Business support

Pathfinder taster session date set, as local firm extols benefits

A free programme to help businesses accelerate their growth has opened for new applications, with a taster session arranged for 28 August.

Amy Taylor and Jenny Johnstone of land management firm, Cawdor Forestry, have been taking part in HIE’S six-month Pathfinder Accelerator programme.

Using some of the techniques gained through the programme they have been able to take their product to a wider range of customers and expand the business.

The firm is using Geographic Information System (GIS) to produce bespoke maps and plans and help landowners make informed decisions.

The software takes into account local environmental, landscape and ecological opportunities and constraints to ensure wildlife is protected while maximising an area’s potential.

Amy said:

“The software and mapping allows us to visualise felling and restocking schemes, enable strategic planning and support estate management.

“Its accuracy can combine factors like habitats and ground conditions to ensure high quality forest design, ultimately allowing for a more responsible management of land and the environment.

“The Pathfinder Accelerator programme gave us the tools and confidence to take this technology to the market, expand the business and help customers realise the full potential of GIS.”

Jenny added:

“We have really benefitted from Pathfinder, being two self-confessed computer geeks, the skillset required to pitch a product and get people’s attention was not our forte but we’ve been given the tools and the confidence to showcase our offering and as a result we’ve won new business.”

Pathfinder is part of HIE’s Northern Innovation Hub, which received £11 million from the UK Government as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. Pathfinder has also received funding from the European Regional Development Fund. 

Andrea McColl, senior development manager at HIE said:

“Cawdor Forestry is a great example of an established business that has evolved its offering and explored different ways of working after taking part in the Pathfinder Accelerator programme.

“They have been able to reach new markets and offer their clients new opportunities.

“The next intake of businesses will benefit from course delivery partners, The Leadership Factory and UP Accelerator who have worked with a number of leading businesses including Highland Spring and BUPA.

“Having access to these inspirational experts is incredibly valuable and I would encourage businesses to take full advantage of it.”

Recruitment is now underway for the next Pathfinder programme, which will start in the Autumn. A free taster session takes place in Inverness on Wednesday 28 August to give businesses a feel for what the programme has to offer. More information is available at nih.hie.co.uk 

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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