Growth scheme

Hunter doubles scaler intake as demand soars

Tom Hunter at Scottish Edge

Sir Tom Hunter: moving the economic dial

Scottish entrepreneur and investor Sir Tom Hunter has doubled the intake for his early stage support scheme after a surge in demand.

The Pre-Scaler programme run by The Hunter Foundation (THF) and the pitching initiative Scottish EDGE will now run two cohorts involving 40 companies.

THF will fund the pogramme that will see entrepreneurs go through a combination of an online and in-person development aimed at accelerating their ability to scale.

It will involve modules on fundraising, valuation and cost of capital, people planning, leadership, sales and marketing. Board and governance training will be delivered by established THF ScaleUp programme partners including David Sole’s School for CEOs.

Sir Tom said: “When we launched this we did wonder if a gap existed in provision in support of potentially scaling early stage businesses and we got the answer.

“Scaling businesses move the economic dial and the fact our judges deem 40 companies with that potential is incredibly positive for Scotland. Indeed those that didn’t qualify this time were either too early stage or pre-revenue, but showed real promise and we hope to welcome them back in future.  

“As a philanthropy we are happy to step in where gaps exist as we have done with our scale-up programmes.”

The programme will be hosted at THF’s headquarters at Blair Estate after applicants were screened by four judges: Chris van der Kuyl, principal of Chroma Ventures; Ana Stewart, partner at EOS Advisory; Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE, and Ewan Hunter, CEO of THF.

Ms Stewart, partner at EOS Advisory, said “The quality and depth of ideas from these businesses was very impressive and we see real potential for many of them to go to scale.

“As highlighted in my recent independent report, we must create clear pathways that connect the dots for our early stage entrepreneurs to help them navigate through their journey to growth and this pre-scaler programme does just that.

“I’m delighted to see that 35% of applications were from female-led entrepreneurial businesses with 50% qualifying for the programme.

“This underpins my own analysis that we need to provide more support and enable the ambition of those businesses in a far more proactive manner.”

Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE, added: “I was delighted to see around 50% of the applications came from Scottish EDGE winners looking to take the next step forward in their business journey.


Evelyn McDonald: lonely business

“Being an entrepreneur is often a lonely business and core to this programme will be peer-to-peer learning and support, precisely what’s often needed for businesses on a growth trajectory.”

Participating entrepreneurs can expect to commit up to 5 days in total to the programme starting in May this year and concluding in September where they will have the option to pitch to a panel of potential investors.

Among the entrepreneurs on the programme are:

Anne Widdop – The VR Hive, Arisaig in Lochaber, which delivers holistic immersive learning experiences and therapeutic resources by harnessing extended reality, gamification and AI technology.

Dr. Taner Dosluoglu – Weeteq, Glasgow, a ‘tiny’ embedded technology company providing industrial solutions.

Karen Robinson – Three Robins, Edinburgh – which makes healthy, great tasting oat milk products that children, their parents and the planet will love.

Gavin Bell – Yatter, Kinross/Edinburgh – which helps ambitious businesses scale with expertly managed PPC campaigns.

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