Twenty-three businesses from the Highlands and Islands have started the latest edition of a four-month programme aimed at putting them on the fast track to success.
Pathfinder Accelerator is led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The programme provides fast-track training and mentoring for entrepreneurs looking to build a company or launch a new product.
The twelfth group to start on the programme since it began in 2018 met at the launch day at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus on 12 January.
The programme provides businesses at all stages in their development the opportunity to test a new product or process to ensure its fit for the market. Delivered mostly online, it combines weekly workshops sessions, masterclasses and one-to-one coaching sessions. The aim is to build a new company, or launch a new product, in a shorter space of time with substantially less money.
The programme forms part of the Northern Innovation Hub, which is led by HIE and funded by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal partnership, with £11m from UK Government.
Although originally targeted at SMEs in the Highland Council area, the Pathfinder Accelerator programme has been extended for anyone interested across the whole of the Highlands and Islands area through additional funding from HIE.
The programme will be delivered online by training specialists Skillfluence Ltd who have developed and designed a new course structure including an e-learning platform to make the course more accessible.
Skillfluence Ltd will partner with Investing Women Angels to provide business advice and support to the participants. They will provide coaching and mentoring as well as help develop networking, sourcing, funding, and planning for future growth.
Catriona Ramsay, development manager at HIE, said: “It’s fantastic to welcome another group of businesses to Pathfinder Accelerator. Together with our partners Skillfluence and Investing Womens Angels, we are excited to continue the successful programmes and support more businesses to move forward with their ideas and succeed.”
Places are available on future Pathfinder Accelerator programmes for businesses, social enterprises, charities and entrepreneurs from across the Highlands and Islands. The next intake will be March 2023, with applications open now.
Entrepreneurs are encouraged have a product or service relating to life sciences, IT, healthcare, engineering or aquaculture. Those from different sectors can apply including those with a sustainability focus or if their concentrating on efficiencies to reduce the cost of doing business.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord added: “The Pathfinder Accelerator programme has already seen a number of businesses benefit from the training and mentorship it has provided.
“The expansion of the programme, within the Highlands and Islands, offers more people the opportunity to develop their business ideas and I encourage future entrepreneurs to take the first steps and apply.
“The UK Government is investing £11 million in the Northern Innovation Hub and levelling up communities across Scotland with more than £2 billion.”
The businesses taking part in this cohort include:
- Roslin Distillers Ltd / Fassfern Highlands Gin (Fort William) – a family spirits business.
- AJ Ingenuity Ltd (Kingussie) – a unique sofa that has interchangeable fabrics and modules with functions to aid breastfeeding mothers and working from home.
- We Are Engines (Inverness) – a digital strategy consultancy that helps curious brands understand, attract, and convert more customers.
- C R C Accountancy (Orkney) – provides human-focused financial expertise and insights.
- Goya Adventures (Inverness) – offers unique guided or self-drive adventures in the Highlands and Islands in expedition-equipped 4×4 vehicles.
- WBM Scotland Ltd t/a The View (Oban) – a large multi-use venue in Oban’s town centre that actively collaborates with others to create new products and services.
- Etana Cloud (Campbeltown) – helps small to medium sized businesses to achieve their IT and security goals.
- INTERIOR 35 (Inverness) – an interior design business based in the heart of the Highlands – timeless style for modern interiors.
- NoVatioN (Oban) – offers a solution for the aquaculture industry to convert waste into high value feed ingredients, creating a low carbon, circular economy for Scotland.
- IDM Safety Solutions Ltd (Inverness) – a multi-disciplined health and safety services business that also offers full trade support across the Highlands and Islands.
- Scribe & Grow (Isle of Skye) – sends eco-friendly greetings cards, candles and a sustainable skincare range.
- Emergent Automata (Thurso) – offers robotics and AI consultancy in problem-solving and data processing in a range of practical and research applications.
- Kennedy Accountancy (Kyle) – exists to help small business owners sleep better at night and give them time back to do more of what they enjoy doing.
- Northern Lights Cakery (Argyll) – a bespoke wedding cake bakery and design studio based on the West Coast of Scotland with designs led by home grown edible flowers.
- Holistic Health (Inverness) for the Highlands.
- Boxfluence (Inverness) – creates innovative combat equipment and aims to make an impact on people’s lives through boxing.
- Woolly Lumpkin Felt Co (Ullapool) – makes felted products from the wool of a flock of cheviot sheep and is establishing an efficient processing unit serving small scale sheep owners in Highland.
- Souter Hotels Ltd (Barra) – developing creative and enriching experiences in the hospitality sector
- Code One Digital (Inverness) – Climate Tech Network is helping climate tech founders get funded. The global network of entrepreneurs and investors working together to effect real change by expediting climate tech innovation.
- Croft 17 (Lochaber) – looking to commercialise apple-based products by embedding sustainable practices that span the agriculture and hospitality sectors.
- Gaeltel Limited (Fochabers)- ethically clean energy experts in providing renewable energy solutions for Scotland’s businesses.
- Ecofit Homes (Inverness) – an end-to-end retrofit platform to scale the insulation and electrification of homes
- Rest Floatation Therapy CIC (Inverness) – offers users to float one hour at a time in a floatation pod helping decrease anxiety and depression up to 80 precent from first use.
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