After 20 years away from the Highlands attending university and starting her career, Donna Smith returned in 2011 and a few years later established her own business, Thystle, in 2019.

Recalling her journey, she says: “In my early career I tended to work in medium-to-large corporate environments where I was part of an IT or project team which was supporting the rest of the business.

Having returned to the Highlands, I became aware of the huge numbers of small and micro-sized businesses there were on my doorstep and I wondered who was helping them navigate through process and system change.”

“Being a small business owner can be incredibly rewarding, but also very stressful, with people performing multiple roles.  Often there are process improvements that can be made or pieces of software out there that can help but if you have no experience of that, no time and don’t know where to start looking, it is one of those jobs that gets put to the bottom of the pile.  The idea behind Thystle was that we would be the IT project team and do that work for them. 

“At Thystle, we want to help our clients to work happy. We want them to have an efficient operation, with all the key information they need to run their business at their fingertips and ultimately, help them achieve their goals without the headaches.

“Since launching Thystle, we have worked with many brilliant businesses in the Highlands and beyond, all keen to improve how they work so that they can grow their business and provide great service to their customers and that is what drives us, we want our clients to succeed.”

In addition to running Thystle, Smith is also chair of a local mental health charity, Mikeysline, and is currently president of Highland Business Women.

“I think in the Highlands we are very resilient and creative and there are many opportunities to be involved with different things and make a real difference right on your doorstep.  That’s what drives me on to do the things I do and helps me to work happy too,” she adds.

“We want clients to have an  efficient operation, with all the key information they need”

Donna Smith,
Founder and lead consultant at Thystle Ltd