Vets and volunteers to signify Caithness on HIE Pathfinder enterprise mentoring programme

Proterra Energy's Terry Stebbings says participating in the Pathfinder program has helped him focus his business more.Proterra Energy’s Terry Stebbings says participating in the Pathfinder program has helped him focus his business more.

Wick-based Caithness Voluntary Group and Halkirk’s Vet Public Health Consultancy will represent the Far North in the latest business mentoring program, Pathfinder Accelerator.

You are among nine companies selected for the six-month program developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to drive growth in life sciences and technology and bring new business ideas to market faster.

As the seventh group since the start of the program in 2018, the participating companies receive specialist training and support.

The program is offered online by training specialist Skillfluence Ltd, who have developed and designed a new course structure including an e-learning platform to make the course more accessible.

Caithness Voluntary Group provides digital literacy support packages for third sector organizations, while Vet Public Health Consultancy explores how veterinary science can contribute to one-health solutions to ensure optimal human, animal and environmental health.

The other participating companies are: the Mauritian cuisine specialist Zepice from Muir of Ord; Grantown-on-Speys Red

Sock laundromat; Healthcare News Scotland Ltd and SAMS Enterprise, both from Oban; and Highland Food and Drink Club CIC, health and wellness events and coaching service Change Your World Events Ltd and Ness Biosensors Ltd, all in Inverness.

The program is part of The Northern Innovation Hub, which is being led by HIE on behalf of the Inverness-Highland City-Region Deal and with $ 11 million in -2020. The deal is a £ 315 million joint initiative supported by both the UK and Scottish governments.

The program offers companies in all phases of their development the opportunity to test a new product or process for its marketability. It combines weekly workshops, master classes and individual coaching. The aim is to set up a new company or bring a new product to market in less time with significantly less money.

Andrea McColl, Senior Development Manager Life Sciences at HIE, said, “It’s always exciting to meet a new group of Pathfinder attendees for the first time. We look forward to supporting them in their endeavors over the next six months and beyond. I am sure you will have many inspiring discussions with the coaches and guest speakers on a range of topics such as product development, innovation, business strategy, finance and investments. “

Among the companies benefiting from a previous program is Inverness-based Proterra Energy Ltd. Terry Stebbings, together with his brother Neil, developed Hydro Trailer – an affordable mobile hydropower system for developing countries.

Terry said, “Pathfinder brought us closer to focus. We wanted to meet with organizations like Oxfam and the Red Cross – but Pathfinder pushed us to find out who can make the decisions our business needs and how we can anticipate them. Before participating, we were brushed too broadly. The course helped us to distill our product and break down our markets and customers. “

Skillfluence Ltd will work with Investing Women Angels to provide business advice and assistance to participants. They provide coaching and mentoring, and help develop networks, sourcing, funding, and planning for future growth.

Pathfinder will begin recruiting for additional recordings from January 2022. Register for a trial lesson to find out more about the program: Register here for the trial session on October 6th and here on November 10th.

With additional funding from HIE, places are available for businesses, social enterprises and entrepreneurs from across the highlands and islands.

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