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Huge strides made

RSE Fellowship entrepreneurs unlock year of growth

Unlocking ambition

Reaching new heights: some of those who took part in the programme


Twenty entrepreneurs have chalked up an impressive record of deal-making and job creation after taking part in a scheme designed to encourage innovative high-growth businesses.

They benefited from a year-long programme of funding, training, mentorship and academic support from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)’s Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship (UAEF) scheme funded by the Scottish Government.

In just 12 months they have employed more than 50 people; appointed 37 board members; secured more than 2,700 customers, contracts and users; negotiated 16 investment deals; and won 19 award nominations. 

They have also realised important business milestones, including spin-out company formation, market research to inform product development, establishment of scalable business models, development of prototypes to viable product launch, and identification of commercial markets. 

Selected in June 2018 after a competitive process, the UA Enterprise Fellows received a £25,000-50,000 maintenance grant plus £20,000 to work full-time on developing and scaling their business idea and to literally unlock their ambition.  They had visiting status at a Scottish university or research institute, tailored business training, and a dedicated mentor from the world of business. 

The budding companies include an insect breeding company creating high performance genetics for the insects-as-feed industry; a social enterprise that gifts bespoke clothing parcels to women in clothing crisis; and a company that has created a digital companion to support carers of people living with dementia.

Dame Anne Glover RSE

Dame Anne Glover: ‘huge strides forward’ (pic: Terry Murden) 


Professor Dame Anne Glover, RSE president said: “Scotland has a global reputation for innovation, and we need to maintain that entrepreneurial spirit. It’s vital that we have a sustainable approach to supporting start-ups that create high quality jobs, boost the Scottish economy and change lives through new ideas. 

“These companies are the employers of tomorrow, innovating for the future, and we have helped them to take huge strides forward in their growth journey towards being Scotland’s business success stories.”

One of the participants, Thomas Farrugia, founder and director at Beta Bugs, said: “None of our achievements or plans we now have would have been possible without the support provided by this Fellowship.  It has truly been game-changing.

“The training and mentoring has challenged and changed my mindset, whilst teaching me about the realities of business.  It has opened doors to Scotland’s animal bioscience, agritech and aquaculture sectors, creating crucial opportunities for growth, and has provided the funds to build the business and ready it for the next phase of development.”

The RSE Enterprise Fellowship is part of the Unlocking Ambition Challenge, announced by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in November 2017.

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