Young entrepreneurs encouraged to apply to business support programme

Deborah Tait (development manager with HIE's Northern Innovation Hub team)

YOUNG business leaders in the Highlands and Islands are being encouraged to apply to 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.

It is a fully funded business growth programme, offering bespoke support from industry specialists. Applications are now open for the next course, which begins in the autumn.

The programme is open to people aged 35 and under, who are in key decision-making roles in young ambitious businesses.

Launched in 2018, it provides relevant and innovative training designed to challenge, support and inspire participants to refine their creative thinking and build successful businesses.

So far, 98 young entrepreneurs have already benefitted from the programme. Among them is Izzy Cunningham of the Isle of Skye, whose business Scribe & Grow produces plantable candles and cards.

Reflecting on her experience of IMPACT30, she said:

“IMPACT30 was great because it gave me a business mentor and I was part of a network of like-minded people. If I’d never been on the course, I wouldn’t have got into John Lewis when I did, and my business might not have been so successful.

“The support and networking is something you can’t buy. Meeting others who are in the same boat is has been so beneficial.” 

Jack Barrie of Inverness took his idea for a revolutionary supplement shaker bottle to IMPACT30 before setting up his business, VShake. He said:

“When I found IMPACT30 on the HIE website, I saw that as an opportunity to meet up with fellow entrepreneurs and get the much, much needed mentorship that I had never had before. And also, I think it’s almost a safety net as well, the psychology of being in a group seems very safe. It feels like you’re not on your own anymore.

“IMPACT30 has definitely helped me refine my inventing process. Immensely. Absolutely. So that’s extremely valuable.”

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’s proved extremely popular and we would urge any young entrepreneurs who have not yet taken part to explore how IMPACT30 could benefit them.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said:

“It has never been more important that we support the talented entrepreneurs that are the future of our economy. The success of the previous IMPACT30 participants are a fantastic example of what the right support and mentorship can do for innovative entrepreneurs and their businesses. I encourage all future young business leaders to apply for this fantastic programme.

“The UK Government is investing £11m in the Northern Innovation Hub as part of more than £2bn invested directly in Scotland to level up communities.”

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.

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

The latest stories