Connectivity (net) works

17th March 2021
Written by: Carol-Ann Adams, Interface

Interface’s place-based approach means that nowhere is left behind when it comes to accessing innovation support.

With strong networks across the Highlands and Islands, every community can access Interface’s support – whether it is through a community group, third sector organisation or business, partnering with a university or college on a collaborative project.

To see some of the hundreds of collaborations we have supported, read about our case studies.

Carol-Ann Adams is one of three members of the Interface team located in the region. We put a few questions to her, to find out more about the strength of networks and how it is helping forge business-academic collaborations.

What difference do you think it makes to businesses having you located in the Highlands and Islands?

I think it’s important to them that we know of any local challenges they may be facing, or anything happening in their area which can affect their business or their customers. We are a team of three, all working and living in the region that we cover, so we understand there can be additional circumstances to take into account due to the geographical spread and dispersed nature of the environment.    

How important are networks with other business support organisations?

We simply can’t do without the invaluable support we receive from our partner networks. Due to the size of the area that we cover, our team relies on colleagues within organisations spread far and wide to spot potential projects when speaking with businesses, and refer customers on to us. This includes Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Business Gateway, Chambers of Commerce, local councils, Impact Hub, True North Innovation and the Federation of Small Businesses (to name but a few!).     

Has the pandemic had any effect on the way you have been able to work with your partners?

Yes it has. Instead of meeting face-to-face at an event or in their offices, often travelling for a few hours each day, we “meet” during webinars or on individual video calls. These have turned out to be a fantastic way of keeping engaged and sharing ideas and information to help the businesses we support.

What difference has being online made to the way that you support businesses, instead of attending events physically?

To be honest, the service we provide hasn’t changed that much in the virtual world, as a lot of what we do to secure academic support is carried out online anyway. Reaching new clients and sharing what we do, now that is more challenging, as we aren’t out and about and able to spread the word of our fantastic (free) service. If any business would like to find out more, or if you have any questions about a potential project, our H&I Business Engagement team can be contacted quickly and easily by emailing us directly – we would love to hear from you:

covering Moray, Caithness & Sutherland and Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross.

covering Shetland, Orkney, Outer Hebrides and Argyll & the Islands.

covering Inner Moray Firth area.