A new entrepreneurship initiative which aims to harness the experience, knowledge and innovation of senior oil and gas professionals who are either facing redundancy, or have been made redundant, is set to be launched in Aberdeen.
Grey Matters is a joint initiative from Elevator and Scottish Enterprise, which is geared to help drive forward the future of energy in Scotland by supporting 15 to 20 experienced individuals from the sector to work together to create a number of oil and gas businesses with high-growth potential.
Deputy CEO at Elevator, Graham Morgan, said Grey Matters is the first project of its type, and will provide a unique opportunity to tap into the extensive knowledge which exists within senior oil and gas professionals.
“There is currently little or no support out there for senior oil and gas professionals who have spent 20-plus years in the industry, and have a vast amount of knowledge, not to mention key skills in leadership, collaboration, problem solving and building teams.
“There is the potential for a huge amount of knowledge to be lost when, due to being regarded as an expensive asset, individuals are made redundant. Grey Matters is a pilot programme for people in that very situation, perhaps feeling restless or underwhelmed by the industry at present. 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 seedling of an idea that they can work on with a team of like-minded people.
“Applicants must be able to dedicate 12 weeks to the programme, which is an intense learning and growth experience set in our world-class centre for entrepreneurship in Aberdeen; the principles they will learn from Grey Matters will set them on the right steps to creating and building high-growth, scalable businesses that can have an impact on the global energy sector.”
Grey Matters will be managed by David Christie, a former military officer in the Royal Air Force, who has many years’ experience working with Aberdeen Enterprise Trust (now Elevator) supporting business start-up and high growth organisations. David also runs his own business, which is focused on entrepreneurship, leadership and management.
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, fund-raising, team management and intellectual property.
Eleanor Mitchell, Scottish Enterprise’s Entrepreneurial Growth Director, described Grey Matters as ‘a response to the challenging economic conditions in the Aberdeen region’.
“Entrepreneurial activity flourishes in a time of economic uncertainty, and we believe that there is an opportunity to catalyse entrepreneurship within executives in the Oil and Gas community with experience of operating in a global market,” she said.
“Grey Matters is part of 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.”