Perthshire entrepreneurs prepare to be accelerated to business success

Entrepreneurs from across the creative sector are set to join social enterprise Elevator’s first Accelerator Programme in Perth when it launches on 20 February 2018, as part of the Famous Grouse Ideas Centre.

Currently based at the AK Bell Library, the “Famous Grouse Ideas Centre Accelerator” is designed to support and encourage existing creative businesses to flourish in the creative industries; one of Scotland’s most prosperous and promising economic sectors.

Around 60 entrepreneurial hopefuls, from across Perthshire, Fife, Tayside and the Lothians, noted their interest and applied to the pilot programme and following a ‘boot camp’ session, 14 final applicants were selected to join the 12-week programme.

Over the course of the Famous Grouse Ideas Centre Accelerator, the 14 “Founders” will be immersed in a variety of business themes, including; business modelling, goal setting, market and opportunity identification and scale, growth and exit strategies.

Elevator’s selected partners and mentors – including HR specialists Fairways and intellectual property attorneys Murgitroyd – will motivate the Founders through stories of their own success and advice and guidance in their own specialities.

Perth will also be home to Elevator’s first “Entrepreneur in Residence” as Stephen Gorton of award-winning marketing business Fraktul, will not only participate in the Accelerator Programme but will mentor and support the other Founders by drawing on his experience of successfully growing businesses.

Other participants taking part in the pilot programme include Freya Cumming, a specialist in hand-printing bespoke wallpapers for retailers, hotels, restaurants and private customers, Sally Sneddon of MOJO Interior Design and Kirsten Stewart of customised stationary and graphic design firm Freefall Design.

Fiona van Aswegen of Kranôg will also participate in the Accelerator and is already seeing the initial success of her uniquely designed self-catering accommodation unit. A prototype, suitable as a holiday home, secondary accommodation or even an office space, will be launching at renowned eco-business Comrie Croft in spring 2018.

Fiona said: “We’ve developed an off-grid, sustainable and luxurious accommodation unit and it’s great to see that it’s already proving successful. However, being an entrepreneur means you are always learning and developing. The Accelerator Programme will provide me with lessons on how to spot and take advantage of new commercial opportunities and protect my business through financial planning and supplier management.”

Caryn Gibson, Accelerator manager for Perth, added: “Each year, creative industries in Scotland contribute £3.7bn to the economy and we’re on a mission to enhance Perth’s position as the nation’s heart of creative entrepreneurialism.

“Our pilot initiative will see 14 inspiring Founders undertake an intensive 12-week programme packed full of vital lessons and guidance on how to accelerate their businesses to the next stage of growth and success. We’re looking forward to guiding them through the process and launching the next set of Scotland’s most innovative start-ups.”

The Accelerator Programme will sit alongside the “Creative Pipeline” and “Incubator” business support programmes, delivered by Culture Perth and Kinross and the Cultural Enterprise Office respectively. The trio of initiatives will offer business support from pre-idea, through to start-up, and ongoing support for established and growing businesses.

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