About Unlocking Ambition

The prestigious Unlocking Ambition (UA) Challenge is Scotland’s flagship entrepreneurial development programme, initiated by the First Minister for Scotland and delivered by Scottish Enterprise. UA supports highly ambitious entrepreneurs from across Scotland, chosen for their individual potential, the quality of their ideas and the contribution they can make to the environment, the economy and wider society.

The programme supports founders from start-ups as well as established high growth potential businesses and focused on finding and supporting entrepreneurial talent that can make a transformational contribution to Scotland’s commitment to Net Zero.

We select and work intensively with ambitious, learning leaders who are determined to make a difference. The cohort work through our programme modules: Purpose; Leadership; Funding; International; Innovation; and Resilience. It includes an accredited module with Babson College in the USA – the global leader in entrepreneurial executive education - and masterclass sessions led by a range of GlobalScots including venture capitalist Eric McAfee and Graeme Cook from Keller Group, as well as senior leaders from world-class companies such as; Apple, LinkedIn, Netflix, Survey Monkey and and Facebook.

Now in its third round, Unlocking Ambition recently welcomed a further 38 entrepreneurs into the UA community which now totals over 100 founders, all committed to scaling impactful Scottish-based companies.

Since its launch in 2018, the Unlocking Ambition programme has:

  • Invested over £5.6M into growing, Scottish companies
  • Built a growing community of over 100 founders from 79 companies across Scotland
  • Supported a further £36M of new investment into the cohort companies
  • Enabled over £7.4m in total revenue growth, including £3.9m in international turnover
  • Directly supported the creation of 150 brand new, sustainable jobs
  • Invested into 35 young people in higher or further education by giving them the opportunity through ‘Unlocking Young Ambition’ to experience life in a start-up company
  • Invested into 8 Saltire Scholars through ‘Unlocking International Ambition’ to undertake international market research projects for UA companies

In addition, participating companies over the next three years are projected to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions by 7,468 tonnes, equivalent to the annual electricity used by almost 1,400 homes.

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