Elevator strikes up new partnerships with Burness Paull and Pinnacle

Callum Sinclair, Burness Paull Partner and Head of Technology Sector, and Elevator Chief Executive Gary McEwan (right).
Callum Sinclair, Burness Paull partner and head of technology sector, and Elevator chief executive Gary McEwan (right).

Start-up accelerator Elevator, which aims to fast-track entrepreneurs and their businesses across Grampian and Tayside, has announced two new strategic partnerships.

Scottish commercial law firm Burness Paull and Pinnacle - an Aberdeen-based innovative software development house- will share their insight and experience, provide advice and support to Elevator’s Accelerator Programme, as well as financially bolstering the programme.

They join Elevator’s existing partners - professional services company KPMG and PR and digital marketing agency The BIG Partnership – both of whom formed successful working relationships with Elevator earlier this year.

Elevator’s Accelerator Programmes, first launched in 2015, are for early-stage business owners and teams seeking to improve their business offering, growth and investment potential at an accelerated rate.

Prospective candidates, known as ‘Founders’ of Cohort 4 recently completed Stage 2 of the application process - two boot-camp days, during which more than 50 people took part in a series of team building and pitching activities at Elevator’s Centre for Entrepreneurship in Aberdeen. Those who are chosen to attend the 12-week experience will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Accelerator Programme covers different entrepreneurial themes each week from business models and goal setting, identifying new markets and opportunities to intellectual property, scale, growth and exit strategy.

During their time on the programme, the founders will test, research, develop, launch and refine their product or service-led business to become market and investor ready. A Founder Showcase attended by partners, customers, investors and Business Angels will take place at the end of the 12 weeks.

Elevator chief executive Gary McEwan said that the new partnerships with Burness Paull and Pinnacle would further enhance the experience for Founders.

“The people who participate in our Accelerator Programmes are at varying stages of business from research, proof of concept, launch or existing business owners – they often need an intensive look at their business to help them realise their goal. During the 12-week programme, we challenge them, their goals, their plans and their business ideas, while at the same time supporting their aspirations for scale and growth, teaching entrepreneurial disciplines and best practice for business growth.

“We are extremely fortunate to have the added support of thought leaders and established businesses functioning as mentors and partners who are willing to impart their knowledge and experience through a series of inspiring talks, workshops, practical help, and valuable financial backing. We are very much looking forward to starting work with Burness Paull and Pinnacle, both of whom complement our growing team of partners and provide support, knowledge and experience to the founders.”

Partner and head of technology sector at Burness Paull, Callum Sinclair, said: “We are truly excited and energised by our appointment as an Elevator Partner. Technology is a key focus sector for Burness Paull, and tech and process innovation increasingly pervades the work we do with clients – indeed everything we do as a business. Our full service, tech-focussed legal offering, our passionate involvement with the communities in which we work, and our spirit of agile ‘intrapreneurship’ are a perfect fit with Elevator’s vision and values.”

Pinnacle is an innovative and agile software development house specialising in augmented and virtual reality solutions. The Aberdeen-based team develops bespoke software for clients across a variety of industries delivering everything from web and mobile applications to sophisticated business critical software solutions.

Managing director Kenny Steele, said: “Pinnacle was fortunate to be participants of the first cohort of the Elevator’s Accelerator programme – the business advice and opportunities we received really helped us adapt our business and grow.

“Because we have gone through this we are in a unique position to understand what the Founders are going through, how daunting it can be and how, with support and advice, their dreams can fly. We are very excited to join the partnership team and look forward to helping the Founders develop and succeed.”

Elevator created the UK’s first Centre for Entrepreneurship at HQ in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen where the delivery of Business Gateway is combined with an open access public facility and business accelerator.

Latest figures released by Business Gateway Aberdeen City and Shire showed that in the 12 months up to April 2016, Elevator helped 1,276 people to start their business through Business Gateway services, 27 per cent more than the 1,000 target set for the area. As a result, the number of new business starts-ups in Grampian and Tayside rose to its highest on record, breaking all targets and out-performing other regions in the rest of Scotland.

Of those, 555 (43 per cent) were in Aberdeen city, while 721 (57 per cent) were started in the Shire. The figures show that more than half of those starting a new business (51 per cent) were women, while almost 6% were started by people who had been made redundant from the oil and gas industry.

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