Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner and Annual Awards | Accelerate your Life Sciences Business with the Pathfinder Accelerator
Scotland’s vibrant life sciences industry contributes more than £3 billion a year to the Scottish economy and is globally recognised for its impact and high levels of innovation.
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Accelerate your Life Sciences Business with the Pathfinder Accelerator


Are you a Life Sciences company looking to grow? Dr Andrea McColl, Senior Development Manager – Life Sciences at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, blogs about the Pathfinder Accelerator, a 12-week intensive business programme currently recruiting for new applicants.

Putting Great Business Ideas on the Fast Track to Success

What do life sciences and technology SMEs need to commercialise their ideas? Technical and business skills of course, but also time and space to test their entrepreneurial hypotheses – allowing them to develop products and services that have a clear value and market pull.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) offers support to accelerate innovative ideas towards commercialisation through the Pathfinder Accelerator programme. Funded also through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal (CRD)* and the European Regional Development Fund**, the programme provides intensive coaching and advice to prepare companies for rapid growth. Access to collaborative office space is also available during the seven year programme period.

The ambition is to contribute to the growth of the life sciences sector in Scotland and in doing so encourage the adoption of new technologies and create more opportunities to attract and retain young people in the Highlands and Islands.

Collaboration and Synergies

The programme builds on a strong collaborative partnership comprising the NHS, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and HIE. The collaborative work between these three partners in the worlds of healthcare, academia and economic development facilitates a broad range of health and social care projects.

The Pathfinder Accelerator programme and commercial space will complement other activities by the UHI and NHS Highland on and around Inverness Campus. Indeed, it is this joined up approach where new business relationships can be built and options are available to work with the NHS that has attracted the growing cluster of companies based around the Campus.

In one of the latest developments, NHS Highland is leading on the planned elective care and research centre for the north of Scotland, offering a best in class delivery of knee, hip and cataract surgery as well as the full range of ophthalmology outpatient services.

Located adjacent will be space for new research and development opportunities at UHI based around the work in the elective care centre. Again, this is made possible through funding from the Inverness and Highland CRD, and will establish a centre for excellence in innovation and commercialisation as part of its School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences

This will include opportunities, also supported by investment from HIE, for postdoctoral clinical studies for healthcare staff, specialist support for research commercialisation and development of collaborative research teams. These teams will focus on key regional themes such as remote and rural health, digital health and diabetes.

The shared ambition is to create a seamless pathway for entrepreneurs and businesses, from early stages of idea and product generation, to later stages of commercialisation and market launch.  HIE’s commercial space will ensure the benefits of the collaboration are commercialised and attract new life sciences businesses to the region.

Pathfinder Accelerator

We are now recruiting for the first cohort of the Pathfinder Accelerator, which will take life sciences and technology businesses, entrepreneurs and university spin-outs through an intensive programme.

The Pathfinder Accelerator provides an exciting and challenging environment, comprising a 12-week programme that tests ideas, using proven lean start up techniques, and a further three months of coaching and mentoring support. Pathfinder bootcamps will take the programme beyond Inverness into the Highland region.

So, what do businesses get out of participating? Here’s what participants of previous pilots have said:

“This is the best programme we have been on and the biggest contribution to our business development ever.” David Sim, openbrolly

“Taking part in Pathfinder made us realise that our original target market presumption was incorrect.” Alastair Mort, MIME Technologies Ltd

We are delighted to be sponsoring Scotlands Life Science Awards 2018 and hope you will take the opportunity on the night to speak to us about Pathfinder Accelerator and Inverness Campus.

For more information, click here

*The project forms part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal which is a joint initiative supported by up to £315 million investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highland and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

**The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

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