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Businesses on fast track to success with accelerator programme

By Rachel Smart

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Launch Day.
Launch Day.

Twenty-two businesses from the Highlands and Islands have started the latest Pathfinder Accelerator programme, which aims to put them on the fast track to success.

The programme has been developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and is delivered mostly online. It will provide fast-track training and mentoring for entrepreneurs looking to build a company or launch a new product.

This is the tenth group to start on the four-month programme since it began in 2018 with a launch day held on Thursday 5 May 2022 at An Lòchran for all the 22 businesses taking part.

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 at lower cost or in a shorter space of time. Support is provided to through a combination of weekly workshops sessions, masterclasses and one-to-one coaching sessions.

Andrea McColl, senior development manager for life sciences at HIE, said:

“We were delighted to host our launch day in person before the programme continues online. It is a great opportunity to meet everyone face to face and build the network with like-minded business owners. I am looking forward to seeing this group of businesses test their innovative ideas for commercial viability and plan for growth.”

Pictured: Andrea McColl Photo by: Gillian Frampton.
Pictured: Andrea McColl Photo by: Gillian Frampton.

The businesses taking part are:

- Marcassie Farm Kitchen (Rafford) - provides healthy and locally sourced chef-made meals delivered straight to the door and ready to heat from frozen with zero food waste.

- Carrie's Voice (Tain) - a Scottish voice over artist with a commercial VO studio.

- Celia Clark Online (Orkney) - Provides education, guidance and support to those from the Disordered Eating Community through an online recovery programme for mild to moderate Disordered Eating.

- Frontier Science Scotland Ltd (Kincraig)– provides solutions in the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials and research.

- Resilient Minds Highland (Avoch) - individualised mental health support for people in the Highlands, creating hope, believing in change and helping to break down the barriers to a life worth living.

- Maalie Ltd (Resolis) - building a global thermostat to maintain a Goldilocks climate.

- Helica (Scotland) Ltd (Nairn) – Provides quality control, CDM Regulation compliance & project management services for construction projects.

- Ross-shire Diving Services (Strathcarron) - provides commercial diving, ROV and workboat Services to the aquaculture, energy and marine sectors in Scotland.

- Orkney Trout Ltd (Rousay, Orkney) – locally grown rainbow trout that provides high quality dietary protein and omega 3 fatty acids, with the highest levels of animal welfare, traceability, and environmental responsibility.

- MacLellan Vets Ltd (Inverness) – provides independent, first opinion, small animal veterinary care in Inverness.

- Mesomorphic (Shetland) - delivers bespoke software for SME business leaders and digital entrepreneurs. Founders of Silicon Croft - Cultivating Digital Skills.

- Aegis-Scot Archaeology Ltd (Orkney) – provides archaeological and heritage solutions through the application of innovation and fearless determination.

- Tender design agency (Muir of Ord) - provides premium bespoke merchandise product solutions for corporations and public events.

- Berries Environmental Engineering Technologies Ltd (Drumnadrochit) - develops affordable domestic renewable heating systems of the future.

- Person Centred Solutions Ltd (Evanton) designs and develops devices and products for the health care sector.

- Gaeltel Ltd (Elgin) – provides renewable energy solutions for businesses in Scotland.

- SAMS Enterprise Binder Seeding (Oban) – provides high quality, affordable pre-seeded rope for scalable seaweed cultivation.

- Natures Path Natural Ways (Thurso)

- Lerwick Engineering and Fabrication Ltd (Shetland)

- Kirsteen Adams, Social Enterprise (Inverness)

- Design and Code (Inverness)

- Wild-Ness Spa & Retreat (Drumnadrochit)

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 and £1.7m of European Funding (ERDF).

The Pathfinder Accelerator programme was originally targeted at SMEs in the Highland Council area but due to its success has now been extended 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.

Further 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 after summer 2022 and anyone interested in joining the programme can find out more at www.hie.co.uk/pathfinder.

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