Frequently added questions

WHAT IS THE UNLOCKING AMBITION 3 (UA3) PROGRAMME?

UA3 follows on from the success of (Opens in new window) UA1 and UA2. UA3 runs from September 21 – March 22 and provides wrap-around support for company founders who have the ambition and drive to create new, good and green jobs. Up to 40 entrepreneurial leaders will be selected to participate in the UA3 programme and receive business advice and support, access to apply for a UA3 development grant of around £25,000, leadership training, peer support and networking and high-profile PR opportunities.

WHAT IS THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA?

Scotland-based company leaders with the potential to turn over at least £2M-£3M+ within the next 3-5 years are eligible to apply for a place on UA3. Due diligence checks will be undertaken on all shortlisted Applicants. We have a very limited number of spaces for a co-participant to also participate where it can be demonstrated they hold significant strategic control in the business and will benefit from attending UA programme sessions. Please ensure you meet the following criteria before applying:

  • You are aligned with Scotland’s net zero ambition
  • You are the leader of an SME with your HQ operations and key jobs in Scotland
  • You already have revenue in the range of £100k+ - £1m (i.e. sales turnover, grant awards, equity or debt) demonstrating your commercial traction
  • You are on the cusp of scaling-up and expect to create new jobs over the next 6-12 months
  • You can demonstrate potential for growth to £2M-£3M+ turnover within 3-5 years
  • You have ambitions to grow your global turnover in the next 3-5 years
  • You are committed to fair work practices e.g. paying the real living wage
  • You are committed to developing your leadership skills

WHICH SECTORS / INDUSTRIES CAN APPLY?

Preference is given to companies in green industries; low carbon energy, circular economy, and digital technologies, as well as those in manufacturing and health/life sciences.

CAN I APPLY IF I ALREADY HAVE TURNOVER OR INVESTMENT OVER £1M?

Yes. We are looking for innovative entrepreneurs with scalable businesses.

DO I NEED TO BE SCOTTISH TO BE ELIGIBLE?

No. If you and your company meet the criteria above and you can demonstrate that your key operations (HQ) and jobs growth will be in Scotland, you are eligible to apply.

WHAT FUNDING IS AVAILABLE AS PART OF UA3?

The cohort will be invited to apply to the UA3 Development Grant fund which offers around £25,000 per UA company. This fund supports new projects which will unlock the scaling up of activity, e.g. new key hires, capacity-building equipment and materials, marketing new products/service, and operational expansion. The UA3 Development Grant fund is applied for whilst on the programme and is conditional on satisfactory participation. The cohort work with the SE business advice team to develop a solid case for funding. We anticipate that the full grant would be drawn down in early January 2022 and projects would run between January 2022 – June 2022.

HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED TO COMMIT TO THE LEADERSHIP LEARNING PROGRAMME?

You must be able to commit to around 2 days a month for the duration of the programme. The programme provides a structured series of executive education masterclasses, workshops, and networking events delivered online, covering a variety of leadership topics to help you scale your business. If restrictions allow, the initial launch event may be held in person in Central Scotland. Cohort members should therefore be willing and able to travel very occasionally, if required.

WHAT TOPICS ARE COVERED IN THE LEADERSHIP PROGRAMME?

Typical topics include;

  • developing and leading your senior team
  • right-first-time recruitment / talent attraction & retention
  • building a well-being culture as you scale
  • business growth, internationalising and scaling up
  • connecting with investors & successful pitching
  • entrepreneurial leadership and resilience.

Previous speakers have included leaders from; Skyscanner, Warner Bros., Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Babson College (USA) IBM, PayPal, Linked In, What 3 Words, Oomi, Hey Summit, and a host of investors, GlobalScots and experienced entrepreneurs. Many of our alumni have engaged new investors, suppliers, collaborators, and Board members from connections made during UA.

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME AS A COHORT MEMBER?

You should be prepared to be fully present during sessions as the workshops and masterclasses are an intense but rewarding learning experience. You will be open to sharing insights, ideas and challenges as well as offering support to your peers. We emphasise the importance of sharing your company news stories on social media, tagging in UA, as this builds up our Scottish business community.

CAN OTHERS FROM MY COMPANY PARTICIPATE WITH ME?

We have a very limited number of spaces to allow some co-participants to attend alongside your Lead Participant. You can nominate a senior member of your team for a place in your Application Form. Places will be provided based on capacity. The Lead Participant’s participation will be monitored for the purpose of qualifying for the UA3 Grant so please ensure that your Lead Participant is the right person.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR ASSESSING APPLICATIONS?

A panel of SE business growth advisers will assess the Applications and decide on the 50 Final Applicants. The 50 Finalists will then be invited to submit a 60-second ‘pitch’ video to make their case for a place in the cohort. The Application Forms and video pitches from all Finalists will be reviewed and scored by our panel of external Judges who will recommend up to 40 leaders for a place in UA3.

WILL I GET FEEDBACK ON MY APPLICATION?

Due to the volume of applications we receive, we are not able to provide feedback to every applicant. Only Applicants that enter the Final 50 will be provided with feedback from the Judges. Unsuccessful applicants will be informed promptly at the final stage.

WHAT CRITERIA IS USED TO ASSESS MY APPLICATION?

Successful Applicants will be selected based on; their ability to demonstrate significant growth potential, ambition to scale and export their product or service, their commitment to growing a sustainable and impactful business in Scotland, with potential to create good, green jobs that support Scotland’s transition to a net zero economy. The Judges for our 50 Finalists will also be looking for appetite for leadership learning and willingness to be challenged and stretched in your leadership capabilities.

WHAT ARE THE KEY DATES OF THE UA3 PROGRAMME?

The indicative dates for the UA3 Programme are subject to change, but anticipated to be:

  • Applications close: Noon on Monday 21 June 2021. Late applications will not be accepted.
  • 50 Finalists will be informed by 19July 2021 and have 1 week to submit a video pitch
  • Successful Finalists will be notified on the week of 16 August 2021
  • The cohort will participate in Induction sessions planned for 1& 2September 2021. Please ensure that you are available to attend sessions that week to avoid losing your offer of a place on the programme
  • The formal Programme will last to the end of March 2022

IS THERE ANY FINANCIAL COST TO ME OR MY BUSINESS TO PARTICIPATE?

Places on UA3 are fully funded by the Scottish Government. The cost of the UA3 leadership programme is considered state aid and there is therefore a de minimis impact of around £5,000 per company which you must record for any future state aid applications. The UA Development Grant is also provided under state aid for start-ups or de minimis aid depending on the age of the company. If covid restrictions allow for in-person sessions, there may be some travel costs and possibly accommodation costs (depending on your location) which must be met by cohort members themselves. However, travel is anticipated to be very minimal during UA3, likely limited to 2 – 3 days of in-person events and as much notice as possible will be provided. Any travel or accommodation booked as part of your participation in UA3 should include covid-cancellation cover for your own protection.

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