A SCHEME that enables Scots entrepreneurs to study at one of the world’s top-ranked business schools is to boost its intake in a bid to create a 1,000-strong pool of talent.
The Saltire Fellowship is aimed at “high-potential” individuals partway into their careers. An intensive study period at Babson College in Boston is followed by three months of international and Scotland-based placements. The deadline for applications is 15 March, while the programme also accepts candidates via employer sponsorship.
Sandy Kennedy, chief executive of the charitable Saltire Foundation, one of the organisations behind the venture, said up to 25 people were likely to be taken on for the latest programme. The 2012-13 scheme is hosting 19 young entrepreneurs, up from ten.
Kennedy sees future programmes having the capacity for as many as 30 fellows, who begin their studying in Boston each September.
There are now more than 300 Foundation alumni, through both its fellowship and scholarship initiatives, and Kennedy believes that total can more than triple over the next few years.
“Saltire alumni is where the action happens,” he said. “If you can get all that talent going into one area where they are all communicating with each other – and we push in further opportunities and networking – then you have something pretty powerful.
“We have 300-plus of these guys already and our objective is to have 1,000 of them within the next three to five years.
“There can be a tendency to focus too much on pure entrepreneurship – someone starting something from nothing or being a lone wolf. We are interested in high-growth potential. A lot of these people will go on to become part of teams.”
The fellowship programme is a partnership between the Saltire Foundation and the US-UK Fulbright Commission, which was created in 1948 by US senator William Fulbright.
Scots-born Kennedy, who was educated at Cambridge University and worked with private equity giant 3i, said changes had been made to the fellowship programme following the first two years of operation, including “intensifying” the time spent in the US.
The scheme has attracted interest from countries including New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. The Foundation’s trustees includes Gleneagles chairman Peter Lederer and technology investor Ian Ritchie.