A transformative initiative which aims to bring together experienced oil and gas professionals who have been made redundant and help them create new businesses is to be launched in Aberdeen following a successful pilot.
Applications are now open for Grey Matters, a joint initiative from Elevator and Scottish Enterprise, which will get underway on January 25, 2018. More than 11 applications have been received already.
The pilot programme which ran earlier this year saw several scalable companies being established, including Blue Gentoo, which offers products and services to support gas hydrate management.
Grey Matters aims to drive the future of energy in Scotland by bringing together the experience and knowledge of ambitious individuals facing redundancy from the oil and gas sector and supporting them to work together to create a high growth business.
Up to 20 participants will take part in idea generation and innovation workshops so a business idea is not essential.
Grey Matters Project Manager John Harris said the pilot programme had shown that the unique knowledge of senior oil and gas professionals could spawn exciting and ambitious business ideas.
“The pilot of Grey Matters resulted in several businesses being created and some of those are already doing extremely well,” he said. “The opportunity to meet like-minded people but with different skills sets and experience allows participants to work together to either brainstorm industry solutions or to build on an existing idea that could have huge potential.”
John said there was the potential for a huge amount of knowledge to be lost when people are made redundant.
“There is currently little or no support out there for oil and gas professionals who have built up a vast amount of knowledge, not to mention key skills in leadership, collaboration, problem solving and building teams, yet find themselves redundant.
“We are looking for a variety of people – either those who don’t currently have a business concept, but do have a vast amount of knowledge and expertise, or those who do have the spark of an idea that they can work on with a team of like-minded people.
“Grey Matters will give them an intense learning and growth experience set in our world-class centre for entrepreneurship in Aberdeen.”
Applicants must be able to dedicate 12 weeks to the programme, which will be based at Elevator’s Centre for Entrepreneurship at The Hub in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. The social enterprise works across Scotland to help facilitate the start-up, acceleration and growth of new and existing businesses.
Eleanor Mitchell, Scottish Enterprise’s Entrepreneurial Growth Director, said: “Following the success of the pilot of Grey Matters, Scottish Enterprise is really excited to be running a second programme with Elevator. The enthusiasm and eagerness to learn shown by the previous cohort, coupled with the wealth of industry knowledge still located in the North-east demonstrates the potential for high growth companies solving market problems to be formed and grown in the region.”
Collaboration both within the cohort and with external partners will be encouraged and there will be a strong emphasis on networking and engaging with local and global experts and mentors. Topics covered will include business planning, globalisation, marketing, fundraising, team management and intellectual property.
Phil Bremner was one of the participants in the pilot of Grey Matters and is now CEO of Blue Gentoo.
“I was overwhelmed at the ‘can do’ attitude from the mentors, the knowledge shared and presented by academics and industry leading figures,” he said. “From day one, it was such a great environment and everyone was so motivated to help us succeed from our chosen business dream and turn it into a reality.”