RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship

Funding area: Commercialisation Support

Information about the Scottish Government’s £4M Unlocking Ambition Challenge Fund, the RSE’s Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship and how to apply.

Backed by Scotland’s First Minister, Unlocking Ambition is a £4M challenge fund created by the Scottish Government as part of the Programme for Government ‘A Nation with Ambition‘. Unlocking Ambition aims to support highly ambitious entrepreneurs based on their individual entrepreneurial potential, the quality and innovation of their business and the contribution they can make to an inclusive, Scottish economy.

The RSE’s Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship programme will support 20 outstanding, early-stage entrepreneurs, enabling them to establish and develop 20 new, high-growth businesses based in Scotland.

Through the programme, they will receive:

  • £25,000-£50,000 maintenance grant
  • Up to £20,000 business development fund
  • Tailored, cutting-edge business training
  • A dedicated mentor
  • Hosting status at a Scottish University or Research Institute
  • Free Membership of Entrepreneurial Scotland (inc businesses mentoring)
  • Free Membership of Scotland House in London
  • Access to the GlobalScot network and the Scottish Investment Bank

Find out more about the programme.

Fund deadline passed

This fund is currently closed for applications.

Fund value

Each RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship is valued at up to £90,000 in funding and business training support.

Fund duration

The RSE's Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship will run for 12 months. During this time, RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellows will be hosted by a Scottish University or Research Institute.


We are not currently accepting applications for RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowships.

If you wish to be informed if there is another call for applications, please email Enterprise Marketing Officer, Hannah Robertson.


Successful applicants will form the inaugural 2018-19 RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship cohort, benefitting from invaluable time to focus on the business, with personalised support and the grant funding. The RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship will operate over a period of 12 months and will consist of the following elements:

  • Up to £900,000 total grant funding – £45,000 per fellow (£25,000 maintenance grant and up to £20,000 business development fund)
  • A total of over £150,000 worth of comprehensive business training to develop business skills delivered to the highest standard of international excellence by individuals who have a proven track record of commercial success
  • A cutting-edge programme tailored to fit the requirements of each, covering important topics including the financial plan, business plan, spin out/start-up process, marketing and sales, securing investment, investor pitching, building your team and scaling your business
  • Access to professional, financial and entrepreneurial networks
  • A dedicated mentor will support you throughout the programme from one or more of the stakeholder organisations
  • Visiting status within an agreed university or research institute

  • You will need to be ambitious to learn and eager to start-up and scale up your business!
  • Any industry, sector or start-up idea will be considered
  • The company need not be incorporated by the start of the programme
  • Open to companies with a turnover or investment to date of no more than £150,000
  • New or existing start-ups must be established or located in Scotland, UK.
  • You do not have to be Scottish or in Scotland – you can be anywhere in the world to apply

In just 12 months, the RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellows have accelerated their businesses and reached impressive milestones. See our impact video below or view our 2018-19 RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship case-studies for more information.