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Firms benefit from project

Twenty startups join Unlocking Ambition Challenge

Celia Hodson of Hey Girls, with Scottish Enterprise chairman Bob Keiller, was a winner of the Virgin StartUp competition (pic: Terry Murden)


Twenty of Scotland’s promising startup businesses have been named as the first to benefit from the government’s Unlocking Ambition Challenge.

The initiative aims to find the next Brewdog or SkyScanner and is backed by a £4 million fund created by the Scottish Government.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the successful applicants while visiting Cumnock during a travelling cabinet to East Ayrshire. The group will receive support from Scottish Enterprise, a mentoring programme from Entrepreneurial Scotland, access to the GlobalScot network and assistance from the Scottish Investment Bank.

The challenge will link established and accomplished business people with the candidates, who have demonstrated their ideas can be successful, inclusive, create jobs and benefit society. This core will see Unlocking Ambition entrepreneurs supported to grow businesses that have a social conscience, through products, services or an inclusive recruitment commitment that can have a positive impact on the lives of its workers.

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “Entrepreneurship can be contagious, and I believe this handpicked group of ambitious entrepreneurs has the potential to positively change lives with their innovative products and services. 

The businesses which will benefit from Unlocking Ambition support include game-changing innovations for football goalkeepers, pre-biotic drinks and friendly sanitary products.

The participants:

  • Alan Mahon – Brewgooder (Edinburgh)
  • Calum Haggerty – Coco Chocolatier (Edinburgh)
  • Celia Hodson – Hey Girls (Edinburgh)
  • Deborah Wake – MyWay Digital Health (Dundee)
  • Douglas Martin – MiAlgae (Edinburgh)
  • Hannah Fisher – The Start-Up Drinks Lab (Glasgow)
  • Iain Findlay – Aurora Sustainability Ltd (Moray)
  • Ian Arbuckle – Linian Supply Co Ltd (Glasgow)
  • Jo Halliday – Talking Medicines Limited (Glasgow)
  • Joan Johnson – Bespoke Fabrics (Elgin)
  • John Robertson – Drinkly (Edinburgh)
  • Kenny Arthur – Kaliaaer Ltd (Strathaven)
  • Lisa Thomson – Purpose HR (Edinburgh)
  • Loral Quinn – Sustainably (Edinburgh)
  • Paul Blackler – Drink Baotic (Glasgow)
  • Scott Dickson – Phox Water (Glasgow)
  • Scott Simpson – IndiNature (Edinburgh)
  • Scott Weir – Pillow (Kilmarnock)
  • Stephanie Terreni Brown – Clean Water Wave (Edinburgh)
  • Steve Regis – ARX Maritime (Edinburgh)

The challenge comprises two parts, a mainstream programme for 20 established entrepreneurs who are ready to scale their businesses led by Scottish Enterprise, and an academic programme for 20 early-stage entrepreneurs led by The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

The Royal Society of Edinburgh will announce the successful recipients of their group at the end of the month during an event in Edinburgh.

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