The eight entrepreneurs recently completed a 12-week programme to help them bring new ideas to market quicker and at less expense.
Organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Pathfinder Accelerator programme is free of charge and open to existing and start-up companies (SMEs) in the life sciences, engineering and technology sectors.
It is delivered by specialist coaches from The Leadership factory and UP Accelerator and cohorts will run in locations across the Highlands including Inverness, Caithness, Skye and Lochaber. The programme culminates in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to a panel of prospective investors and partners, the first of which took place in Inverness on Thursday.
James Cameron, HIE’s head of life sciences, said:
“The Highlands and Islands benefits from a strong profile of life sciences and technology expertise; sectors which typically deliver high levels of innovation.
“Commercial success of any new idea depends on a strong business model and being able to reach the right market. The Pathfinder programme not only guides companies and start-ups through this process but assists with funding, networking and expert insight.”
The eight pitches delivered today were:
- External Reality Limited: mobile satellite broadband solution for use in the construction, civil engineering and utilities sector (pictured)
- Aurora Sustainability Ltd: bio-refining applications for mushrooms and mushroom mycelium
- Creativity in Care CIC: creative communications solutions for people whose communication, memory or cognition has significantly changed (e.g. due to dementia)
- Forbovi Limited: Innovative solutions for health improvement in dairy cattle.
- Kazbeg Ltd: scientific consulting and technical writing
- Orrin Equestrian Products Ltd: revolutionary horse saddle design
- Pinnacle Business Solutions Ltd: software to support and streamline engineering and construction projects
- Visual Performance Management: software for manufacturers to get clear, real-time information on their production process
The Pathfinder Accelerator Programme forms part of the Northern Innovation Hub, which is being led by HIE on behalf of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal partnership. The Hub is a set of carefully targeted projects to strengthen innovation and increase competitiveness among businesses across The Highland Council area.
It was awarded £11m by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, along with £3m from the European Regional Development Fund and £2m from HIE.
The next Pathfinder Programme cohorts will take place in Inverness and Thurso in the autumn. Anyone interested in taking part can find our more online at nih.hie.co.uk/pathfinder