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Scots Entrepreneurs Gain £36m in Investments with ‘Unlocking Ambition’

David Paul

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Unlocking Ambition
Firms on the programme have been supported in a variety of areas of their business, including growth, funding and job creation.

Scottish Enterprise has released new details on the impact of its business growth and leadership programme, Unlocking Ambition.

The programme, launched in 2018, has so far helped 107 Scottish entrepreneurs from 79 firms to generate up to £36 million of new direct investment.

Additionally, firms have gained £7.4 million revenue growth, including £3.9 million in international turnover growth, creating almost 150 jobs across Scotland.

Over the next three years, those involved with Unlocking Ambition are projected to cumulatively reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions by up to 7,468 tonnes.

Unlocking Ambition has gained a further 38 new entrepreneurs who Scottish Enterprise said were chosen, “for their individual potential, the quality of their ideas, ability to scale and their contribution to the Scottish economy from sustainable growth through investment, innovation and exporting”.

Commenting on the news, Director of Growth Investments at Scottish Enterprise, Kerry Sharp, said: “These are fantastic achievements that demonstrate what supporting entrepreneurs through a high value, tailored programme can produce.

“Scottish Enterprise is proud of its role in helping deliver such positive results which have an impact on people and regions across Scotland. A £5.6m commitment that has so far returned £36m of direct investment to date represents incredibly great value for taxpayers’ money, even before we see the results from the latest group of entrepreneurs.

“Last week I was delighted to help welcome the new cohort to the Unlocking Ambition community when Unlocking Ambition 3 kicked off. It was great to see the diversity in the cohort – across sectors, nationalities, gender and regions of Scotland.

“I very much look forward to seeing their continued success as they grow and scale up their businesses, creating even greater opportunities for green economy growth right across the country.”

The latest group of 38 entrepreneurs chosen to join Unlocking Ambition started their programme on 1 September and represent “a diverse range of business activity,” as well as a focus on the green economy.


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A similar programme, led by Scottish Enterprise in partnership with networking group AccelerateHER, to support and grow female-led companies, was also announced last week.

Up to 63 additional female-founded companies across Scotland will benefit from AccelerateHER’s support programme of growth-focused initiatives as part of the partnership.

Additionally, Scottish Enterprise says the agreement supports its “commitment to gender equality” and adds to its existing initiatives to help “disruptive, sustainable, and inclusive, female-led businesses” in Scotland with high growth potential.

Unlocking Ambition is set to offer firms an “intensive programme” of leadership masterclasses and events over the next seven months, hoping to aid Scottish entrepreneurs to “realise their ambitions”.

The programme includes a module with Babson College USA 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 LinkedIn, Survey Monkey, Apple and Facebook.

Links will be established with investors, and firms involved will gain business advice, mentoring and support from Scottish Enterprise and partners such as FutureX Innovations and Entrepreneurial Scotland.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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