TWENTY FIVE budding businesspeople graduated from the Pathways Programme, celebrating entrepreneurial greatness across Forth Valley.

The Pathways Programme, created by Ceteris Scotland, allowed each participant to pitch their idea for a share of £10,000 worth of prize money.

On hand to congratulate the graduates was Councillor Ellen Forson, leader of Clackmannanshire Council.

She said: “Congratulations to all the Pathways Programme graduates. Their creativity, tenacity, and community spirit are truly inspiring.

“With 98 per cent of business in Clackmannanshire classed as small or micro businesses, it’s clear to see how fledgling businesses like these make a huge contribution to our local economy.

“This programme, funded by the Pathways Pre-Start Fund, exemplifies the Scottish Government’s Community Wealth Building approach to economic growth to tackle systemic challenges and inequalities within our communities.

“I wish all the entrepreneurs the best of luck as they launch their new ventures.”

The programme aimed to full immerse candidates in practical, hands-on experiences spanning business ideation, market analysis, and effective business execution strategies.

A pivotal part of the programme allowed participants to pitch for a grant of up to £1000 to help them kickstart their idea.

Some of the ideas pitched included helping migrants to settle into the country, to mental health solutions and digital marketing innovations.

These pitches were then judged by a panel of successful entrepreneurs and experts, with 15 of them emerging victorious and sharing the money between them.

Maggie Gorman, business support and development director of Ceteris, added: “At Ceteris, we are committed to fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation within our community.

“The graduation of these 25 aspiring entrepreneurs is a testament to the power of support, education and opportunity in unlocking potential and driving economic growth.

“Congratulations to all our budding entrepreneurs who have taken part in the Pathways Programme over the last three months.

“We’re looking forward to watching our Pathways graduates put their ideas into action and create a successful future for themselves and their business.

“Thanks to the Scottish Government Pathways Pre-Start Fund, which provided the funding for the Pathways Programme.”