Group of young people sitting and listening to a presentation

Young entrepreneurs ‘graduate’ with IMPACT as third programme confirmed

Published: 04/11/2019

Eleven young people from the Highlands have become the first to complete a year-long business support programme designed to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Cecilia Grigor from Planit Scotland
Cecelia Grigor or Planit Scotland

The programmes start every six months with the second half way through and the third kicked off last week (29 October).

IMPACT30 is a fully funded business growth programme, offering bespoke support from industry specialists. It is open to people aged 35 and under, who are in key decision-making roles in young ambitious businesses.

It is designed to accommodate a broad range of businesses from across the Highland Council area and uses digital tools to provide access to resources when they are most needed.

The programme forms part of the Northern Innovation Hub, a project led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) with £11m from the UK Government and £1.7m ERDF support as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal.  The Deal is a joint £315 million initiative supported by both the UK and Scottish governments.

IMPACT30 is delivered by AAB Consulting, on HIE’s behalf. Following a successful first year the two organisations teamed up again to run a third programme.

Claire Munro, HIE’s senior project manager for the Northern Innovation Hub, said:

“Entrepreneurship is vital to every business and a key feature of the Highlands and Islands economy. It’s great to see so many young professionals investing in their future, and to be able to support them on their journey.

“The positive feedback from the ‘graduates’ from this first round demonstrate the programme’s relevance and appeal across a wide mix of businesses. We are very pleased with the outcome and to be working with AAB Consulting in delivering the third programme.”

The young entrepreneurs who completed the first IMPACT30 programme came from a variety of backgrounds and industries. One of them is Cecelia Grigor of event management and marketing company, Planit Scotland, who said:

“IMPACT30 has been a fantastic programme. Everyone involved really worked with me and challenged me to focus on and prioritise what was needed for my business to succeed. The tools, skills and knowledge I have gained are already having a positive impact. I’d definitely encourage young business people from across the Highlands to look at joining future IMPACT30 programmes and hopefully take their business to the next level.”

Mark Bell, director of economic development at AAB Consulting, said:

“Planit Scotland is a great example of how IMPACT30 can help a business establish specific growth requirements through collaboration with our team and HIE. We deliver the programme with agility, making it highly personalised to the individual and in return we expect the participants to be open to applying new learning to develop business capabilities that boost business, and effect positive change and growth.

“IMPACT30 could be the catalyst you need to fast-track progress and support you in becoming a business leader of the future – if you think you’ve got what it takes to be a future business leader, please get in touch.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Colin Clark said:

“I’d like to congratulate the first round of graduates on completing the IMPACT 30 programme. I know that the region will benefit greatly from their skills, expertise and ambition. 

“Young entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy and essential to creating jobs and prosperity for the future. The UK Government has committed over £1.4 billion to city and growth deal projects across Scotland to make sure everyone can benefit from fantastic opportunities like this. I am glad that the UK Government-backed programme is now beginning its third cohort and wish the latest entrants all the best for the year ahead.”

The third IMPACT30 programme started on 29 October with 11 entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds and industries, including food and drink, engineering and tourism. More about the Northern Innovation Hub and the application process for IMPACT 30 is available at

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