Media Release: Highlands and Islands businesses top of the class at MIT

TWO Highlands and Islands businesses have been sent to the top of the class by one of the world’s most-renowned business schools.

Bruno Berardelli, of Highland Wood Energy in Fort William and Michael Laurenson, of Blueshell Mussels in Shetland, have both excelled at an entrepreneurs development programme at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston.

The programme is made possible through the partnership Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has developed with MIT to give local businesses access to world-class business and sales training and the latest in research and development techniques.

Bruno won the Elevator Pitch competition, where he had to convince a prospective  investor to buy into his product, and the business plan competition was won by a team which included Michael Laurenson.

Both are delighted to have had their efforts recognised.

Seven businesses from the Highlands and Islands are taking part in the week long programme.

They are working with over 115 businesses from 30 countries across the world.

“EDP 2010 is a fantastic learning experience. I have learned a lot of practical lessons from some very high calibre people which will undoubtedly help me to grow the business back home,” said Bruno.

Michael added: “Our time at MIT has been great, we have been working collectively with world class business leaders experiencing very valuable, highly condensed business skills. I was very privileged to be part of the team which presented the winning business plan to the judging panel, which incidentally focused on a fish farm device which could have great potential for the industry.”

Laura Dingwall, of HIE commented: “I am so proud of our businesses. It is no surprise to me that the skills of our Highland and Island’s people are coming out on top, all seven of our delegates have been clear on their business challenges and focused on how they want to grow.

“In coming to MIT the businesses have been open to new ideas and finding people with the experience to help them grow beyond their current markets. The real difference that being in an environment at a place like MIT is they feel convinced that they are truly capable of becoming world leaders in their field.

“HIE is delighted to support innovation and entrepreneurship in our region and to help our businesses access international ideas, contacts and markets.”

Both the winners have also previously attended the Institute of Directors’ Director Development Programme through HIE.

Bill Aulet, is EDP faculty director, senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School and the acting managing director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center.

He commented: “I was very impressed by the whole Scottish group that came to the Entrepreneurship Development Programme this year. Their capability and confidence grew throughout the week as a result of their hard work and by the end of the week, two Scots, Michael Laurenson and Bruno Berardelli came away with top prize each for the Business Plan Competition and the Elevator Pitch Competition respectively.

“Congratulations to the participants for their hard work and for Highlands & Islands Enterprise for putting in the effort to prepare their businesses. We look forward to the companies creating significant growth in the Highlands and Islands in near the future and will be continuing to work with them to take forward their learning at EDP.”

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Contact: Lesley Gallagher
Phone: 01463 244244