Social enterprise Elevator has been commended by Gordon MP, Colin Clark, for its dedicated support to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners during a recent visit.
Visiting Elevator’s cutting-edge headquarters at Bridge of Don, Mr Clark met with chief executive Professor Gary McEwan and deputy chief executive Graham Morgan to witness the support and facilities made available to ambitious local entrepreneurs and Accelerator Programme ‘Founders’.
Each year, Elevator helps launch more than 2,500 businesses and over 1,000 to grow across Scotland through its delivery of Business Gateway services.
Mr Clark said: “It is incredible to hear that almost 15% of Scotland’s supported start-ups are based in Aberdeen City and Shire. Last year, this meant over 1,400 new businesses were supported despite the North-east having around 7% of the population. The Scottish Government use start up figures as a barometer of the country’s entrepreneurial health, which reflects just how important the North-east is when it comes to looking at the economy.”
The social enterprise hosts five accelerator programmes and leads the way in Scotland accelerating the growth of around 300 ‘Founders’ who demonstrate ambition way beyond the norm.
Elevator’s 12-week flagship programme involves immersing participants in a wide variety of entrepreneurial themes to accelerate their growth and potential to expand into global marketplaces.
Mr Clark praised the ‘Grey Matters’ initiative - a joint venture from Elevator and Scottish Enterprise. ‘Grey Matters’ aims to harness the experience, knowledge and innovation of senior oil and gas professionals, who have either faced or are facing redundancy, to collaborate and launch new high-growth businesses that will drive the future of Scotland’s energy sector forward.
Mr Clark continued: “Grey Matters is the first project of its type, providing a unique opportunity to tap into the extensive knowledge which exists within senior oil and gas professionals. There is a gap and this initiative fills it. Due to the downturn, there was little or no support for senior oil and gas professionals who had spent 20-plus years in the industry and have a vast amount of knowledge, not to mention key skills in leadership, collaboration, problem-solving and building teams.
“We, in the North-east, have suffered huge losses in our workforce because of the downturn and the concept of this project really does offer those who have found themselves unemployed after years of working in the oil and gas industry an opportunity to share their wealth of expertise and knowledge. Truly remarkable and highly beneficial to all.”
Concluding, Mr Clark added: “The underlying principle of seeking to create new businesses using the skills and experience of a more senior group, who would not have easily seen themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’, is a good one. Congratulations to Elevator and its partners who have developed this innovative way of supporting new businesses to truly maximise the opportunities for the North-east and for Scotland.”
Graham Morgan, deputy chief executive of Elevator, said: “During the pilot Grey Matters programme in 2017, out of an initial cohort of 23 participants, five new businesses were formed and the initiative was lauded as a huge success. Three of these businesses have been successful in securing a place on the prestigious TechX programme with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, which will start in the first week in June.
“This demonstrates that a truly integrated approach is being adopted in the North-east, one in which players from several organisations are working together to assist the creation and development of new high growth oil and gas businesses. The second Grey Matters cohort is at the mid-point of the programme and results are undoubtedly as impressive as those from the first cohort, with several new businesses having already been created."
Ambitious entrepreneurs who wish to further their plans can access the free support from Elevator and apply for their Accelerators across Scotland at www.elevatoruk.com.