The foundation that bears Sir Tom Hunter’s name and Entrepreneurial Scotland have joined forces to deliver a new leadership programme in a bid to scale-up home-grown businesses.
The 18-month programme promises a mix of “experiential, academic and peer learning” and is aimed at “ambitious” entrepreneurs and firms with a turnover of £1.5 million-plus.
Its backers said the initiative aims to respond to a growing body of evidence that Scotland needs to increase the number of scale-up companies as a means to create more high quality jobs and drive overall economic growth.
Sir Tom, founder of The Hunter Foundation, said: “I believe we’ve cracked the start-up nut in Scotland, now the real challenge is to convert far more to scale-up businesses, something that is pivotal to our competitive advantage, jobs and economic growth.
“By the last estimate if there was 1 per cent more scale-ups in the UK this would yield 150,000 new jobs and add £225 billion to GDP by 2034 – Scotland needs to disproportionately lead in this.”
The Scale-up Scotland leadership programme will be delivered by Entrepreneurial Scotland in partnership with The Hunter Foundation and Scotland Can Do.
In addition to advice on leadership, finance, team-building, communications, crisis management and governance, there will be optional add-ons for participants to visit “some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and their businesses” in the US, China and Africa.
Sandy Kennedy, chief executive at Entrepreneurial Scotland, said: “[Our] vision is for Scotland to be the most entrepreneurial society in the world.
“The scale-up challenge is the biggest issue facing Scotland’s economy right now. Get it right and the prize is huge in terms of wealth and job creation. The Scale-up Scotland programme is an example of how we must all work together across the public, private and third sectors to seize this prize.”
Entrepreneurial Scotland has appointed Ken Whipp as programme manager to deliver the Scale-up programme, and is set to join the team in May.
Whipp – a business owner himself with experience in large corporates – has spent the last ten years working with entrepreneurs, most recently as a member of the leadership team at incubator Entrepreneurial Spark where he led the accelerator teams in Scotland and Northern Ireland.