Setting up her business in the Highlands has been hugely beneficial, according to Leyla. Here she has found an incredibly supportive business community and network of support. She found out about the newly-formed Highland Food and Drink Network in 2020 from a business contact and immediately signed up. “People are so willing to help. And they don’t ask for anything back! They believe in you what you’re doing”, explains Leyla.
Since then, she’s received support to develop her digital offering, attended a couple of online trade shows and joined a consultation to help steer the direction of a new food and drink TechHub being planned for the Highlands. She was also signposted to the Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards, at which her Coconut, Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime Gourmet Curry won a Highly Commended Award. With so many awards out there and entries often requiring a significant time (and cost) investment, Leyla appreciated receiving advice around which ones to focus on.
When asked what she would say to a business considering joining the HFDIN, Leyla says, “Do it! What have you got to lose? Make the most of it - there’s so much help out there, you just have to ask. There’s such a network for businesses both big and small, and we’re all willing to help each other.”
As well as making business contacts, Leyla talks about another benefit she’s experienced. “I made a friend!” she exclaims. Thanks to the HFDIN, she’s become close with another local business owner - Highland Cracker’s founder, Donna Peacock.