Entrepreneurs in Scotland could get help to grow their businesses from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Business School thanks to a new programme dubbed Scotland Can Do SCALE.
Ventures with the potential to scale up could be eligible to receive training from some of the world’s leading educators in entrepreneurship via a new online course, which could help them qualify for a special follow-on residential summer school.
The initiative is being funded and delivered in partnership by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council as part of the Government’s ‘Scotland Can Do’ remit.
The first step is to complete the free online MIT training course developed by Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Centre for MIT Entrepreneurship and visiting professor at Strathclyde University, entitled Entrepreneurship 101 – Who is Your Customer?
Aulet is also the author of the book 24 Steps to Disciplined Entrepreneurship.
According to organisers, the objective is to build a community of entrepreneurs leading scalable businesses across Scotland, with ongoing support provided to those with ambition and potential for growth.
Luke Johnston, CEO of innovative oil & gas software firm Cognitive Geology, took part in the pilot programme and has achieved great traction since August last year.
He said: “Scotland Can Do SCALE really helped me to step back and shape the future of the business, using Bill Aulet’s 24 steps as a framework.
“In recent months we have hired two new developers, two geoscientists and are currently recruiting to continue building our team. We have secured £100K in grant funding, been selected for the London Stock Exchange ELITE programme and secured a funded place at the MIT Entrepreneurial Development Program. We’re meeting with some of the world’s largest oil companies this year in Houston and experiencing tremendous growth.”
Michelle Ferguson, managing director of social enterprise St Andrew’s First Aid Training and Supplies, attended the course as part of a team, with colleague Stuart Callison, CEO of the parent charity.
She said: “The SCALE programme was all I hoped it would be and more. The training was world class and I found the cohort to be supportive and often facing the same challenges I do as we work to scale internationally. We are now much more entrepreneurial and ambitious as a team and have a more planned strategic approach to large scale growth. We are exploring new markets and will shortly be announcing some exciting news regarding a major business deal in the Far East.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This Government has always been focused on helping Scotland become a world leading innovative and entrepreneurial nation – a CAN DO place to do business and never more so than in 2016 – the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
“Scotland CAN DO Scale is here to take our nation’s entrepreneurial ambition to the next level. This programme offers businessmen and women in Scotland an world-class opportunity to refine their ideas and develop their skillsets by participating in a course designed by an international leader in entrepreneurship.”