IMPACT30 Group Shot Trevor Martin Resized

Young entrepreneurs welcomed onto business support programme

Published: 14/09/2023

Young entrepreneurs from 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, offers bespoke support from industry specialists.

This is the tenth group to start the programme since it launched in 2018. IMPACT30 provides relevant and innovative training designed to challenge, support and inspire participants to refine their creative thinking and build successful businesses.

So far, 172 enterprises have already benefited from the programme.

Andy Maggs is taking part in the programme. He graduated from the University of the Highlands and Islands in 2018 with a Bachelor of Honours First Class degree in Architectural Technology. Since then he has worked for various architectural companies but when COVID came along he decided to start up on his own and hasn’t looked back since. Now, company director at Redsix Architecture based in Evanton, he provides services to residential and commercial clients.

Andy said:

“One of the main reasons for taking part in the programme is to provide security for my family and for my employee, Stewart, as well as for personal development, growing the business and expanding into other areas. With our investment in VR technology, we hope to stand out from the crowd and grow the business to provide more services. VR technology will give a more immersive experience for clients – to visualise projects and give them a realistic and in-depth experience and to help us become more efficient and reduce our carbon footprint. I’m looking forward to taking part in the programme and having a business mentor as well as being part of a network of like-minded people.”

Tamara Mason has also joined the programme. She's a cosmetic scientist and managing director of Stroven, based in Lossiemouth. The business is a men’s grooming company with a strong passion for men’s mental health, helping to raise awareness and support mental health and suicide prevention by donating a 10 percent of their profits.

She started in late 2021 and works with her partner, Steven, while raising their nine-month-old twin daughters. Their products are all hand made using natural ingredients using environmentally friendly packaging.

Tamara, said:

“We’d love to see the money that we donate create some real impact. We’re already setting up specific programmes that allow us to make real big changes for families that impacted by suicide and we’d love to see this grow more. To achieve our growth goals, we need to be able to complete our product offering like aftershave balms for people who don’t have beards, acne related products for younger people and we want to expand our gifting products.

“We hope that the IMPACT30 programme will provide us with support and mentorship to give us a bit of a boost whenever we see things start to slow down and also to keep us accountable so that things stay consistent. 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. I’m looking forward to taking part.”

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.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said:

"The IMPACT30 programme continues to have a positive impact on its talented entrepreneurs, their businesses and the region. The innovative businesses coming out of the programme are the future of our economy and we hope the next cohort starting their training experience the same success.

"The UK Government is investing £11 million in the Northern Innovation Hub and levelling up communities across Scotland with more than £2.4 billion."

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.  

Twenty-four people from 22 enterprises taking part in the latest IMPACT30 programme gathered at An Lòchran, 13 September for a day-long workshop. The programme provides 12 months of support and the opportunity runs till 2025.

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

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