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Blueshell Mussels & North Fish Set For Boston

Economics Education & academia +2 more

UK - Seven ambitious businesses have won a Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) sponsored place for an intensive week of entrepreneurial development at the world renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in America.

They will visit the Boston based Sloan School of Management at the end of the month to take part in the prestigious Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP). The programme forms part of HIE's strategic partnership with MIT which has been ongoing now for over five years. MIT is famous for developing and nurturing entrepreneurship around the world, and since this course began in 1999, over 500 delegates from over 30 countries have taken part.

The delegates representing the Highlands & Islands on the course in Boston are Michael Laurenson from Blueshell Mussels, and Angus Grains, of North Fish both based in Shetland. They are joined by Bruno Berardelli from Highland Wood Energy of Lochaber, Campbell Grant of Sitekit Solutions on Skye, James Ross of the Global Energy Group in Inverness, Bronwen Robinson of ZOLK in Inverness and Kathleen Lohse of Vertex in Dingwall.

"HIE's link with MIT has been created to give our businesses access to world class training and international networks. Businesses which have previously attended this intensive one week experience have returned transformed with new practical skills and ideas which they have been able to introduce in to their businesses. They are taught how to better understand the needs of their customers, position themselves within current and new markets and create lasting international connections," said Laura Dingwall, of HIE.

Based in Shetland, Blueshell Mussels has become the UK's largest rope grown mussel farm since the company's initial harvest 10 years ago. They sell mussels throughout the UK to the wholesale sector directly and also to the UK retail market through their marketing co-operative, Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG) of which Michael Laurenson is chairman.

Mr Laurenson said: "As a self-taught businessman I am open to exploring ideas and thinking innovatively about the business. Blueshell Mussels is already well linked, with a diversity of connections, and I value the opportunity to make contacts which could open doors to the North American market. Practically, I'd like to hear about innovative sales and management techniques and learn more about effective use of financial analysis."

North Fish has developed successfully and rapidly over several years from initial beginnings in marine consultancy. It now encompasses ferry services, marine operations, marine and offshore maintenance, property management, construction, and renovation. The business has grown year on year with profits being reinvested back into the business to maximise growth. Angus Grains from North Fish said: "There are many different sector opportunities which are emerging as a result of growing marine renewables activity in Shetland, Orkney and the North of Scotland.

"We see ourselves as a key supplier of solutions for difficult and remote projects. This includes positioning the ferry arm of our business so that we are ready to gain additional routes, but also to meet additional needs as they emerge in various sectors.

"We are already thinking innovatively and have ambitious growth targets in property management, marine operations, and construction.

"My aim in taking part in the EDP programme is to explore new ways of working to help us develop business growth and expansion in new markets."