Business Gateway support helps open Scotland’s first outdoor sports shop for women

Beinn Nibheis (Scottish Gaelic for Ben Nevis) was launched earlier this year by Eilidh Sykes (on right)

SCOTLAND’S first outdoor sports retailer for women has opened after the business owner received dedicated support and signposting to funding from Business Gateway.  

Beinn Nibheis, Scottish Gaelic for Ben Nevis, was launched earlier this year by Eilidh Sykes, a keen hillwalker and outdoor enthusiast.  

She spotted a gap in the outdoor clothing market for women and wanted to tackle this by opening an online shop, as well as a physical store in Fort William, which is known as the outdoor capital of the UK. 

The store stocks female-owned brands and specialises in outdoor clothing for women, both beginners and professionals, who have an interest in outdoor pursuits. 

Armed with a strong business idea and in search for the practical knowledge requiredto start her own business, Eilidh approached Business Gateway to find out how to take her idea from concept to cash.  

Eilidh accessed a suite of Business Gateway’s start-up services, including 1:1 support from a dedicated business adviser, as well as advice on her business plan, funding, and marketing. This support was instrumental for Eilidh receiving a start-up grant from Highland Council which helped towards costs for the initial opening of the store.  

Business Gateway also signposted Eilidh to the Highland Council Coastal Communities Digital Grant, which is only available in Lochaber, and allowed her access to a high-end software system. This system was crucial for integrating her website with the websites of the other brands that she sells. 

Through Business Gateway, Eilidh also attended a webinar dedicated to running and starting a rural business, which discussed the challenges and opportunities that this presents. Strong social media content was identified as essential for launching, which Eilidh was also able to develop through a 1:1 surgery she attended via DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital upskilling programme, delivered by Business Gateway.  

Beinn Nibheis has proved extremely popular since launching, and the brand launched its brand-new website on the 25 October. Eilidh now has plans to manufacture her very own outdoor clothing range for women.  

Eilidh Sykes, Beinn Nibheis director, said: “The outdoor clothing market for women is lagging behind and, having been involved in the outdoor industry all my life, I really wanted to tackle this issue by opening my own shop.  

“The support I have received from Business Gateway has been fantastic and I’m so pleased they saw something in my rural business. I felt supported throughout the whole process and have really developed my business knowledge and confidence. The skills I have developed through webinars and surgeries gave me the skills required to consider a physical shop as well as an online presence.” 

Emma Lawson, Business Gateway adviser, said: “Supporting female-owned businesses, especially in rural communities, is something that Business Gateway is passionate about. We were able to support Eilidh through a range of our start-up services, so it’s great to see this support helped to successfully launch Scotland’s first female outdoor clothing shop.”  

For more information on how Business Gateway can help your business, visit:  

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