Unlocking Ambition is a £4m challenge fund created by the Scottish Government and delivered by entrepreneurial ecosystem partners
In the first, pilot, round of the programme, 40 entrepreneurs received 12 months of support via participation in one of two programmes running concurrently; the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) worked with 20 early-stage entrepreneurs, each hosted by a Scottish University or research institute through a new Enterprise Fellowship programme, and Scottish Enterprise (SE) supported 20 established entrepreneurs to help them accelerate the growth of their business. Participants in the round included many companies which have appeared in the pages of YCF, including Talking Medicines (see investment report in this issue), MiAlgae, IndiNature, and Purpose HR in the SE cohort, and Beta-Bugs and LiberEat in the RSE contingent.
To date, entrepreneurs participating in the first Unlocking Ambition programme have cumulatively raised over £10m in investment, created 146 new jobs, and generated £3.2m in new turnover as a direct result of participation.
A new 2020-2021 programme will run for six months (October 2020-March 2021) linking 40 entrepreneurs with established and accomplished business people to learn, make connections, and explore new opportunities. Previous Unlocking Ambition contributors included senior leaders from LinkedIn, Netflix, Survey Monkey, Apple, and Facebook as well as a range of GlobalScots. Each company will receive a £25k development grant plus business advice, mentoring, and in-kind support. The business founders joining Unlocking Ambition this year have been specifically chosen for their potential to contribute to Scotland’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and Scotland’s journey towards a net zero economy.
Participants in the programme are based across Scotland and represent a broad range of business activity, such as tackling food poverty and reducing landfill, extracting chemicals from used coffee grounds for use in other industries, profitable reforestation of land, energy solutions for hard to heat properties, reusable sanitary pads and sustainable medicine delivery containers.
This year’s programme will be delivered as Scottish Enterprise’s first completely virtual accelerator, making it easier for entrepreneurs to participate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future X Innovations will work with Scottish Enterprise to deliver a programme of support and entrepreneurial training and mentoring.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh is not involved in the delivery of Unlocking Ambition 2, but remains a key CAN DO partner in the general support of entrepreneurs in Scotland; a number of the round 2 cohort are indeed RSE Enterprise Fellows.
Much as we like lists at YCF, there are too many participants to show here, but full details are given on the Unlocking Ambition website: