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Young entrepreneurs supporting economic recovery join IMPACT30

Published: 23/07/2020

Nineteen young business leaders have become the latest to take part in a year-long support programme designed to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Lizi Blackwood, HIE's Development Manager

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.

The programme 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.

It 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. With a focus on finding a way through the current economic challenges, IMPACT30 participants receive leading industry advice and training, as and when they need it.

This latest intake of young business leaders is the programme's largest since its inception in 2018 and follows a highly competitive application process.

Lizi Blackwood, development manager with HIE’s Northern Innovation Hub, said:

“The response to IMPACT30 has been fantastic and indicative of the extent of entrepreneurship that exists among young people in the Highlands and Islands.

“It’s great to see the largest group yet get started on the programme, especially in the current circumstances, and we very much look forward to seeing them develop their ideas for growth.”

IMPACT30 is delivered on HIE’s behalf by Anderson Anderson and Brown Consulting (AAB) who use their extensive business network to connect participants with top industry experts. 

Mark Bell, programme director at AAB, said: 

“We work with young entrepreneurs who excite us with their energy, passion, and willingness to learn. We recognise that businesses need different things at different times. We don’t come on board with a rigid 12-month plan; we develop and adapt as we go. This is also an opportunity for participants to connect with like-minded people, where they can learn from, inspire and support one another.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland, David Duguid, said:

“I congratulate the latest cohort on joining IMPACT30. 

“This fantastic programme is more important than ever for the prosperity of the region, and I am confident that many people will benefit from the jobs and investment that these entrepreneurs will attract.

“This is just one element of the support the UK Government-backed Northern Innovation Hub has to offer, and I encourage businesses to take advantage of the opportunities available.

“The UK Government is investing £1.5 billion into City Region and Growth Deals across Scotland to create jobs and unlock the potential in our economy.”

The IMPACT30 programme recruits new participants every six months. More information is available on the HIE website.