ORGANISATION // Lews Castle College
PROJECT // Innovation Centre
TOTAL PROJECT COST // £89,616.21
LEADER FUNDING PROVIDED // £29,953.98
The aim of the project is to create a centre that will stimulate enterprise, knowledge transfer and commercialisation through licensing and start-up companies locally, at a grass roots level. It is the intention that this will promote regeneration locally and help to reverse the historic trend of talent, youth and experience leaving the islands for opportunities elsewhere.
The Innovation centre is planning to take a number of groups and individuals that have an idea or concept and provide the necessary training in technology and business/entrepreneurship that will enable them to take a product or service to market. Local individuals, community groups, young budding entrepreneurs - anyone with a good idea or concept and a willingness to take it to a commercial level will benefit. The emphasis around the Innovation Centre will be entrepreneurship and developing the ability to start a business locally rather than seeking solutions elsewhere.
It benefits target groups by making available many of the resources and expertise necessary for overcoming a number of the initial hurdles surrounding starting up a new business. Such resources would normally have to be sourced from out with the islands at considerable expense. Skills and knowledge from further afield will also be utilised for the benefit of end users at the innovation centre. The College already has established links throughout the North of Scotland as part of the University of the Highlands and Islands and it has connections across the European Union that it continues to develop. The centre will also benefit the community and economy as a whole, assisting with the development of new business ventures created at the local level, providing new employment opportunities and generating wealth.
This project is innovative as far as the Wester Isles is concerned, as there is no other opportunity available locally to provide all the necessary facilities and training, free at the point of use, to take an idea to the point of commercialisation. The centre will nurture local talent and encourage local economic development in a new sector that is not as disadvantaged by remoteness as other more traditional sectors.