RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship

Funding area: Commercialisation Support

20 of Scotland’s most talented entrepreneurs eager to start up their business in Scotland form the inaugural RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship.

The employers of tomorrow, innovating for the future and complete the 40 entrepreneurs participating in Unlocking Ambition. A £4m challenge fund created by the Scottish Government as part of the Programme for Government ‘A Nation with Ambition’, as announced by Scotland’s First Minister. For the full list and media release click here.

Find out more and watch this short video…

Benefits include:
• Total grant funding of up to £900,000
• Up to £45,000 grant per Fellow – £25,000-£50,000* Maintenance Grant
• Up to £20,000 Business Support Fund
• Total of over £150,000 comprehensive and cutting-edge training programme personally tailored to develop business skills
• Visiting status within an agreed University or Research Institute
• Membership to Entrepreneurial Scotland
• A dedicated mentor for each Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellow
• Access to professional, financial and entrepreneurial networks.

The RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship Programme presents the ideal start-up changing opportunity by supporting promising ideas with the necessary skill sets to build them into successful companies.

Please meet the 20 new RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellows – one minute video introductions:

*pending VISA situation

Fund deadline passed

This fund is currently closed for applications.

Rachael BewsALICAS: Ali’s Coats and Shoes Ltd. Hosted by CREATE, UHI. ALICAS is a survivor-led social venture that gifts bespoke clothing parcels to women who have fled abusive relationships;

Roy BitrusRAB-Microfludics. Hosted by the University of Aberdeen/OGTC. 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 CampbellUnlocking Potential. Hosted by Edinburgh Innovations Ltd,  University of Edinburgh. A cloud-based Impact Evaluation and Management tool that measures social capital to demonstrate delivery against stated targets and outcomes;

Alan ClarkTake Your Marks. Hosted by Abertay University. An online resource for schools to improve attainment and health & well-being of students through regular in-class physical activity;

Thomas FarrugiaBeta-Bugs Ltd. Hosted by the Roslin Innovation Centre. Creating new breeds of commercially farmed insects for the alternative protein industry and bio economy;

Pooja JainCogniHealth. Hosted by Edinburgh Innovations Ltd, University of Edinburgh. 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 KangroKingdom Technologies Ltd. Hosted by the University of Glasgow. An autonomous gardening robot that can mow the lawn, remove weeds and collect leaves from your garden;

Tadas LabudisProdsight. 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 LeaperLiberEat. 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 LeiskFodilicious 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 MarturanoNubis Aviation Training Ltd. Hosted by the Open University, Scotland. Nubis Aviation Training has developed an online, continuous-support Learning Management System (LMS) aimed at aviation maintenance personnel for regulatory training;

Louise McHattieEkobriq Ltd. Hosted by Heriot-Watt University. They will supply the most advanced and cost-effective bricks the building industry has seen in a generation…using waste materials;

Ross McLeodSpecialist Safety Systems Ltd. Hosted by the University of Aberdeen/OGTC. Specialist Safety Systems is a company that’s been engineered to transform the crane & lifting industry, through intelligent work-platforms;

Cavid NadirovGETGUIDED Ltd. Hosted by Edinburgh Innovations Ltd, University of Edinburgh. 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 PaulGiraffe 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 PhinParagon Inspection. Hosted by Robert Gordon University/OGTC. An innovative inspection system to reduce hydrocarbon leaks from small bore tubing in the oil and gas industry;

Anna RenoufOrrin Equestrian. Hosted by CREATE, UHI. Pioneering new saddle produced from composite materials that offers superior fit and improvements for horse welfare;

Stephen RoeStageport. 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 YaseenSonik 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.


Meet the newly awarded 20 RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellows – one minute video introductions:

The nationalities of the talented participants leading these start-ups include Azerbaijani, British, Indian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Nigerian as well as Scottish! Aiding their development are 13 Scottish Universities and Research Institutes. There are four social enterprises included in the 20 start-ups and 30% are female.

Scotland is ambitious and committed to establishing itself as a diverse world-leading entrepreneurial nation. The 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.

Mr Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills said:

“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.”

Edward Cunningham CBE FRSE, Chairman of the RSE Enterprise Fellowship programme commented:

“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.”


This is an invitation to entrepreneurs from Scotland, UK and from right across the world to submit ideas which have the potential to be transformative.

Full Terms & Conditions apply.

Eligibility – at a glance

• Be ambitious to learn and eager to start-up and scale up your business!
• Any industry, sector or start-up idea
• 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

Must complete the application form providing your business proposal and personal entrepreneurial potential.

Answer the following entry criteria: Feasibility of the technology proposed and its potential place in the market; Market potential of the opportunity presented; Commercialisation potential of the business idea proposed; The feasibility of getting the proposed product or service to the market; Potential of the individual to become a success in business


Please refer to the FAQs,  Terms and Conditions and Application Guidelines.

If you have any questions about this Award, please contact Hannah Chater, Enterprise Officer.

Unlocking Ambition – strand two with Scottish Enterprise

There are two programmes to Unlocking Ambition: both are focused on supporting 40 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 Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship programme is for 20 talented earlier stage start-ups hosted by a number of Scottish Universities or Research Institutes led by the RSE Enterprise Fellowship and the Scottish Enterprise programme is supporting 20 established entrepreneurs to help them accelerate the growth of their business and develop their personal potential as the leader of a scalable business.

SME entrepreneurs participating in the Scottish Enterprise programme in Unlocking Ambition are:

Alan Mahon – Brewgooder (Edinburgh);
Calum Haggerty – Coco Chocolatier (Edinburgh);
Celia Hodson – Hey Girls (Edinburgh);
Deborah Wake – MyWay Digital Health (Dundee);
Douglas Martin – MiAlgae (Edinburgh);
Hannah Fisher – The Start-Up Drinks Lab (Glasgow);
Iain Findlay – Aurora Sustainability Ltd (Moray);
Ian Arbuckle – Linian Supply Co Ltd (Glasgow);
Jo Halliday – Talking Medicines Limited (Glasgow);
Joan Johnson – Bespoke Fabrics (Elgin);
John Robertson – Drinkly (Edinburgh);
Kenny Arthur – Kaliaaer Ltd (Strathaven);
Lisa Thomson – Purpose HR (Edinburgh);
Loral Quinn – Sustainably (Edinburgh);
Paul Blackler – Drink Baotic (Glasgow);
Scott Dickson – Phox Water (Glasgow);
Scott Simpson – IndiNature (Edinburgh);
Scott Weir – Pillow (Kilmarnock);
Stephanie Terreni Brown – Clean Water Wave (Edinburgh);
Steve Regis – ARX Maritime (Edinburgh).

For more on the above list visit Scottish Government.

RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship Application Preparation Workshop – video

Do you need help completing your RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship Programme application?

Would you benefit from some guidance on what to include?

Please find the slides here and visit the video section of our Facebook page to watch a recording of the workshop session and feel free to share it.

If you have any questions please please contact Hannah Chater, Enterprise Officer.

The all-important application forms, FAQs, Guidelines and T&Cs can be found here. Please do register online with the RSE if you haven’t already. It’s time to unlock your ambition!