EXPERIMENTATION and innovation will be the main topics at this year’s Scottish Borders Business Gateway conference.

In partnership with DigitalBoost, the conference is taking place at Kelso Racecourse on Wednesday, October 30, and will focus on the importance of doing things differently in order to help local small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete on a global scale.

Keynote speaker Mark Hogarth of Harris Tweed will focus on innovation in traditional industries, and how this is relevant across all sectors, whilst Sarah Johnson, co-founder of IndigoLeap marketing agency, will discuss the latest digital communication methods for Generation Z (digital natives born from 1995-2010).

Karin Hayhow, marketing director of Mackie’s of Scotland, will chart how this rural business has found success in an increasingly competitive market.

Completing the speaker programme are Borders entrepreneurs Hazel Smith, founder of social enterprise ReTweed, and ThermaFY’s Amanda Pickford – recently recognised as Innovator of the Year at the Women in Enterprise Awards – who will share their inspiring stories of creativity and innovation.

Mark Hogarth, creative director of Harris Tweed, commented: “I am looking forward to speaking at the Scottish Borders Business Gateway conference and sharing my own experiences of innovation and product development with the attendees.

“I believe that the key to industry success is a desire to combine pioneering, bold new ideas alongside centuries-old traditions. I hope that the business owners attending the conference will be inspired to look at their operations in a new light and consider how they can innovate to achieve their goals.”

Alongside the programme of guest speakers, Business Gateway’s start-up, growth and specialist DigitalBoost business advisers will be on hand to answer any queries and discuss the range of support available to businesses of all sizes.

Phil McCreadie, principal officer for business at Scottish Borders Council, said: “This year’s Business Gateway Conference will celebrate the hundreds of entrepreneurs across the Borders already working on exciting new ventures, whilst showcasing the additional possibilities and opportunities on offer to help take local businesses to the next level.”