Back to Learning Hub

SIS Retail Academy 2.0

Applications for our Retail Academy 2.0 have closed – this page is for reference only.

This brand new programme has been designed to support existing organisations that are ready to scale up their operations in order to take their enterprise to the next level. Our sessions will help you think big, think globally and develop practical steps to expand and develop your venture.

Watch the video below to hear more about Retail Academy 2.0 from programme host Rachael Brown:


We are able to continue to develop new, leading-edge courses thanks to the support of our key partners Asda and the Scottish Government to provide more social enterprises, and entrepreneurs, access to world-famous industry experts and inspirational speakers as part of the Retail Academy programme.

Our flagship programme can help propel you and your mission-driven business to grow and thrive. This course will cover the following topics:

· Developing a leadership mindset

· Creating a plan for growth

· Managing the financials, legalities and liabilities of business growth

· Establishing retail collaborations and wholesaling deals

· Sourcing funding for growth

· Levelling up marketing and sales

· Going international

If you are currently running an established business with ambitions to grow and expand your business then this course is for you. Hear from a wide range of experts who deliver rich content in an accessible, jargon-free way.

Meet a group of brilliant social business peers to share the growth journey with and leave with practical steps that you can start applying immediately to see a difference in your business.

This is a great programme for those of us with passion for our projects but nerves about how to sell it.”

“Really massively appreciate the opportunity – we’ve set aside time to share the knowledge gained amongst the team and it’s going to have a really positive impact moving forward. Thank you!”

Follow SIS on our Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram channels and use #SISRA21 to keep up with all the latest Retail Academy 2.0 news.

Retail Academy Host

Rachael Brown: CEO – Future Economy Company

Rachael is currently CEO of The Future Economy Company, previously known as Cultural Enterprise Office. The Future Economy Company’s focus is to enable creative and social impacts to be at the heart of our economy, something that is relevant more than ever.

Rachael is experienced in supporting purpose driven businesses and creative enterprises. She is an active female leader, and proud to lead an all female team. Her background is in music, she is a trained opera singer and was a music promoter for many years.

Joined by Guest Speakers:

Andrew Miles Davis

Andrew Miles Davis: Digital Marketing Expert

Andrew Davis is a renowned keynote speaker and expert trainer in the digital marketing space. With over 20 years of experience to draw upon, Andrew has trained organisations like The Royal Mail, O2, Ogilvy, KPMG and Imperial College students to embrace a new era of creativity and innovation that’s underpinned by digital communication.

Andrew’s unique perspective has been shaped by launching and growing early social titans like MySpace, as well as traditional media like BBC Radio 1Xtra.

Kathryn Welch

Kathryn Welch: Specialist in Community Development

Kathryn is passionate about bringing people together, leading creative projects and strengthening communities. Now freelance, Kathryn has spent over a decade in senior roles across the Scottish charity and arts sectors, specialising in community development, strategic planning, project management and grant-making.

She’s formerly Director of Voluntary Arts Scotland, Operations Director at Macrobert Arts Centre, and Founder of community-rooted projects like Stirling Soup. Happiest when spinning lots of plates at once, she’s known for a practical approach that helps make the best use of time and prioritises getting sh*t done.

Katy Air

Katy Air: Founder of Katy Air Marketing

Having worked in marketing for over 12 years, Katy has had the fortune to move across most sectors from publishing to FMCG, finance, energy and the arts. Over this time she has honed her skills in strategic planning, helping businesses to achieve their goals.

Covering all areas under the commercial umbrella from financial planning and reporting, to data analysis, campaign planning, advertising and events, she is an ‘all rounder’ in the marketing field. Katy has spent this last year leading clients through this more difficult of times, to success and growth for 2021 and beyond.

Kathrin Bisgood

Kathrin Bisgood: Retail Expert

Kathrin is a highly regarded retail expert who has worked at all levels of the operation from the shop floor to head office. With a degree in Retail Marketing, Kathrin has held senior retail and buying roles for WHSmith, English Heritage, the Museum of London, and Westminster Abbey Enterprises.

She has collaborated with makers, designers, and creative businesses of all sizes to create bestselling merchandise ranges for the heritage sector. She now provides mentoring to businesses and sole traders to help them to realise their commercial potential.

Peter Evans

Peter Evans: Partner, Affinity Scotland

Having spent years working internally at HMRC, Peter Evans is our man on the inside, using refreshingly accessible language and forgoing the judgement to help creative entrepreneurs overcome their financial fears, sort their books and get the money they so desperately need.

As the face of Affinity Scotland, Peter is a highly respected advisor to start-up businesses at all stages, particularly in the creative sector. He has the ability to explain complex issues in a friendly and easily understandable way and as a result, is a regular speaker on tax for numerous organisations.

From sole traders to multi-million-pound turnover businesses Affinity offer tailored accounting solutions to meet all types of business needs. From bespoke advice, statutory accounts and Audits, bookkeeping and personal self-assessment Tax Returns we offer all the services a business requires at a sensible and competitive price. A fixed price package including accounting software has been specifically designed for the smaller and start-up business.

Charley Gavigan Charley Gavagin: Founder of Brave Your Day

After more than 30 years working within the charitable sector in Glasgow, London & NYC supporting the recovery of children, young people and adults fleeing violence, trafficking, abuse, trauma, homelessness and/or addiction, Charley Gavigan retrained as a Professional Certified Coach and Co-founded Brave Your Day. There she offers affordable accredited therapeutic counselling and coaching, to people struggling to sustain their mental wellbeing.

In addition to her counselling work, Charley is also very interested in alternative economies and has set up organisations such as Trade School Glasgow, a learning space based on barter, Wee Enterprizers, kitchen table business creation with disabled people and more recently East End Glasgow Soup, a neighbourhood crowdfunding public dinner where local people pitch ideas that benefit their community.

Charley is keen to support anyone who wants to brave more and fear less.

Lucy Gannon Lucy Gannon: Business Law Partner, Blackadders

Lucy is a lawyer and advises clients on a broad range of commercial and corporate matters, with a particular focus on the arts, fashion, digital content industries. Lucy works with both talent and businesses within the media, creative and technology sectors, negotiating a range of commercial agreements and advising on the commercial exploitation and protection of intellectual property. Lucy also has significant experience in corporate, m&a and early-stage investment advisory work.

From setting up and sorting our partnership agreements to trademarking, IP issues and getting ready for an exit, Lucy’s done it all and lived to tell about it. She’s also refreshingly human and understands that literally, no one except other lawyers understand lawyers, so she’s perfectly placed to field pretty much anything you can throw at her.