Entrepreneurial skills the theme of North Highland Regeneration AGM

The North Highland Regeneration Fund has today (11th November) hosted its ninth Annual General Meeting at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso, with youth enterprise and entrepreneurial skills being a key focus of the event.

In addition to the formal AGM proceedings, the event saw the second stage of the iStart Challenge, a competition run by the North Highland College with support from North Highland Regeneration Fund and designed to encourage entrepreneurial spirit amongst young people aged 16-24 in the area.

A total of eight teams and individuals – selected from an initial pool of nineteen applications – were invited to pitch their business idea to a panel of expert judges, who gave them feedback in a range of areas such as clarity of the business idea, marketing and market research, and presentation skills.

All eight applicants will be given a chance to incorporate the judges’ feedback before making a final pitch to the panel at an event in early December, where the winners in a number of categories will be selected and prizes awarded. Those attending the final event will also hear a motivational speech from Ashleigh Porter-Exley, winner of the Young Apprentice 2012.

As well as the iStart pitches, the audience at the AGM also had the opportunity to hear students at North Highland College discuss how enterprise and entrepreneurial skills have been embedded throughout their courses.

Speaking after the event, NHRF Chairman The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Thurso said: “I am delighted that the Fund has been able to work with North Highland College to deliver this fantastic opportunity to some of our brightest and most enterprising young people. Encouraging entrepreneurial spirit amongst young people will be key to the economic success of the area, and it’s clear from seeing the enthusiasm and ambition that these young people have that they will go on to become the business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.

“The North Highland Regeneration Fund has always been about more than just giving out loans – the support we can offer to both start-ups and existing businesses makes a real difference in helping them to achieve their aims. The support that the Fund has been able to offer these young people as they take their first steps into the wider world of business is a perfect example of how the Fund goes above and beyond to offer support to the wider business community in the area.”

The Fund is ‘Open for Business’ and offers support by the way of loans of between £5,000 and £50,000.  Applicants must be in the Dounreay travel to work area, must have an appropriate commercial structure to which funding can be delivered (such as a limited company) and be able to demonstrate long term viability and job growth and retention in the area.

Any business interested in finding out more can do so by visiting http://www.nhrf.co.uk or contacting the Managing Agent on 01847 500103 or enquiries@nhrf.co.uk for an informal chat.