23 businesses commence HIE’s accelerator programme

23 businesses commence HIE's accelerator programme

The new cohort on the launch day of the pathfinder programme

23 businesses have started the latest edition of Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) Pathfinder Accelerator programme.

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 £11 million 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.

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.

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.”

UK government minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: “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.”

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