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  • Writer's pictureLinda Andrews - Editorial Assistant, Nuse Online

Nature Education & Outdoor Experience Expands Business

An Aberdeenshire nature education and outdoor experience business has successfully expanded its service offering after the business owner received support and funding advice from Business Gateway.

Located in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park of Scotland, Wild Braemar provides unique services such as guided walks, wild swimming adventures, outdoor learning, nature art sessions and creative workshops that are tailored exclusively to clients.

The business was launched in 2022 by Annie Armstrong, a qualified open water swimming guide, and has since welcomed both locals and international visitors, being situated close to notable tourist attractions such as Balmoral Castle.

Having studied Zoology at the University of St. Andrews, Annie has worked and trained with ecologists and scientists all over the world. It was through these travels that Annie sought to start her own unique business built around sustainable tourism in Scotland, which would also highlight some of Scotland’s outstanding natural areas.

Despite enjoying a successful launch, Wild Braemar’s scope for expansion was limited. Annie operating as a one-woman business drove her decision to begin working with other local freelance guides and activity providers, ensuring the business could maximise their capacity for booking. Annie then went on to approach Business Gateway for advice and guidance on how to future-proof her business operations.

Through Business Gateway, Annie accessed one-to-one guidance from a dedicated business adviser, as well as advice on funding and HR issues.

Annie also attended several of Business Gateway’s webinars, which focused on subjects including website optimisation, how to protect and manage your IP, bookkeeping, and building an effective strategy to grow.

Since approaching Business Gateway, Wild Braemar has successfully expanded its service offering, launch a new riverside sauna experience, which can be combined with guided wild swimming for those looking for a bit of luxury. The business has also launched a small programme of forest training school sessions for the local community, offering a free outdoor learning service.

Annie Armstrong, Founder, Wild Braemar, said:

‘‘Business Gateway has given me the confidence that I can run my own business. My mentor provided me with fantastic contacts to support me going forward, saving me time, money and stress. He also helped me to fight the imposter syndrome and made me feel that I can succeed as a business.”

Guilherme Theiss De Roso, Adviser at Business Gateway, commented: ‘‘Annie has worked extremely hard to ensure that her business stands out. We were able to support her through our one-to-one guidance, which has helped her build relationships and collaborate with bigger private companies. We will continue to support Annie and are looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Wild Braemar.’’


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