Pathfinder Accelerator Launch Day Thurs 1St Sept (002) Cropped

14 businesses to fast track with accelerator programme

Published: 05/09/2022

Fourteen businesses from the Highlands and Islands have started the latest edition of the Pathfinder Accelerator programme, which aims to put them on the fast track to success.

Pathfinder launch on Thursday Sept 1

Developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and delivered mostly online, the programme will provide fast-track training and mentoring for entrepreneurs looking to build a company or launch a new product.   

This is the eleventh group to start on the four-month programme since it began in 2018. A launch day was held on Thursday 1 September at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus for all businesses taking part.
The programme provides businesses at all stages in their development the opportunity to test a new product or process to ensure its fit for the market. It combines weekly workshops sessions, masterclasses and one-to-one coaching sessions. The aim is to build a new company or launch a new product, in a shorter space of time with substantially less money.     

Businesses in the latest intake are: 

  • Aleksandra Czech-Seklecka will help businesses to reduce their transport costs and reduce carbon footprint at the same time.  
  • ZoneVS is a part of the emerging metaverse, focused on bringing people together for virtual education, entertainment and training.  
  • Christine Hughson Coaching Counselling and Psychology supports families through assessment and diagnosis of neuro-developmental disorders
  • INTERIOR35 is an interior design business based in the heart of the Highlands - timeless style for modern interiors.  
  • Macaulay College Community Interest Company provides people with additional social and educational requirements with a programme of activities that encourages them to have meaningful and fulfilling working and social lives whilst achieving their full potential and reaching person specific targets.
  • Lindsay Ferries Arthur & Carmichael Business Legal is an employment legal and HR business support service.  
  • Ron Gray specialises in business productivity software development.  
  • The Isle of Skye Paint Company is a small independent paint manufacturer with sustainability and quality at the heart of its ethos. 
  • Steinish Marine Ltd - energy and marine consultants based in the Outer Hebrides, operating on and offshore to support clients with marine planning and operations, naval architecture and engineering solutions.  
  • Black Bawks Data Science delivers wholistic data-driven solutions to ecological problems using machine learning and web-based technologies  
  • Vshake is a protein shaker designed to make your life easier, not hold you back! Just twist & go!
  • Music Teaching Made Easy is an online business that teaches early years practitioners how to sing, move and play instruments with 3-5 year olds.  
  • VOOVE is a local leader in technology services and communication innovation, providing custom and divergent solutions to the rural connectivity market
  • Cromarty Firth Marine Services is a commercial diving and rope access company providing our services across the UK and abroad,  specialising in UXO consultancy and disposal

The Northern Innovation Hub programme is funded with £11m from UK Government, £1.2m ERDF and £2m from HIE and is part of the Inverness and Highland City Region deal, which is 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.   

Although originally targeted at SMEs in the Highland Council area, the Pathfinder Accelerator programme has been extended for anyone interested across the whole of the Highlands and Islands area through additional funding from HIE.  
The programme will be delivered online by training specialists Skillfluence Ltd who have developed and designed a new course structure including an e-learning platform to make the course more accessible.   

Skillfluence Ltd will partner with Investing Women Angels to provide business advice and support to the participants. They will provide coaching and mentoring as well as help develop networking, sourcing, funding, and planning for future growth.   

Places are available on future Pathfinder Accelerator programmes for businesses, social enterprises, charities and entrepreneurs from across the Highlands and Islands. The next intake will be early 2023, with applications open in December.