Supporting entrepreneurs and innovators in the heart of Aberdeenshire

Monday 02 March 2020

Two women holding up the LINA logo
Rural businesses across the North East are set to get a boost with the launch of the LINA Accelerator, supporting local entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a reality or scale existing businesses.

Designed to help existing and startup businesses to grow, the new Libraries and Innovation Network Aberdeenshire (LINA) Accelerator is the second phase of the initiative, expanding upon the network’s already successful workshop offering in Banff and Peterhead libraries.

A partnership between Robert Gordon University (RGU) and Aberdeenshire Council, LINA was launched last year to offer libraries as modern co-working spaces and resources to support business creation and drive economic growth in rural communities through the development of new products, services and opportunities.

Those taking part in the LINA accelerator can expect coaching and development in key areas such as: determining the direction of your business, setting and achieving targets, adapting your business model to cut costs and increase revenue, adopting a customer-focused approach and how this supports brand and marketing.

Participants will also gain access to the RGU’s entrepreneurial toolkit, which highlights case studies and a range of business canvases, including customer persona and customer journey mapping, to ensure that products or services add value for the customer.

“LINA is tailored to the needs of rural communities and is creating strong networks and a pipeline of new businesses with growth potential in the north east of Scotland,” says Chris Moule, Head of the RGU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group. “The LINA Accelerator builds on the first phase of the programme to provide more in-depth support through a six-week programme of mentorship and development.

“By reimagining the use of existing local libraries, we’ll attract new users to the facilities with fresh ideas, encouraging collaborations and enhancing confidence and skills to build community strength.”

The new business accelerator programme will begin on Thursday 5 March in Peterhead Library and on Friday 6 March in Banff Library. It is free and open to everyone. You can apply to take part in the LINA Accelerator through Aberdeenshire Council.

The network launched in October of 2019 with a series of standalone one-day taster workshops in Peterhead and Banff libraries. The workshops supported individuals with businesses from a wide range of industries, including architects, jewellery makers, charities, mental health services and fitness instructors.

Angus McCurrah is founder of Huggadrum, and attended a LINA workshop in Peterhead.

“I found the business planning exercises very beneficial, particularly for having a plan for each different category of customers,” said Angus. “The workshop gave me confidence and motivation to take my ideas forward and the presenters had a depth of knowledge that enabled them to address any questions.

“I have since had a follow up with a member of the LINA team to review my progress and learning. She provided me with further practical support, advice and guidance.”

For anyone who missed the LINA one-day taster workshops, these are due to run again in new areas of Aberdeenshire; Turriff, Strichen, Rosehearty, New Pitsligo, Cairnbulg, Fraserburgh and Macduff libraries. These sessions can be booked through Live Life Aberdeenshire.

The LINA project is part-funded by the LEADER Scottish Rural Development Programme, which aims to increase support to local rural community and business networks to build knowledge and skills, and encourage innovation and cooperation to tackle local development objectives.

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