About Unlocking Ambition

Scottish Enterprise is supporting 20 established entrepreneurs to help them accelerate the growth of their business and develop their personal potential as the leader of a scalable business.

“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.”

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon

Entrepreneurs on the SE programme will receive intensive wrap-around support from a dedicated Programme Account team of business development and technical specialists, access to a Financial Readiness expert, SE’s international market research unit and a fast-track into SE/SDI account management products and services. In addition, each entrepreneur on the SE programme receives a £25,000 grant award at the outset of the programme with the opportunity to apply for further grant funding. The total package of support is worth over £100,000 per entrepreneur.

In addition to the direct support provided by their Programme delivery organisation, the Unlocking Ambition cohort receives:

  • free Membership of Entrepreneurial Scotland
  • free Membership of Scotland House in London
  • exclusive access to high profile entrepreneur exemplars at Round Table meetings
  • at least one international visit to build international connections
  • access to a series of 4 world-class Purpose-Driven Enterprise masterclasses

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is also working with 20 early-stage entrepreneurs, each hosted by a Scottish University or research institute through a new Enterprise Fellowship programme.


About the programme

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“Unlocking Ambition offers innovative entrepreneurs everything they need to take their business to the next level – time, money and amazing support. It’s an extraordinary opportunity that will unearth the game-changers of the future and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

James Watt, BrewDog co-founder

Backed by Scotland’s First Minister, Unlocking Ambition is a £4m challenge fund created by the Scottish Government as part of the Programme for Government A Nation with Ambition and delivered by Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem partners.

Unlocking Ambition supports a cohort of 40 highly ambitious entrepreneurs based on their individual entrepreneurial potential, the quality and innovation of their business and the contribution they can make to an inclusive, Scottish economy.


The future

Those businesses showing the most progress over the 12 months will be invited to continue into a second year of support.

The Unlocking Ambition programme aims to increase the number of sustainable purpose-driven scale-ups in Scotland by addressing key barriers to scale, maximising the value the Scottish ecosystem has to offer and driving a culture of inclusivity, impact delivery and social responsibility.


The team

The UA Account Team

The dedicated Unlocking Ambition Account Team works together across the whole portfolio of 20 companies undertaking the SE Unlocking Ambition Programme with collective responsibility for working with the whole group over the course of the 12-month Programme. They will undertake full business reviews; develop bespoke action plans for each of the entrepreneurs; and push the boundaries of Scottish Enterprise’s standard service to try new, innovative ways of supporting entrepreneurial talent.

For the duration of the Programme the SE UA participants are taken into account management and can access Scottish Enterprise and HIE’s full range of support with increased contribution rates on framework products to help accelerate their growth plans. A formalised Growth Plan will be developed by each company with the support of the UA Account Team.

Each entrepreneur on the SE programme receives a grant award at the outset of the programme with the opportunity to apply for further development funding. The total package of support is worth over £100,000 per entrepreneur. In addition to an array of support delivered through SE and SDI products and services, the UA Participants are able to apply for further development funding in for projects that the company needs to accelerate growth activity.

The UA Account Team comprises of Denise O’Connor, Elizabeth Baird, Bill Watt, Iain MacGillivry, Yvonne McLaren-Robertson, Nicola Gibson, Emily Wilson, Rupert Mills, Graeme Clark and Shelley Watt from Scottish Enterprise and Stephanie Andrew and Scott McKnockiter from HIE.


What do they say?

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