Can Do Scale comes to Scotland

MIT and Harvard experts lead Stirling programme

Bill AuletIan Ritchie IomartScottish business owners who are keen to fast-track their growth plans are being offered the first ever chance to participate in a programme being presented by two US experts in entrepreneurialism.

Scottish universities are working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Harvard Business School to bring the Can Do Scale initiative to Scotland for the first time.

There are 70 fully-funded places worth £5,000 each for the four day course, which will be held from 4 – 7 August at the Stirling Management Centre. The deadline for applications is 8 July.

The programme will be led by Bill Aulet (pictured above left) of the Martin Trust Centre for MIT Entrepreneurship and Noam Wasserman of the Harvard Business School.  Aimed at existing and future entrepreneurs, 35 places are available on each of the two strands of the programme.

Participants will learn skills to help them ‘scale-up’ their business into an innovation-driven enterprise that can create significant growth via new products or services that can be delivered quickly and efficiently.

Scottish entrepreneur and investor Ian Ritchie (pictured above right) says there is nothing to beat learning about entrepreneurship from someone who has done it before and that the summer course is a wonderful opportunity for Scottish entrepreneurs to benefit from Mr Aulet’s world-class teaching.

Mr Ritchie said: “Bill is an experienced entrepreneur who has founded several businesses himself and is a prominent member of MIT.  Although it’s rated as the number one university in the world, MIT is not an academic ivory tower, it’s very practical and it is one of the places to learn business.

“I’ve seen the people who have worked with Bill in Scotland on the Entrepreneurship Development Programme completely transform, they come back changed.”

Mr Aulet has been coming to Scotland for the past few years as part of Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s MIT Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) which has been available to all ambitious companies across Scotland.  He says that while the country is fertile ground for entrepreneurship there are opportunities for it to exploit its creativity even further.

“Scotland has yet to realise its full potential, it is very good at coming up with good ideas but often fails to commercialise them, which is why this workshop is so important,” he said.

“Original ideas are the most over-rated things and they cost money, it’s the execution that makes money.  Once you have an idea the process becomes much more important as does the team assembled to drive the execution.  This is where Noam comes in with his analytical and rigorous work on what makes a good team.”

Mr Wasserman has not been part of the Scottish entrepreneurship renaissance to date but is said to be looking forward to applying his years of practical experience of team building dynamics, captured in his book, The Founder’s Dilemmas, to Scottish companies.

Mr Aulet believes that entrepreneurship is not in the genes but a product of environment, and has aimed the course at people who are willing to be different and think creatively.

“We’re looking for people with the ‘spirit of a pirate’ and I would encourage anyone with a good idea, or a company with potential, to take advantage of this terrific opportunity.  We can make people into better entrepreneurs by giving them best practice in terms of process as well as advice on how to be part of an effective team.”

The Can Do Scale programme is jointly funded by Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.

To apply for a place, the application form is online at

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