Sir Tom Hunter begins his search for Scotland's next big thing

A business scale-up initiative backed by Sir Tom Hunter’s foundation is on the hunt for the nation’s next Skyscanner or FanDuel.

Ambitious entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses are being invited to apply for Scale Up Scotland a programme founded by The Hunter Foundation and Entrepreneurial Scotland.

Free to successful applicants, the programme is recruiting its third cohort, having supported 36 businesses to date.

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The 18-month scheme supports businesses with the “potential and desire” to grow sales beyond £20 million to £30m. In the last year, total revenue for businesses in the second cohort grew by more than 100 per cent while job creation was up 80 per cent, despite the twin headwinds of Covid and Brexit.

Sir Tom Hunter, founder of The Hunter Foundation: 'The need for scale-ups as we emerge from this crisis has never been greater'

Sir Tom said: “The need for scale-ups as we emerge from this crisis has never been greater; start-ups are great but scale-ups are where the real economic growth will come from for Scotland.

“It is vital that businesses across Scotland which have ambition to grow are given the opportunity and support to scale. And to scale effectively.

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“Designed to deliver high, dynamic growth, Scale Up Scotland was created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Through sharing experience, access and networks, the programme supports business leaders to build world-class scalable businesses in 18 months.”

He added: “We’ve seen remarkable results from businesses who have gone through the Scale Up Scotland programme to date and look forward to watching the next cohort drive their business forward and achieve their growth aspirations.”

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Scale Up Scotland will support up to 20 businesses during the latest programme. Costs are funded by The Hunter Foundation and Scottish Enterprise, however participants are required to meet their own travel and accommodation expenses.

The formal delivery of the programme takes place on Thursdays and Fridays with an approximate eight-week gap between each event. Those taking part will learn from domestic and international business leaders.

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Grant Fraser, chief executive at Digitonic, who attended the first Scale Up Scotland programme, said: “I knew instantly that this initiative could significantly help accelerate growth within my company by the quality of speakers and training that was planned.

“What impressed me most is the collaboration and bond that Scale Up Scotland helped to facilitate amongst the highly respected business leaders of the great companies that were involved.

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“It was fantastic to be around like-minded people that were going through the same growth pains and to work as a team to come up with solutions based on sharing experiences. The course also significantly improved my business network.

“Since joining Scale Up Scotland, Digitonic’s revenue has increased by 332 per cent, our net profit has seen double-digit increases and our headcount has more than trebled. Whilst our HQ is in Scotland, our revenue is 100 per cent international and we have ambition to extend our reach in to even more global markets.””

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He added: “This initiative has definitely encouraged me to be more ambitious, be a better leader and a more successful entrepreneur. I could not recommend it more highly to business owners looking to really scale their businesses.”

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