Experts needed to lead entrepreneur lessons

Nicola Douglas Picture Credit John Paul/HIE

Experts are being sought to help hone the skills of Highlands and Islands’ business leaders as part of a £2.5million scheme.

Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) plans to run a series of “executive entrepreneurship masterclasses”, designed, it says, to “tackle the most difficult problem areas for established entrepreneurs”.

The Scottish Government-funded body has launched a £500,000 procurement exercise to select consultants to deliver the training.

Areas the classes will cover include “structured steps in the entrepreneur’s journey,” “creating and maintaining competitive advantage” and “strategic marketing and negotiations”.

They will be open to leaders of third sector organisations as well as businesses.

An HIE spokesman said the sessions would form part of the wider three-year entrepreneur support programme being launched by the agency.

He added that the new scheme, some elements of which will be delivered through a partnership with Scottish Enterprise (SE) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), would build on previous work by the agencies over the past 10 years.

He said the latest initiative was aimed at “drawing in more entrepreneurs and sharing international best practice from new sources.”

The wider programme includes inspirational lectures, skills and new product development workshops and a “Can Do SCALE summer school.”

It will run until March 2020, with a total cost of £2.5million, including £1.48million from HIE and contributions from SE, the SFC and, until December 2018, the European Regional Development Fund.

HIE’s spokesman said there would be a charge to attend the masterclasses, which would go towards funding the programme.

Nicola Douglas, HIE’s regional head of client management, said: “As development agencies, we need to recognise the critical role of entrepreneurship in driving growth, particularly through innovation.

“We need to have the right range of accessible advice and products that meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs; to build ambition and capability and thereby accelerate growth. That’s what our entrepreneurship programme is about.

“Integral to the programme is our continued engagement with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other global leaders from the US, Europe and the UK to enable entrepreneurs in the region to access more world-leading business thinking.”