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Pathfinder Accelerator

Helping entrepreneurs find the right path.

What it is?

Pathfinder is a fully funded opportunity for entrepreneurs to accelerate their new product or business in only six months. Participants will be taught practical tools and techniques to interrogate their idea, plan for opportunities and optimise for marketplace success. To help you execute your idea, Pathfinder delegates are coached directly by experts across a range of disciplines including new product development, innovation, business strategy, finance, investment and more. The programme includes a “Dragon’s Den” style pitching session in front of real investors in a safe environment to help to you prepare for just about anything in the commercial world.

What to expect

  • Training and mentoring: Group sessions, masterclasses and 1-2-1 coaching by business experts and investors across a range of disciplines
  • Networking opportunities: Connect with funders, investors and other key contacts. Form a lifelong bond with other entrepreneurs who are on the same journey.
  • Accessible: Pathfinder is delivered online for a post-COVID world. This means no travel, 24/7 access to learning content, more touchpoints with expert coaches and the ability for you to fit it into your busy schedule, no matter where you're based.
  • Practical: You can use what you learn from day one. Every programme touchpoint is designed to drive action, helping you move quickly towards your commercial goal.

Who can apply?

Pathfinder Accelerator supports businesses, social enterprises, entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Highland Council area looking to develop a product, service or business model that relates to technology, life sciences, IT, healthcare, engineering, or aquaculture. This includes businesses using technology to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re not sure if your business is eligible, sign up to our taster session to find out more or get in touch with us to discuss further. 

Applications close on 14 December!

Get in touch with the team now to apply.

Email the Pathfinder team

If you are thinking about it – do it!
Sodi Kakouris, Pathfinder Alumni, LGOWIT

Andrea McColl presenting at pathfinder workshop

Taster Sessions

We are inviting applications from life sciences and technology businesses to join the next cohort of our popular Pathfinder Accelerator programme. Set to start on 9 September, Pathfinder Accelerator is a fully funded, six-month programme for businesses looking to fast-track the launch of a new product, service or business model.

There are no more taster sessions for this cohort but we’re still accepting applications – contact to find out more.

If you're interested in applying for our January 2022 programme, interactive taster sessions will be held in October and November.

Wednesday 6 October (2-3 pm) 

Wednesday 10 November (2-3pm)


Jamie Mccallum

Meet our Course Director

With over 10 years’ experience in the design and delivery of business innovation and growth programmes, Jamie McCallum is exceptionally well placed to be the course director of Pathfinder Accelerator. As a former tech CEO and as a business owner (Sort & Scale Academy), Jamie knows the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship but with his knowledge of business strategy, innovation and commercialisation he is excited to lead participants through the Pathfinder Programme.

Watch this space as further speakers will be announced soon. 

Welan Farm Tiree owners crouched in grass with sheep
The advice we received was invaluable and our business has gone from strength to strength thanks to the programme.
Jason and Yvonne Lancaster, Co-founders , Welan

Karen Simpson from My Primary Tutor sitting at a desk

My Primary Tutor

Discover how one Highland business owner faced the challenges brought about by COVID-19 and, by taking part in HIE’s Pathfinder Accelerator, was able to turn them into opportunities to innovate and grow.

View case study

Proterra case study


A childhood spent in Papua New Guinea, combined with expertise in micro renewable energy systems, led Terry Stebbings and his brother Neil to develop HydroTrailer, a cost-effective mobile hydropower system designed for developing countries.

View case study

Let's Get On With It Together

LGOWIT (Let’s Get On With It Together) was established in 2011 to provide ongoing support for people living with long-term health conditions.

View case study


Do you have a question about our Pathfinder programme? Find the answers to some of our frequently asked questions below

What is the benefit to me/my business?

Two things. Speed and Action! By bringing together a highly experienced team of expert trainers, coaches and investors, Pathfinder Accelerator will help you to rapidly execute your venture in the shortest possible time. It will help you avoid costly pitfalls and rapidly increase your confidence as you evolve your ideas based on real-world action-orientated validation of your product, service, marketing, business model and more. You will have access to a network of experts and resources that you can tap into to bring your ideas to life. Plus, it's all designed so you can fit the programme around your busy schedule without the need to travel. You will be pushed to reach your goals and ensure your business is reaching its full potential.

Who can apply?

The programme is open to small-medium size businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs related to the following industries: Life sciences, healthcare, animal health, aquaculture, technology, IT, or engineering.

This business should be based in the Highland Council region and looking to launch a new product or service or changing your business model. This includes businesses using technology to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this.

What does the programme cover?

Through a series of workshops, led by highly experienced trainers, the programme covers a range of business skills. These aim to help you boost your business and fast track the development, implementation and growth of new products, services, or business models. Topics covered in the programme include:

  • Define and de-risk your venture
  • Business model design
  • Customer discovery
  • Building and leading your team
  • Funding your project
  • Pitching to investors
  • Scaling for growth

 As part of the programme, you will have access to coaching, mentoring and the opportunity to work with experienced investors and roundtable events with subject experts.

When does the programme begin?

The next programme will begin 9th September 2021. We will run three cohorts per year until 2024

When do applications close?

Applications will usually close 2 weeks before the programme start date. The upcoming closing date is 19 August 2021. If you have any questions, please contact the Pathfinder team.

How long does the programme run?

The programme runs for six months. After this you will be invited to join our alumni events.

What kind of time commitment is involved?

This programme is not additional work to squeeze into your already busy diary. It's designed to accelerate your existing commercialisation journey, helping you hit your goals sooner without wasting time going down rabbit-holes that you may have otherwise. It does this by taking you on a logical journey, with training and coaching from experts at every stage, giving you the confidence and accountability to encourage you to more rapidly set and execute key activities until you achieve your goals.

In practical terms, the programme is split into two three-month stages. In the first stage you will be required to attend one live online workshop for half a day per week. In the second stage you will be required to attend around one hour per week. Additional time will be required for 1-2-1 coaching and online learning activities throughout the programme.

What costs are involved?

The programme is free to attend.  Funding will be provided by State Subsidy and you will receive a letter to notify you of the aid received. 

Is there support available after the programme?

After the programme you will have access to alumni resources including a news bulletin, roundtable events with industry and business experts.

Northern Innovation Hub logo block

About Pathfinder and the Northern Innovation Hub

Pathfinder is a support programme delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub, designed to build on and accelerate business innovation.

It is funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal - a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands. This programme also receives financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Innovation strategic intervention.



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