8/4/2015 8:16:20 AM News

Pathfinder Accelerator

Pathfinder Sep 15 960R

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is taking applications for its business accelerator programme which starts in September.  Pathfinder offers expert help and a concentrated environment for businesses working to develop an idea and explore its commercial viability before bringing it to market.

Ten places are available for existing and start-up businesses working in the life science, technology and digital health sectors.  The programme is cost-free to all participants.  The longer term aim of the programme is to improve growth opportunities for existing businesses, build a stronger cluster of life science and technology businesses operating in the region, create new high quality jobs, and help attract new inward investors.

Pathfinder 2015 builds on the success of the accelerator pilot, which took place at the end of 2014.  Pathfinder is based on a practical programme that equips participants with the necessary skills to develop an evidence-based business model in a hands-on, highly focused environment.  The concept offers access to fast-track “pressure tester” facilities, to help entrepreneurs quickly establish whether or not their business idea will succeed in the proposed market.

If the programme delivers strong positive indicators for the idea, the business can launch a new product at substantially lower cost.  If not, the business can abandon the idea, restructure it, or decide to move in a different direction without directing any more resources at an idea that won’t work.

Learning from the initial pilot will be integrated into the second programme, through the facilitators BioCity and programme owner HIE.

Three teams took part in the initial Pathfinder Accelerator project: BlakesEye, The Centre for Rural Health, and Open Brolly.  Feedback from the first participants was overwhelmingly positive, 

Dean Mann, Director of BlakesEye commented, “Pathfinder looked like something that would sharpen up our product thinking and our marketing thinking and it certainly did that.  It is really intense and takes up a heck of a lot of time.  You can’t get away from it.  But taking part helped us realise that we have a product that we can start selling straight away."

Dr Alasdair Mort, Research Fellow from the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Rural Health, Inverness, with his colleague Anne Roberts, represented MIME–Managing Information in Medical Emergencies said “I honestly think that any business would benefit from taking part.  It gave us time away from the academic world to get to grips with the business opportunities.  Grab it – and recognise that this is an amazing opportunity.

For more information go direct to Pathfinder Accelerator>>