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IMPACT30 initiative to inspire business leaders of the future

Published: 19/09/2018

A dynamic new programme for young entrepreneurs has been launched by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to discover and support the business leaders of the future.

IMPACT30 has been designed to uncover a new generation of ambitious talent, offering bespoke support from industry experts to help drive the growth of their businesses.

The 12-month fully funded business growth programme, part of HIE’s Northern Innovation Hub and a collaboration with leading consultancy firm Anderson Anderson and Brown (AAB), is open to new and existing entrepreneurs across the Highland region.

Felix Spittal, senior project manager at HIE, said: “IMPACT30 is an exciting opportunity for ambitious young entrepreneurs who want to unlock their ideas and encourage positive change and growth.

“We want the project to annually develop 30 business leaders of the future from across the Highlands, help them overcome existing challenges, inspire plans, and put in place the foundations of support that will help them thrive.

“The expertise and experience AAB and their network of collaborators bring to the IMPACT30 programme is an invaluable resource and will drive the businesses forward.”

Anyone under the age of 35 who has been working in a business less than 3 years old can apply to be part of the IMPACT30 programme.

The Programme will deliver relevant and innovative support which has been carefully customised to ensure applicants feel challenged, supported, and inspired to make the most of the opportunity and build successful businesses.

Mark Bell, Director of Economic Development at AAB said: “Supporting exciting, ambitious, growth oriented businesses by working in partnership to add value to their business is what we do.

“IMPACT30 is a new approach to business growth programmes, highly personalised and delivered with agility. We expect the businesses we work with to move at pace, be open to challenge and fresh ideas, and share the same levels of ambition we have for them.

“We will support the business leaders of tomorrow to tap into our expertise, understand what’s needed to be a success and benefit from our support to help realise their ambitions.

“A project like this is good not just for the businesses who are part of the collaboration, but also the wider business community who can really see what is possible.”

Impact30 has also been designed to accommodate a broad range of businesses from across the Highlands, by using digital tools to allow its resources to be accessed whenever suits applicants best.

Leading Highlands and Islands entrepreneur James Robertson, who founded Skye Candles in 2006, said: “Building a business is not for the faint hearted, you've got to be passionate about what you do, have a good work ethic and got to be constantly willing to learn and adapt your skills.

“Making the most of IMPACT30 will hopefully allow young entrepreneurs to progress their ventures faster, by offering the sort of support that can be invaluable in avoiding costly and time-consuming mistakes.

“I’d definitely encourage young business people from across the Highlands to give it a go and hopefully take their business to the next level.”  

The Northern Innovation Hub is a set of projects in the Highland Council area seeking to support the biggest opportunities for the region to create a global competitive advantage.

The projects are targeted at supporting the long-term growth of small and emerging enterprises in sectors including life sciences, tourism, food and drink and the creative industries.

It was awarded £11m by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, along with £3m from the European Regional Development Fund and £2m from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

More information about the programme can be found at

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