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HIE mentoring programme will help Highland business leaders achieve their potential

By Calum MacLeod

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IMAPCT30 participants will be mentored by business experts.
IMAPCT30 participants will be mentored by business experts.

Another 22 young business leaders from around the Highlands and Islands have become the latest to take part in a year-long programme aimed at developing the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Open to people aged 35 and under who are in key decision-making roles in young, ambitious businesses, the IMPACT30 programme provides personalised support, coaching and mentoring responsive to each participant’s unique needs. This latest cohort will take the number of people who have participated in the programme to over 100.

IMPACT30 forms part of the Northern Innovation Hub, a project led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and is delivered on HIE’s behalf by Anderson Anderson and Brown Consulting (AAB) who use their extensive business network to connect participants with top industry experts.

Lizi Blackwood, development manager with HIE’s Northern Innovation Hub, said: “Once again I’m delighted to see the growing levels of interest from our young entrepreneurs wanting to join our IMPACT30 family. This is now our sixth group, and one I am particularly excited about, especially given the focus many have on green and ethical business.”

“The focus for me when selecting each group is on the quality and potential of the young business. That made the selection incredibly difficult given the high number of quality applications.”

Christina Mackay of Inverness fundraising consultancy Pledge to Thrive is part of this year’s cohort. She said: "As a new business owner, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work through the IMPACT30 programme to gain expertise and bespoke support on how to run a successful business and turn our passion into profit!

“The programme also provides us with a great chance to build relationships in the local area with other professionals across different sectors, helping us gain exposure and grow our network. After a long year of isolation and lockdown, being surrounded by likeminded people with big aspirations for the future is exactly the type of inspiration and drive I was looking for. The rest of this year’s cohort and myself would like to extend a huge thanks to all involved in giving us this amazing opportunity.”

Mark Bell, programme director at AAB, said: “It’s fascinating to get an insight into the various challenges these young entrepreneurs face, and we are privileged to have the chance to support them.

“Over the years we have seen more and more collaboration between participating businesses. That collaboration is something we want to stimulate and harness as we welcome our 100th participant to the programme.”

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