Today's guest blog post comes from Eleanor Mitchell, Scottish Enterprise’s Entrepreneurial Growth Director, described Grey Matters as ‘a response to the challenging economic conditions in the Aberdeen region’, today she shares her input:
Scotland’s oil and gas industry continues to face economic uncertainty. However, the challenges this represents are, in some cases, offset by the opportunity to change the way that things are done to achieve efficiencies, increase productivity or develop a new business.
Economic uncertainty has historically been a stimulator of entrepreneurship; from economic turmoil often springs new levels of business start-up activity. As such, we believe that now is the perfect time to reach out to experienced oil and gas executives, people who may be displaced by the downturn in Scotland’s North-east, those with ambition, a business idea, expertise and experience but overall a wish to meet and collaborate with like-minded people towards the creation of new businesses.
Scottish Enterprise has been working with Elevator to consider what we do together to catalyse entrepreneurship in this environment and Grey Matters is our response. Grey Matters is a pilot to see whether by bringing together executives from different functional backgrounds, diverse skillsets, experience of working in international locations and a passion for identifying problems and building solutions, we can help to generate high growth oil and gas companies of the future. In particular, we are looking for the sorts of businesses that will use their industry knowledge to come up with innovative solutions to big challenges.
Grey Matters is part of the response from the Energy Jobs Taskforce which, to date, has supported more than 800 businesses and 3,500 individuals in areas such as business resilience, efficiency, leadership, internationalisation and innovation. Over a 12-week programme, participants will be introduced to the principles of high growth entrepreneurship, use tried and tested processes to help them to find and market test innovative ideas and engage with customers. Throughout the programme the cohort will be addressed by leaders from the sector and inspirational entrepreneurs. They will be encouraged to form teams, to pitch ideas, to move at pace and get out of their comfort zone – we expect there to be a few fireworks from bringing together such a diverse group of individuals, but the Grey Matters programme has been designed to support this environment and nurture the teams that ‘click’.
We will create a dynamic environment where teams test new business ideas in a challenging, but safe environment, from which a few will be strong enough to create the core of a new high growth start-up by the end of the programme. Elevator and Scottish Enterprise will be on hand to support those early ideas to flourish and grow successfully, and to meet their full global potential. The oil and gas sector has more than its share of challenges, but it also has more than its share of opportunities, and we believe Grey Matters is a great way to assemble world-beating teams with the experience and ambition to make a real difference in the North-east.
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