Building an Entrepreneurial Society in Scotland

Scotland has been at the forefront of science and industry for centuries, with Scots pioneering healthcare inventions, such as the hypodermic syringe, penicillin, general anesthesia, and a long list of other innovations that have changed the healthcare industry and human health as we know them.

At Entrepreneurial Scotland, we believe that Scotland should continue this tradition into the technological age by becoming a society of entrepreneurs as well. As an organization, we not only aim to inspire Scots to develop their business ideas; Entrepreneurial Scotland also gives them the tools to turn their business dreams into realities. Together with our international network of business partners, Entrepreneurial Scotland strives to motivate and invest in entrepreneurs by helping them make profitable connections and preparing them for the ever-changing business environment of the future.

How Entrepreneurial Scotland Is Bringing Its Mission to Life

Entrepreneurial Scotland envisions a future where Scotland is the most enterprising society in the world. To raise Scotland to the pinnacle of entrepreneurship, we must go beyond inspiring our future leaders to creating a support structure that will drive them to success. Entrepreneurial Scotland is tapping into our international network of world-class business partners and organizations to create and support a community of rising entrepreneurial leaders from around the world. With our help, these ambitious, globally minded individuals will strive to reach their full potential, becoming the next generation of entrepreneurs to drive Scotland to success.

With Entrepreneurial Scotland’s global partners, we have the unmatched opportunity to tap into the best minds in science and industry, allowing us to curate advancement and education opportunities that will propel future entrepreneurial leaders toward their goals. The opportunities we create — are tailored to transform our entrepreneurs’ ambitions into successful businesses.

We started Entrepreneurial Scotland in 2014 with the goal of making Scotland the most entrepreneurship-driven society in the world. Since then, we have gotten closer to our goal by leaps and bounds, but Scotland still has a long journey before it can reach its business-minded future. Going into our next phase as an organization, we have laid out a blueprint for what Scotland’s ultimate entrepreneurial society might look like, assessing possible challenges our organization and Scotland’s business landscape might face. Many of these challenges represent opportunities for our future entrepreneurs. With these challenges and opportunities in mind, we planned out ways our members and leaders can rise above possible setbacks and turn obstacles into chances to make Scotland a global economic powerhouse.

Our strategy centers around the concept of the virtuous circle. Entrepreneurial leaders gain success through our programs and then return to support future leaders through our organization. This virtuous circle feeds our four strategic priorities: driving entrepreneurial leadership, unlocking value through our peer network, nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and scaling up our organization.

Inspiring New Businesses That Fit Our Changing World

The world is changing, and Entrepreneurial Scotland will help Scotland change with it. Each change represents many opportunities for the nascent entrepreneurs being mentored by our organization. One challenge businesses are facing right now is the current pace of technological advances. With the present technological revolution coming at a rapid pace, business people with entrepreneurial mindsets will put their flexibility and forward-thinking attitudes to work. Entrepreneurial Scotland will cultivate the kind of flexible, innovative mindset that will prepare Scotland for progress and achievement in our increasingly technological world.

Similar opportunities await in shifts in the workforce. New generations are coming to work, bringing with them more advanced technological skillsets and different expectations for their companies. Younger workers and future leaders are more comfortable with uncertainty, and Entrepreneurial Scotland plans to equip them to meet even greater challenges as the new technological era unfolds. Collaboration and connection will be the keys to economic success. Rigid institutions with leaders who command from the top are failing. That is why we will train future leaders to manage their organizations like communities. Leaders who foster collaboration between their employees and who collaborate with them will be the ones who drive innovation in Scotland. Just as Entrepreneurial Scotland is stronger because of the varied expertise and talents of our members and partners, so are the businesses of the future.

Our Saltire Scholar Intern Program Lifts Up Future Leaders

In our world-class Saltire Program, we select high-achieving individuals in the early stages of their careers and set them up with internships inside global organizations renowned for their entrepreneurship. The program matches undergraduates from Scottish Universities with companies, charities, social enterprises, and small or medium-sized businesses in countries across the world.

These internship opportunities prepare the Saltire Scholars for their final year of university study, when they undertake commercial projects in Scotland and in the international arena. With the real-world experience provided by the Saltire Program, scholars gain a global perspective while cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset. In 2019 alone, 181 scholarships were awarded, and the scholars interned with 83 organizations in 61 towns and cities across 11 countries. Saltire alumni have gone on to found companies and become leaders in major organizations around the globe.

In the healthcare space, Saltire Scholars have studied at GlaxoSmithKline, Craneware, AstraZeneca, the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, and more. At these companies, scholars shadowed major thinkers in their future career fields, observing and sometimes helping out as their mentors led their companies toward innovation and excellence.

Guided by Our Leaders and Our Members

Entrepreneurial Scotland is for the many, not just the few, and our diverse community of more than 2,000 people shows that Scotland’s business landscape is better when we work together. Our community includes numerous individuals at every part of their entrepreneurship journeys, from current program members and program alumni to board members, founding funders, donors, corporate partners, sponsors, our AsiaPac advisory board, and foundation trustees in Scotland, the United States, and Canada. Our leaders have backgrounds in commerce, venture capital, manufacturing, banking, medicine, and many other areas, allowing our organization to engage with the international entrepreneurship community on multiple levels.

Fostering Entrepreneurship Will Forge a Better Scotland for All

AEntrepreneurship is a mindset of forward-thinking collaboration and innovation. A society of entrepreneurs will be adaptable and ready for whatever the future might hold.

Our vision for Scotland is to have it become an entrepreneurial society with a purpose. An entrepreneurial Scotland invests in its communities. Investing in Scotland’s communities means creating jobs and futures full of possibilities for everyone. The more we invest in Scotland, the more pathways to entrepreneurship we can create, allowing each Scot to help shape the world into the place where they want to live.

By 2030, we envision a Scotland where new ideas and businesses thrive. By investing in ourselves and the next generations, we will pave the way to a better Scotland, a Scotland that shares its entrepreneurial spirit with the world.

Sandy Kennedy

Sandy has been a commercial and social entrepreneur, investor, and ecosystem builder since 1997. Prior to co-founding The Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation, he led a varied life including founding an online imaging startup, working for the venture capital firm 3i, turning around a 100-year-old, 3,000 employee family business, and being employee #1 of The Saltire Foundation. Sandy has a law degree from Cambridge University, an MBA from the University of Strathclyde, and has worked closely with Babson College, MA, for a decade.