already secured a number of clients, including DiMaggio's chain of seven Italian restaurants in Glasgow.
Elizabeth said: "It was an exciting step going through the process of setting up my own business and having grown up in a family business environment I always knew at some point this is what I wanted to do. Having spoken to many people who have already been through it, I decided that now was probably the best time. It wasn't until I really got to grips with social media for business during my placement at the Isle of Eriska that I gained the confidence, contacts and more importantly a business idea."
Beppo Buchanan-Smith, Director of Isle of Eriska Hotel, said: "The aim of Elizabeth's project was to work on online sales as a priority and we have increased these by 100%. Now the target will be to sustain the growth that she created."
The TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme offers 3-12 months placements with businesses and social enterprises across Scotland in a variety of sectors. In the Highlands and Islands the programme is managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
The graduates on these paid placements also benefit from a residential business skills training course delivered by Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University and the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde University.
As part of her placement, Elizabeth took part in the five day training course in December 2010 where she learnt basic business skills such as project and financial planning, market research and selling, negotiation skills and an introduction to human resources.
After completing her placement, Elizabeth was supported by The Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) in setting up her business.
Andrea McColl, Graduate Engagement Manager at HIE, commented: "It is great to see one of our graduates successfully deliver her project for her host business and at the same time gain the confidence and business skills she needed to set up her own business. We wish her all the best for her career."
The Programme is a multi-party programme of HIE, Scottish Enterprise, Association of Graduate Careers Advisers and the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland. In the Highlands and Islands, the Programme is part funded by HIE and the European Regional Development Fund.