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40 new entrepreneurs join Unlocking Ambition

Businesses selected for their ability to help Scotland’s economic recovery and net-zero emissions target

Forty of Scotland’s most talented, innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs are joining Scotland’s flagship entrepreneurial development programme, Unlocking Ambition.

Unlocking Ambition builds upon the successes achieved by previous participants such as Talking Medicines, Brewgooder, Hey Girls and Sustainably; and seeks to emulate the impact of Scottish companies committed to sustainable growth through investment, innovation and exporting such as Calnex - the first Scottish company to list on AIM in the last two years.

Entrepreneurs participating in Unlocking Ambition 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.

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.
Over the next six months, the group of 40 entrepreneurs participating in Unlocking Ambition will be linked 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 access to a £25,000 development grant plus business advice, mentoring and in-kind support.

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 world-class programme of support and entrepreneurial training and mentoring.

To date, entrepreneurs participating in the first Unlocking Ambition programme have cumulatively raised over £10m in business investment, created 146 new jobs and generated £3.2m in new turnover as a direct result of participation.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“These businesses have been recognised for their ability to help Scotland’s economic recovery from the pandemic, and for their potential contribution to our ambitious net-zero emissions target.

“The Scottish Government is investing an additional £1.5 million into the 2020-21 Unlocking Ambition programme to ensure these talented entrepreneurs receive all the support they need to help them grow their businesses. By developing these companies now we will ensure they are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed and showcase Scotland as a world-leading entrepreneurial country.”

Welcoming the participants, Linda Hanna, interim Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, commented: “It’s fantastic to see 40 of Scotland’s brightest entrepreneurs join the Unlocking Ambition programme. 

“These are the business leaders of the future and we want to support and inspire them to create businesses that will help Scotland’s green economic recovery, by being sustainable, socially inclusive, kind to our planet and of benefit to their communities.

“I look forward to following their progress and wish each of them the very best as they start their journey.”

Graeme Cook, Global Head of HR at Keller and a GlobalScot, was part of the Unlocking Ambition judging panel that selected the 40 entrepreneurs, said: “The energy and creativity that’s coming through once again in the second round of Unlocking Ambition applications strengthens my view that Scotland’s economic future, much like its heritage, will evolve through the brilliance and tenacity of the entrepreneurial talent that continues to emerge from the heart of our society.”

Contact Information

Notes to editors

The 40 entrepreneurs and businesses participating in Unlocking Ambition are in the attached list.

About Unlocking Ambition

The Unlocking Ambition Challenge was launched in 2018 as a £4 million fund, created by the Scottish Government and delivered by Scottish Enterprise, to support entrepreneurs chosen for their individual potential, the quality of their ideas and the contribution they can make to the Scottish economy and wider society. The Scottish Government will invest an additional £1.5m into the 2020-21 Unlocking Ambition programme.

More information and updates can be found on the website.