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Help turning ideas into profits on the way in north

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A scheme aimed at helping start-up companies in the life sciences sector commercialise new ideas is being launched in the Highlands and islands.

The Pathfinder Accelerator programme will enable firms to explore the commercial potential of products or services before bringing them to market.

Run by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the programme’s planned launch early in the New Year follows successful pilots in 2014 and 2015.

With new funding from the Inverness and Highland City-Region deal, HIE is leading the development of the new Northern Innovation Hub, which is intended to drive innovation in four key sectors.

A spokesman for HIE said: “One of these sectors is life sciences and as part of our effort to boost innovation in this sector we are planning to run the Pathfinder Accelerator programme over the next six years.

“This will enable around 50 more businesses to accelerate their ideas towards commercialisation and make a significant contribution to business growth in life sciences.”

Pathfinder Accelerator is described as a 12-week intensive programme that tests ideas, using proven business techniques that support entrepreneurship, with a further three months of coaching and mentoring.

It is said to help businesses make valuable connections and give them access to information on sources of funding for future growth.

Successes from earlier pilots include a system designed to support the first person on the scene of a medical emergency.

HIE is advertising for consultants to deliver the programme in a contract worth up to £550,000 over three years.

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