They are the employers of tomorrow, innovating for the future and complete the 40 entrepreneurs participating in the Unlocking Ambition Challenge as announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The start-ups range from a novel online education platform for children to support financial learning to creating new breeds of commercially farmed insects; from an innovative food business following the FODMAP diet to a cost-effective eco-brick; and from a new support learning management system for the aviation industry to a resource to aid the visualisation of venue information to improve the delivery of events. There are four social enterprises included in the 20 start-ups and 30% of these new Enterprise Fellows are female.
The appeal and interest in this fresh new programme caught the imagination of a wide range of entrepreneurs. The nationalities of the talented participants leading these start-ups include Azerbaijani, British, Indian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Nigerian as well as Scottish! And aiding the development of the 20 new RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellows are 13 of Scotland’s Scottish Universities and Research Institutes who provide visiting status to each.
Scotland is ambitious and committed to establishing itself as a diverse world-leading entrepreneurial nation. The Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship (RSE), as Scotland's National Academy encourages the advancement of learning and useful knowledge through projects and activities such as the prestigious Enterprise Fellowship programme aimed specifically at enabling the development of new, high-growth businesses based in Scotland.
To support future opportunities, The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is delighted to be working with the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in the inaugural Unlocking Ambition Challenge to support entrepreneurs who want to start and scale their businesses in Scotland.
The £4m Unlocking Ambition Challenge is delivered by key stakeholders from Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as part of the Scotland CAN DO initiative, backed by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The programme provides funding support to 40 highly ambitious entrepreneurs chosen for their individual potential, the quality of their ideas and the contribution their companies can make to the Scottish economy and wider society.
There are two programmes within the Unlocking Ambition Challenge: both are focused on supporting innovative, purpose-driven entrepreneurs.
The RSE Enterprise Fellowship Programme is for 20 earlier stage start-ups who will be hosted by a number of Scottish Universities or Research Institutes led by the RSE and the SE programme - a scaling development programme for 20 successful SMEs is led by Scottish Enterprise.
By coming together, the 40 participants will benefit from mentorship from established and successful entrepreneurs and business advisors, networking opportunities and peer-to-peer support. The 20 RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellows will benefit from a tailored business development training delivered to the highest standard of international excellence and significant business development budget enabling them to bring their propositions to market.
“Applications for Unlocking Ambition opened in March this year and only three months later, with the addition of the RSE Enterprise Fellowship entrants, this first cohort is ready to begin its journey.
“This demonstrates the appetite for growth and the innovation potential of businesses in, or wishing to locate in, Scotland. It is particularly pleasing to note this international talent that Unlocking Ambition is attracting and retaining.
“They are showing faith in our vision for the Scottish economy and we will ensure that through Scotland CAN DO our business support and the business environment is the best in the world.”
Mr Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills
“We have the potential and we have the ambition to enable innovation in Scotland’s future investment and internationalisation. The RSE will draw upon our strengths and multidisciplinary expertise to match the ambition and ingenuity of the Unlocking Ambition programme to work with our new Enterprise Fellows to develop and launch new businesses and help them become outstanding entrepreneurs.”
Edward Cunningham CBE FRSE, Chairman, The Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship Programme
The 20 entrepreneurial start-ups participating in the RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship programme and completing the Unlocking Ambition Challenge (alphabetic order) are:
- Rachael Bews – ALICAS: Ali’s Coats and Shoes Ltd. Hosted by Create Highland, the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation at Inverness College UHI. ALICAS is a survivor-led social venture that gifts bespoke clothing parcels to women who have fled abusive relationships.
- Roy Bitrus – RAB-Microfludics. Hosted by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre/University of Aberdeen. Commercialising cutting-edge microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology to deliver onsite, real-time, testing and analysis of lubricating oil for businesses with heavy machinery.
- Colin Campbell – Unlocking Potential. Hosted by the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Innovations. A cloud-based Impact Evaluation and Management tool that measures social capital to demonstrate delivery against stated targets and outcomes.
- Alan Clark – Take Your Marks. Hosted by Abertay University. An online resource for schools to improve attainment and health & wellbeing of students through regular in-class physical activity.
- Thomas Farrugia – Beta-Bugs Ltd. Hosted by the Roslin Innovation Centre. Creating new breeds of commercially farmed insects for the alternative protein industry and bio economy.
- Pooja Jain – CogniHealth. Hosted by the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Innovations. CogniHealth aims to transform the way both family and professional carers look after people with dementia (PwD) at home. Their first product, CogniCare, is a healthcare app for carers of PwD, enabling personalised dementia care.
- Joan Kangro – Kingdom. Hosted by the University of Glasgow. An autonomous gardening robot that can mow the lawn, remove weeds and collect leaves from your garden.
- Tadas Labudis – Prodsight. Hosted by the University of Glasgow. Prodsight helps companies make well-informed product decisions by extracting actionable insights about customers’ needs from support tickets.
- Barry Leaper – LiberEat. Hosted by the University of Aberdeen. The LiberEat app makes life easier for people with dietary restrictions, while also improving businesses’ sales and healthcare patient outcomes.
- Lauren Leisk – Fodilicious Ltd. Hosted by Queen Margaret University. An innovative food business providing the UK’s first freshly prepared 'free from' meal options which follow the low FODMAP diet for digestive health and wellbeing.
- Claudio Marturano – Nubis Aviation Training Ltd. Hosted by the Open University in Scotland Nubis Aviation Training has developed an online, continuous-support Learning Management System (LMS) aimed at aviation maintenance personnel for regulatory training.
- Louise McHattie – KENOTEQ Ltd. Hosted by Heriot-Watt University. Kenoteq will supply the most advanced and cost-effective bricks the building industry has seen in a generation...using waste materials.
- Ross McLeod – Specialist Safety Systems Ltd. Hosted by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre/University of Aberdeen. Specialist Safety Systems is a company that’s been engineered to transform the crane & lifting industry, through intelligent work-platforms.
- Cavid Nadirov – GETGUIDED Ltd. Hosted by the University of Edinburgh & Edinburgh Innovations. An innovative platform helping travel businesses, such as hotels, travel agencies and event organisers, find and book local, unique tours and experiences provided by verified guides & suppliers or instantly book local guides for custom tours.
- Elijah Nazarzadeh – AcuWave. Hosted by the University of Glasgow. A novel acoustic pulmonary drug-delivery technology that enables precision therapeutics for established drugs and advanced nanomedicines for gene therapy.
- Lorna Paul – Giraffe Healthcare. Hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University. A Community Interest Company providing a state-of-the-art online platform for the remote delivery of high quality, personalised healthcare programmes backed by expert advice and support.
- David Phin – Paragon Inspection. Hosted by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre/Robert Gordon University. An innovative inspection system to reduce hydrocarbon leaks from small bore tubing in the oil and gas industry.
- Anna Renouf – Orrin Equestrian. Hosted by the by Create Highland, the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation at Inverness College UHI. Pioneering new saddle produced from composite materials that offers superior fit and improvements for horse welfare.
- Stephen Roe – Stageport. Hosted by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Stageport provides unlimited access to venues, and the tools to plan and visualise events at any location.
- Usman Yaseen – Sonik Pocket. Hosted by the University of Strathclyde. Sonik Pocket is an innovative, online education and shopping platform for children that supports financial learning, in a fun, safe and secure environment.
More information on RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship Programme
- Apex House
- 99 Haymarket Terrace
- Edinburgh, EH12 5HD
Enquiries: Edinburgh Office
T: 0845 607 8787
Roslin Innovation Centre
- The University of Edinburgh
- Easter Bush Campus
- Midlothian EH25 9RG
Chief Executive Officer: John Mackenzie
T: +44 (0)131 651 9000