HIE Cohort& Finale 19 Reduced Size

Young entrepreneurs complete business support programme

Published: 08/12/2023

Thirteen young entrepreneurs from across the Highlands and Islands are the latest to complete a year-long programme aimed at developing the next generation of entrepreneurs.

IMPACT30 is led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and is 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, offers bespoke support from industry specialists.

So far, 105 enterprises have completed the programme since it launched in 2018. The programme provides relevant and innovative training designed to challenge, support and inspire participants to refine their creative thinking and build successful businesses.

Seven of the 13 entrepreneurs to complete the latest programme gathered at the Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness this week (5 December).

Owner of Inverness-based The Upholstery Project, Jana Drongova joined IMPACT30 in December 2022 to help her take the next step in her business. She is a seamstress who began using her creative work to help her financially during the lockdown in 2020.

Jana said: “Taking part in this programme was a great move for my business. If you're one of those people with entrepreneurial ideas and no clue how to execute them or you have started, but need a little push Impact30 is the right place for you. There was a great mix of workshops, individual coaching sessions and networking events, which helped me and The Upholstery Project to navigate the business landscape. It's a never ending learning journey, but thanks to this programme and its participants. I feel like I'm not alone on it."

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

Tyler said: “It’s been great having a business mentor and being part of a network of like-minded people. My Time on the IMPACT30 programme has been, as the title suggest, a great impact to my business. The wealth of knowledge available is priceless."

Sara Friend's business, Orkney Bump to Baby Support, offers pregnancy, labour and postnatal support to mums-to-be in Orkney. She said: "The programme has been brilliant. IMPACT30 lays out a great road map for building a business in the Highlands and Islands. It creates monthly opportunities to meet successful business owners, overlaid with topics to inform and help start-ups on each step of their journey. The 1-2-1 coaching is invaluable, a rare opportunity to get continued in-depth support. The networking opportunities help create community and comradery in what can often be a solitary profession. Thanks for the opportunity."

As the seventh group completes the programme, a new group of 22 is about to start their year-long journey. 

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said:

"Congratulations to the talented young entrepreneurs who have completed the programme, we look forward to seeing where their businesses go next.

"Innovative businesses are the future of our economy and the IMPACT30 programme is continuing to have a positive impact on its talented entrepreneurs, their businesses and the region. I encourage any young entrepreneurs considering this programme for their business to submit an application.

"The UK Government is investing £11 million in the Northern Innovation Hub and levelling up communities across Scotland with more than £2.7 billion."

Deborah Tait, project 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.

“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, HIE 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.  

Applications are open for Cohort 12, which begins in the New Year. More information is available on the IMPACT30 page of HIE’s website