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Unlocking Ambition Challenge 2018 Winners Announced

Dominique Adams


RSE Unlocking Ambition Challenge

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces first 20 entrepreneurs to receive support from Scotland’s CAN DO Unlocking Ambition Challenge.

The Unlocking Ambition Challenge (UAC) is a £4 million fund created by the Scottish Government, to nurture budding Scottish companies and to uncover Scotland’s next business success story. Seeking to replicate the success of Scottish companies such as Brewdog or Skyscanner the fund will support these budding companies on their journey to success.

This inaugural cohort, who were chosen for their individual capacity for business growth, quality of ideas and potential contribution to the Scottish economy will now embark on a 12-month programme to incubate their businesses. The group will receive support from Scottish Enterprise, a mentoring programme from Entrepreneurial Scotland, access to the GlobalScot network and help from the Scottish Investment Bank.

Forging Links with Established Businesses

Delivered as part of Scotland’s CAN DO programme, the UAC aims to support Scotland on its journey to becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial nation. Those businesses demonstrating the most progress will be awarded a further 12 months of support. The challenge will link established and accomplished business people with the candidates, who have demonstrated their ideas can be successful, inclusive, create jobs and benefit society.

The UAC comprises two parts, a mainstream programme for  entrepreneurs mentioned above and an academic programme for 20 early-stage entrepreneurs led by The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). The RSE will announce the successful recipients of their group at the end of the month during an event in Edinburgh.

The First 20 Entrepreneurs Participating in the Unlocking Ambition Challenge are:

  • Alan Mahon – Brewgooder (Edinburgh)
  • Calum Haggerty – Coco Chocolatier (Edinburgh)
  • Celia Hodson – Hey Girls (Edinburgh)
  • Deborah Wake – MyWay Digital Health (Dundee)
  • Douglas Martin – MiAlgae (Edinburgh)
  • Hannah Fisher – The Start-Up Drinks Lab (Glasgow)
  • Iain Findlay – Aurora Sustainability Ltd (Moray)
  • Ian Arbuckle – Linian Supply Co Ltd (Glasgow)
  • Jo Halliday – Talking Medicines Limited (Glasgow)
  • Joan Johnson – Bespoke Fabrics (Elgin)
  • John Robertson – Drinkly (Edinburgh)
  • Kenny Arthur – Kaliaaer Ltd (Strathaven)
  • Lisa Thomson – Purpose HR (Edinburgh)
  • Loral Quinn – Sustainably (Edinburgh)
  • Paul Blackler – Drink Baotic (Glasgow)
  • Scott Dickson – Phox Water (Glasgow)
  • Scott Simpson – IndiNature (Edinburgh)
  • Scott Weir – Pillow (Kilmarnock)
  • Stephanie Terreni Brown – Clean Water Wave (Edinburgh)
  • Steve Regis – ARX Maritime (Edinburgh)

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said:

“Scotland’s future as a progressive nation is built on creativity and innovation. Through the Unlocking Ambition Challenge, we will ensure these talented, enthusiastic entrepreneurs receive every support available to help them grow their businesses with the ultimate aim to benefit our communities, drive competitiveness and create jobs – this is exactly what we mean by inclusive economic growth.”

“The programme will develop the commercial strength of these companies to ensure they are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in today’s fast-paced global business environment and be part of the story that shows Scotland as a world-leading entrepreneurial country.”

“One of the Unlocking Ambition recipients, Scott Weir, CEO of Pillow, an online travel agent and property management company based in Ayrshire, met the First Minister during the travelling cabinet which marked the Year of Young People. Mr Weir told the First Minister of his commitment to the young local workforce.”

“Mr Weir’s ambition is to build an internationally recognised group of hospitality and property companies that have a positive impact on the lives of the staff they employ. I’m immensely proud to be part of the Unlocking Ambition Programme. Being selected was an amazing feeling as the impact on my business will be something money couldn’t buy.”

“But on top of this, it gives me a great sense of pride to know Scotland is at the forefront of entrepreneurialism. For a small country, we punch above our weight and always produce world-class people and ideas. The Unlocking Ambition Programme will help strengthen Scotland’s reputation through the world.”

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said:

“Entrepreneurship can be contagious, and I believe this handpicked group of ambitious entrepreneurs has the potential to positively change lives with their innovative products and services. They also have a role to inspire other businesses to succeed and help drive Scotland’s future economic prosperity.”

“The next year will no doubt be challenging for these entrepreneurs as they flex their businesses in pursuing opportunities to scale up. I’d encourage each of them to embrace their Unlocking Ambition Challenge journey, challenge themselves, try new things, make new connections and invest in their skills and experiences. I look forward to following their journeys closely and helping them unlock their full potential.”

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Dominique Adams

Marketing Content Manager, Trickle

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