Kerrie Marshall Director Of Creativity In Care teaching kids

Lochaber businesses offered fast-track accelerator programme

Published: 04/03/2020

A free programme to support businesses to grow is open for new applications. A taster session is arranged for 18 March at the Alexandra Hotel in Fort William.

Kerrie Marshall Director Of Creativity In Care in blue jumper
Kerrie Marshall

Developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Pathfinder Accelerator programme is open to existing and start-up companies in the engineering, technology, IT, health and life sciences sectors.

The six-month programme is designed to help companies evaluate their business model, build a network of contacts and pressure test ideas. The support provided will dramatically reduce the time and expense it can take to test the commercial viability of new ideas.

HIE has partnered with The Leadership Factory who will deliver the Pathfinder Accelerator in Fort William this spring. This taster session starts at 12:30pm and will provide further information about the programme, materials and time frames. It will provide an opportunity to meet the coaches and ask questions.

Participants will benefit from experienced business coaches, tailored workshops and masterclasses as well as the opportunity to engage with life sciences and technology experts. Further support can be accessed throughout the course. There will be six face-to-face sessions over twelve weeks with additional remote sessions and coaching weeks.

The programme will be followed by a further three months’ coaching and mentoring, with opportunities to develop contacts, source funding and plan for future growth.

Previous participant, Karrie Marshall, director and founder of Creativity in Care, said:

“Pathfinder provided me with an opportunity to test ideas and connect with potential customers that I had not even considered. It has helped me realise my inner-business-self. Since Pathfinder I can feel the momentum building and I have secured more contracts for Creativity in Care.”

The Pathfinder Accelerator programme helps SMEs in the Highland Council area to improve their businesses through innovation and forms part of the HIE-led Northern Innovation Hub (NIH). The Hub is a set of carefully targeted projects to strengthen innovation and increase competitiveness among businesses across The Highland Council area.

The NIH project received £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.

James Cameron, HIE’s head of life sciences, added:

“The Highlands and Islands benefits from a strong profile of life sciences and technology expertise; sectors which typically deliver high levels of innovation.

“Commercial success of any new idea depends on a strong business model and being able to reach the right market. The Pathfinder programme not only guides companies and start-ups through this process but assists with funding, networking and expert insight.”

UK Government's Minister for Scotland Douglas Ross said:

“I’d encourage businesses across the region to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

“Programmes like this are helping companies to innovate and grow, creating more jobs and opportunities in our communities.

“This is another example of what is being achieved through the UK Governments investment of more than £1.4 billion in City and Growth Deals across Scotland ensuring every region thrives."

Find out more information about applying to take part in the programme and signing up for the taster session at

Related Articles