Business support

Experts help businesses to be pitch perfect

Three inspirational coaches will lead the latest edition of the Pathfinder programme which aims to put businesses in the Highlands and Islands on the fast track to success.

A 12-week accelerator course hosted by entrepreneurial experts Steve Thomas, Danny Meaney, and Dr Andy Kelly offers a unique opportunity for businesses to pressure test their ideas and hone the perfect pitch.

Organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Pathfinder forms part of the  Northern Innovation Hub, and is partly funded by Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, a joint £315million initiative supported by the UK and Scottish Government.

Each of the three coaches bring a wealth of experience and knowledge that candidates on the Pathfinder programme will be able to tap into.

A taster session will be held on March 28 in Inverness, allowing anyone interested, the chance to see exactly what it the course involves and meet the experts.

Digital transformation expert Steve Thomas said: “Being part of the Pathfinder coaching team is a fantastic opportunity to help people convert their business vision into a reality.

“It’s always exciting to know that we can be a part of someone’s success.

“Passion about what you do is absolutely key, but to be a great entrepreneur you have to be a good relationship builder. I’d encourage people to come along to the taster session and see what Pathfinder can do to help your business.”

Karrie Marshall of Creativity in Care is a graduate of the Pathfinder Programme and it transformed her Inverness based business.

She said: “Pathfinder’s had a massive impact on our business. We signed up with a clear idea of what we wanted to gain from it, but the programme motivated us to consider all aspects of our company and, as a result, we’ve completely changed steer and created a new arm of the business.” 

Karrie, who is attending the taster session to share her experience with perspective candidates added: “I would encourage any other businesses thinking of signing up to go for it.”

The fully funded programme, which is delivered in conjunction with The Leadership Factory, is built around weekly masterclasses designed to help refine your product or service and define your target market.

Felix Spittal, senior project manager at HIE, said: “Pathfinder allows businesses to pressure-test an idea and find out if it’s got what it takes to make it to the market.

“It’s a fast-track alternative to traditional routes, enabling a business to launch a new product with substantially less money, and in a shorter length of time.”

The Inverness and Highland City Region Deal is jointly funded by the Scottish and UK Governments. The Scottish Government have committed up to £135 million in the Deal, the UK Government has committed up to £53 million, and the Highland Council and regional partners have committed up to £127 million over 10 years.

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