Unlocking ambition: £4m fund to support entrepreneurs of the future
The ‘Unlocking Ambition Challenge’, a scheme to nurture and support up to 40 budding entrepreneurs each year, has been set out by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. It will link established entrepreneurs with high potential individuals able to demonstrate that their ideas can be a success, create jobs and benefit Scottish society.
The challenge, backed by a £4m fund, will be delivered as part of Scotland CAN DO, the programme to support Scotland becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial nation.
The entrepreneurial mentors, who will select the candidates, include James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, Leah Hutcheon, founder of online scheduling business Appointedd, Cally Russell, founder of multi-retailer shopping app Mallzee, Chris van der Kuyl, co-founder of videogame developer 4J Studios, and Amy Livingstone, co-founder of baby products company Cheeky Chompers.
Open for entry early in the New Year, the programme will recruit candidates from anywhere in the world – on the basis that they relocate or establish their business in Scotland. The successful cohort will be mentored and funded as they develop their ideas, receiving bespoke support by partner organisations from the public and private sectors.
Launching the fund at the Startup Summit – an annual event to help new businesses in Scotland to grow and thrive – the First Minister said: “We want to ensure the most talented entrepreneurs, from Scotland and elsewhere, have the best opportunities to develop their ideas here, bring them to market and create the successful new companies we need for our economy to continue to grow.
“The Unlocking Ambition Challenge is a fresh and innovative approach to how we can make this a reality. By tapping into the experience of Scotland’s most successful business people, as well as the great companies and institutions based here, we can unlock the potential of the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Commenting on today’s announcement, Leah Hutcheon said: “I am thrilled to support the Scotland Can Do Unlocking Ambition challenge. Mentoring has played an integral role in the success of Appointedd.
“My own mentors’ ongoing advice and support has been invaluable particularly over the last 18 months as we have progressed from start-up to scale-up. I look forward to being able to challenge others to unlock their ambition.”
The pandemic has taught me how to share more – and I feel a better leader for it
As a young professional starting out in the tech sector 30 years ago, I thrived on the fast pace,constant change and demanding workload. I lived in London, Singapore and Australia…
We need to shout about our successes. Liz Fletcher on celebrating women in biotech
Throughout my career in biotechnology and life sciences, I have seen many women leading ground-breaking research studies in their fields of expertise. Yet, and I include myself in this, we…
Getting the best out of patient data is key to unlocking future health benefits in Scotland
It is important that clinicians’ voices are heard in the consultation around Scotland’s new health and care data strategy, which closes this week (12 August). Busy GPs like myself are the trusted…
How motherhood helped me be a better leader
Consider this an open letter to anyone I have worked with before I became a mother and before I fully understood how being a parent is actually a prized asset…
‘We cannot achieve our goals without entrepreneurs’ – Kate Forbes on vision for new ‘tech scaler’ network
From the very start of my ministerial career, I have had responsibility for the Scottish tech sector – and I can still say what I have said from the start,…
Finding a role in cyber was ‘tough’ for Cheryl Torano. Now she’s determined to help other women join an under-represented industry
When I decided to upskill to change careers at the age of 30 and dive into the digital world, I knew I would be starting out at the bottom of…
Why innovation and marketing are the perfect partners to make changes that matter￼
With the rapid evolution of traditional marketing and the appearance of digital marketing, technology and innovation has become part of any marketer’s life without the need of working for a…
Transitioning to a four-day week – CEO’s vow to strike a healthier balance in the workplace
I came to Scotland nearly 20 years ago from Ireland, with no contacts but a lot of determination. While Ireland will always be my home, Scotland has given me amazing…