IMPACT30 Group Shot Alisonwhite Resized

Young entrepreneurs join business support programme

Published: 14/12/2022

Twenty-two young business leaders from around the Highlands and Islands have become the latest to be accepted onto a year-long programme aimed at developing the next generation of entrepreneurs.

IMPACT30 is led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and delivered by business skills training consultancy, Skillfluence.

The fully funded business growth programme for people aged 35 and under who are in key decision-making roles in young ambitious entrepreneurs, offers bespoke support from industry specialists.

This is the seventh cohort to embark on the programme since it launched in 2018. It provides relevant and innovative training designed to challenge, support and inspire participants to refine their creative thinking and build successful businesses.

So far, 98 enterprises have already benefited from the programme.

Sara Friend, 33, is part of this year’s group. Her business, Orkney Bump to Baby Support, offers pregnancy, labour and postnatal support to mums-to-be in Orkney.

She said: “It’s already been such a great step for my business and we’re only a month into the programme. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to gain expertise and bespoke support on how to run a successful business and turn my passion in profit.

“Meeting others who are in the same boat is so beneficial. The rest of this year’s cohort and I would like to extend a huge thanks to all involved in giving us this amazing opportunity.”

Tyler MacKenzie, 27, founder of TJM (Scotland) Ltd took his Inverness based business to IMPACT30. His company provides all types of manned security services such as mobile patrols and event and hotel security across Scotland.

He said: “IMPACT30 will help me refine my process so that’s extremely valuable. I’m looking forward to having a business mentor and being part of a network of like-minded people.”

Hannah Taylor, 29, from Findhorn is the owner of award-winning drinks business, Gut Feelings Kombucha. She has grown her love for kombucha – a fermented tea originally from China that’s claimed to be good for gut health – into a working passion since starting the business in 2019. Her business has several refill stations at local cafes and zero-waste shops between Skye and Aberdeen.

She said: “I hope to gain more confidence and understanding around how to employ people into the business. I aim to form connections with other business owners in my local area to begin growing a network of likeminded people. On top of this I hope to gain a better understanding of the funding opportunities that are available in Scotland to aid small business growth.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord said: "It's wonderful that the next cohort of young business owners have started their journey with IMPACT30. The feedback from participants highlight just how much the support means to these talented entrepreneurs that are the future of our economy.

"The UK Government is investing £11 million in the Northern Innovation Hub and levelling up communities across Scotland with more than £2 billion."

Deborah Tait, development manager with HIE’s Northern Innovation Hub team, said: “IMPACT30 is about expanding and strengthening the growing network of young entrepreneurs in the Highlands and Islands, by fuelling their ambition, confidence and commitment and helping them to succeed.

“Since the programme began in 2018, it has proved extremely popular and we would urge any young entrepreneurs who have not yet taken part to explore how IMPACT30 could benefit them.”

IMPACT30 forms part of the Northern Innovation Hub (NIH), which is funded with £11m from UK Government, £1.2m ERDF and £2m from HIE. NIH is part of the Inverness and Highland City Region deal, a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

The IMPACT30 programme was originally offered to enterprises in the Highland Council area. HIE has provided additional funding to ensure that the programme is now offered to organisations across the Highlands and Islands.  

Seventeen people from 16 of the 21 enterprises taking part in IMPACT30 gathered at Eden Court, 6 December for a day-long workshop. 

More information is available on the IMPACT30 page of HIE’s website.

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