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Highlands and Islands Enterprise fund new mentoring programme

By Rachel Smart

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Pictured: Rod Read
Pictured: Rod Read

Pathfinder Accelerator, a business growth programme aimed at nurturing businesses in the Highlands and Islands, has teamed up with CodeBase - Scotland’s largest tech hub.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is funding a pilot programme for five previous Pathfinder participants, which will run from April 2022 to March 2023.

CodeBase brings together ambitious entrepreneurs, world-class technological talent and top investors in a creative, collaborative environment designed for the new digital economy.

With a focus on developing a vibrant, open community of experts in a diverse range of fields, it offers hands-on mentorship, networking and world-class business support.

The mentoring programme is aimed at technology start-ups and companies thinking about developing software structures within their business. During 32 one-hour sessions, mentors will share knowledge of the industry’s best practices to nurture growth with the aim of delivering a fit-for-market software product.

Theresa Swayne, HIE’s senior development manager for technology and digital adoption said:

“We’re delighted to team up with with CodeBase to provide innovative businesses in the Highlands and Islands with support from experienced mentors. This format has been used by CodeBase to benefit hundreds of entrepreneurs over the past seven years.

“The businesses taking part have already participated with us through the Pathfinder Accelerator programme and engagement in this additional mentoring programme is a fantastic opportunity to help them convert their digital business vision into a reality.”

Stephen Coleman OBE, CodeBase CEO, said:

“We’re very pleased to be able to offer our mentoring support to start-up companies across the Highlands and Islands. I know that our mentors are excited about meeting the participants, learning about what they do and finding the best ways to support them.

“I am certain that the programme will bring value to start-ups and help the Scottish tech ecosystem to become more connected both nationally and internationally. We are grateful to be working with HIE on the programme and are looking forward to helping more business start-ups to take the next steps on their journeys.”

The businesses taking part are:

- Energy Mutual, Fort William - Distributed energy asset management software

- Ness Biosensors, Inverness - Software-based extension to medical testing devices for diabetes

- The Strategy Collective, Orkney - Web app for GP surgeries

- Tritonia Scientific, Oban - Underwater image analysis and modelling

- Windswept and Interesting, Shetland - Flying wind turbines

The five businesses are all alumni of the Pathfinder Accelerator Programme from different cohorts.

Pathfinder was made possible by HIE’s Northern Innovation Hub, as part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal to help SMEs in the Highland Council area to improve their businesses through innovation and was supported with funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Although originally targeted at SMEs in the Highland Council, the programme has now been extended for anyone interested across the whole of the Highlands and Islands area through additional funding from HIE.

Rod Read, originally from the Isle of Lewis and now based in Shetland is the founder of Windswept and Interesting Ltd, one of the participants. He said:

“The whole idea of kite power is about making scalable clean energy systems. Kite Turbines fly in stronger winds at higher altitude, using less material. Pathfinder was a great programme that opened up other doors that you didn’t realise were out there.

"I am really excited to take part in these CodeBase sessions because we now need data analytics and network effects to enhance the performance of our whole business. I am confident that the mentoring programme will help us with developing our control software.”

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