Just two years down the track since its creation, Scotland’s fastest growing network for entrepreneurs has hit a major milestone. With a membership that has grown from 400 to more than 1,000 from across Scotland and around the world, Entrepreneurial Scotland (ES) is bringing together entrepreneurs at all stages of their careers from the private, public and third sectors.
The ES network is unique – providing access to entrepreneurs whether they are starting out in their careers, growing businesses or successfully leading large organisations. It connects entrepreneurial people at all stages, encourages peer level guidance and support, as well as mentoring for the next generation.
Today, the revamped network got off to a flying start with the help of one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and ES Board member, Richard Dixon of Vets Now; Leah Hutcheon of international online booking company, Appointedd; Assean Sheik, CEO of craft beer business Flavourly; and Nicole Perry, International Commercial Development Manager for Tesco Bank.
Sandy Kennedy, ES Chief Executive said: “Whether you are an Olympic athlete or an ambitious entrepreneur, you need to access the right support, coaching and development. ES is focussed on ensuring that we create the right conditions for our members to succeed.
“The new ES network means that wherever you are in your career you can access the best possible support and opportunities. Over the past two years, we have seen our membership grow to more than 1,000 and we are ambitious to reach out to even more of Scotland’s entrepreneurially-minded individuals.
“This is the logical next step, allowing us to respond to our members’ needs and to connect Scotland’s finest emerging talent with ambitious individuals who are seeking to grow their leadership skills as well as those who are already leading large organisations.
“We’ve created three membership tiers so that the right support is available at the right time. It’s an important step along the way to achieving our vision of Scotland becoming the most entrepreneurial society in the world.”
From the track-side at Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh, Richard Dixon said: “We know what it takes to start, grow or lead an organisation and the network at ES is buzzing with people who have brilliant connections, great knowledge and are willing to share what they’ve learned with the next generation.
“Being a member of ES is a badge of pride – everyone who joins brings their unique set of skills and experience and enriches the network. Just like top athletes they put in the hours of dedication it takes to get to the top. We’re here to support them and make that journey a little bit easier and to help Scotland become the most entrepreneurial society in the world.”
Leah Hutcheon of fast-growing online booking business, Appointedd, said: “It’s fantastic to have access to people that you have grown up admiring. Being part of a network where we can seek input from people who have been there and done it before is unique and my membership is one of the best investments I can make in my business. At Appointedd we have an international product and being able to connect with people who have done it before is priceless.”
Assean Sheik, CEO of gourmet food business Flavourly, said: “As someone who has benefitted from the Saltire Fellowship programme, run by ES, I can vouch for the value it offers to those embarking on an entrepreneurial journey. Staying connected with a community of like-minded people is key to our success – it helps us to constantly refine our offer and connect with people who have experience to help us and encourage us to think even bigger!”
Nicole Perry said: “Early on in your career it’s important to have role models who can help you develop the confidence to get on and pursue your dreams. It’s really exciting to be involved with those who have an established track record for success while being able to discuss your ideas with your peers – ES is brilliant at making this happen.”
The three new network tiers will include all existing members and will enable individuals at all levels to access peer learning, mentoring, advice and support throughout their careers. It is open to individuals whether they are starting a business, or are Chief Executive Officers or Managing Directors of leading and scale-up organisations.
ES today launches its new events programme with the opportunity to hear from one of Scotland’s most successful global entrepreneurial leaders, Sir Bill Gammell. The founder of Cairn Energy, he grew the company from a market capitalisation of $10 million to over $10 billion. Now a Director of Figured Ltd, he works with a small number of clients, providing strategic business advice.
Awarded a knighthood in 2006 for services to industry in Scotland, Sir Bill, who is an ex-Scotland rugby internationalist, is Chairman of the Winning Scotland Foundation and Chairman of Genius Foods Limited. A former non-executive director of sportscotland, he was also a director of Glasgow 2014 Limited and a member of the 2012 British Olympic Advisory Board.
Sandy Kennedy added: “The event with Sir Bill Gammell is just one example of the opportunities open to our members. Bill is passionate about developing people and instilling a positive winning attitude and we are looking forward to a truly inspiring event to launch our network programme.”
More information on the new ES network is available at www.entrepreneurialscotland.com including details of the Celebration Dinner on St Andrews Night in Glasgow when the entire ES network will come together for what is one of the most exciting nights in Scotland’s business calendar.