Entrepreneurship masterclasses 

Highlands and Islands Enterprise has an exciting new suite of Masterclasses for entrepreneurs with the ambition and potential to scale their business. The Masterclasses will be delivered by leading experts with a track record of supporting entrepreneurs to realise their growth potential.   

The Masterclasses focus on topics essential to managing a business’ growth trajectory and will equip you with the knowledge, tools and techniques to win new customers, enter new markets and achieve a competitive advantage. 

The Masterclasses are of two days duration and include a networking dinner on the first evening to help you forge new contacts and share experiences with other like-minded individuals.

The Masterclasses are designed to align with each other and you can attend all four or just select the topic that is most relevant to your business needs. The Masterclasses cover:

  • Structured Steps in the Entrepreneur’s Journey
  • Creating and Maintaining Competitive Advantage
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Strategic Negotiations

How do I book a place at a masterclass?

To attend one or more please use the links below to register on Eventbrite:

Structured Steps in the Entrepreneur’s Journey Masterclass

Date: 10th and 11th October 2019
Location: Kingsmills Hotel, Culcabock Road, Inverness, IV2 3LP

Strategic Marketing Masterclass

Date: 5th and 6th November 2019
Location: Kingsmills Hotel, Culcabock Road, Inverness, IV2 3LP
Guest speaker: TBC

Creating and Maintaining a Competitive Advantage Masterclass

Date: 19th and 20th February 2020
Location: Kingsmills Hotel, Culcabock Road, Inverness, IV2 3LP
Guest speaker: TBC

Structured Steps in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

Structured Steps in the Entrepreneur’s Journey provides the overarching framework for the suite of Masterclasses and covers the end to end process for setting up and scaling an innovation-driven enterprise. It will teach you a tried and tested process, tools and techniques to gain a deep understanding of your customers, develop the right product or service at the right price to meet their needs and enter your target markets whilst avoiding many of the pitfalls that businesses face at a time of rapid growth. 

Bill Aulet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA

The Masterclass will be delivered by Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde and FutureX.

Bill is a serial entrepreneur and has co-founded two companies, winning over a dozen awards for business growth and operations. He has over 25 years experiences in high growth businesses and is the author of the best-selling book “Disciplined Entrepreneurship”. 

Bill has extensive practical experience of all stages of the entrepreneur’s journey and is a Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management where he has taught at all levels since 2006. Bill teaches the Entrepreneurship Development Program at MIT and is a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde Business School.

Hear more from him below. 

Creating and Maintaining Competitive Advantage

Creating and sustaining a competitive advantage has become increasingly difficult in an ever-changing and dynamic environment. Businesses need to be adept at strategic thinking and strategic analysis and find ways to enhance impact, value and performance. This Masterclass will teach you the tools and techniques to stay ahead of the game.

Professor Eleanor Shaw, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde

The Masterclass will be delivered by Professor Eleanor Shaw, Executive Director of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Vice Dean of Strathclyde Business School, in collaboration with FutureX.  

Eleanor has over 25 years’ experience of the design and delivery of impactful entrepreneurship learning journeys acquired working in higher education institutions of global standing in the UK and internationally. She has held positions at Glasgow University, Durham University, Toulouse Business School, Massey University in New Zealand, University of Arkansas, the Universidad De Monterrey in Mexico and Montpelier Business School in France.  

Eleanor has undertaken extensive research on entrepreneurship and was voted as one of the 100 leading professors in the field of entrepreneurship by entrepreneurs in “Hot Topics”.

Strategic Marketing

Strategic marketing management is a powerful organisational process to better reach and satisfy customers whilst increasing profitability and productivity. It will also help a business become more innovative and better penetrate a market. This Masterclass will equip you with the skills to apply a strategic approach to marketing and gain a deep insight of your customers, competitors, markets and opportunities.

Dr Mario Vafeas, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England

This Masterclass will be delivered by Dr Mario Vafeas in collaboration with a team of marketing specialists from the Bristol Business School. Mario has personal experience of the entrepreneur’s journey having founded and grown a marketing agency, winning business from clients such as Coca-Cola, Unilever and Pernod Ricard and entering international markets, including Europe and the Middle East.  

Since selling his agency, Mario has been a senior lecturer in marketing at Bristol Business School since 2010.  The team from the University of the West of England have extensive experience teaching students and SMEs.   They are all marketing practitioners, having run marketing consultancies and worked in the private sector with house-hold names such as Levi-Strauss. The team has expertise in all facets of marketing from marketing processes and frameworks to international marketing and social media.

Strategic Negotiations

Negotiation is a daily part of business – with customers, partners, suppliers, colleagues or employees. Successful negotiation requires self-awareness, preparation and practice. You may find yourself negotiating with people with different views, ambitions, values, attitudes to risk, loyalties, likes and dislikes. This Masterclass will equip you with the tools and techniques to deal with differences, resolve conflict and handle difficult conversations.



Derek Arden, Achieve Training Ltd

Derek successfully founded his own consultancy business in 2000, taking it into 31 international markets across 5 continents.  He also has extensive experience of teaching, having been a visiting lecturer in Advanced Negotiating Skills and Strategic Management at Henley Business School for over 12 years and having taught in Frankfurt and the USA.  

Derek has written over 10 major business publications, including “Win Win Negotiating” which reached number 3 on the UK Business Book Chart in 2015.  His books have been translated into several languages, including Arabic and Mandarin. Derek will be supported by Julz Dickson, the Training Director at Achieve. Julz has delivered training across the globe and will deliver the session on Personality Profiling session.  


Who are the masterclasses for?

The Masterclasses are  aimed at:

  • Early stage or young entrepreneurial companies with significant growth potential
  • Entrepreneurs - and their senior staff - who need to enhance their skills to accelerate business growth 
  • Entrepreneurs who need to be prepared to meet the challenges of scaling their business 

What does it cost?

There is a charge of £100 for attending each two-day Masterclass. This includes the cost of the networking dinner on the first evening.

The cost of attending a Masterclass is subsidised. In order to comply with European Union Regulations, the support is awarded as De Minimis Aid or Start Up Aid, as appropriate. This means you will be sent a short application form to complete, including a State Aid declaration, before being offered a place at a Masterclass. After you have attended the Masterclass, you will receive a State Aid letter outlining the value of this support.

Is there support for travel and accommodation?

Yes. If your return journey to attend a masterclass is in excess of £70, HIE will provide financial assistance towards your travel and accommodation. Please email entrepreneurship@hient.co.uk for more information.

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