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Scale Up Scotland Leadership Programme [2022]

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


scaleups and 57 leaders supported


new jobs created


raised in equity


Year on year turnover increase from Cohort 1 & 39% Year on year turnover increase from Cohort 2

Key sectors

Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Building & Construction Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Creative, digital, film, games & media Professional services Defence & security Technology & Communications Engineering / Advanced Engineering Transport & Logistics Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare

Fully endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute in 2022, Scale-up Scotland is an 18-month leadership programme offering a blend of experiential, business, and peer-to-peer learning to cohorts of ambitious Scottish entrepreneurs. Delivered by the Hunter Foundation from its new residential operating base, Blair Castle in Ayrshire, it takes entrepreneurs through the critical components and complexity of business scaleup with the aim of enabling them to achieve their potential quicker. 

Content is co-created and delivered by business practitioners and entrepreneurs; strong peer-to-peer learning is embedded throughout and underpinned by an academic rigour. Subjects covered include leadership, finance, building the right team, communications, sales and marketing, globalisation, crisis management and governance.

The programme is aimed at firms with a turnover of £1m+, existing customer traction and a clear line of sight to significant profitability and scale. Participants need to demonstrate continual development both of themselves and their organisation throughout the programme. 

To further leverage expertise from across the ecosystem three new workshops have been added to the programme – The Coaching Leader, Tackling Performance and Critical Conversations & Influencing – in partnership with School for CEOs along with a deep dive into customer insight techniques with Pivot Lab. A new component to provide guidance on accessing equity investment  is delivered through HNH Corporate Finance. Expert coverage has evolved to cover specialisms ranging from EOS to scaling IT infrastructure and scaling in international markets.

The second cohort of 19 business leaders finished the core programme in April 2022 with participants seeing a 39% year on year increase in turnover and raising £26.5m in equity. Average company turnover has grown from £1.27m to £3.72m with further growth forecast and sales growth reached 194%. The third cohort launched in October 2021. 

In partnership with the Scottish National Investment Bank, Scale Up Scotland 2.0 was launched in August to support high-growth, scaling companies with potential to achieve £100m turnover. Building on the success of the Scale-up Scotland core programme, it will provide intensive strategic and mentoring support to an initial cohort of 12 companies. In addition, quarterly retreats focus on shared challenges using a blend of peer to peer learning and access to leading entrepreneurs.      


“Since joining Scale up Scotland, ACTIPH has grown our sales by more than 260% and have been invited onto Tesco’s exclusive incubator programme and forged major partnerships the biggest of which is with Disney. The teaching and large scale thinking are the best of any programme I have been on. The cohort isvery impressive, and we are in regular contact and constantly learn from each other.”Jamie Douglas-Hamilton, Founder – Actiph Water 

We can wholeheartedly recommend the Scale Up Scotland programme as the best business growth programme we have ever participated in across 15 years in business. The growth lessons learned, for example, how to create a strong people culture, strategic 3-5 year planning and export strategy, are all now cornerstones of Safehinge Primera’s growth. In addition to this, the network of cohort members and professional advisors is second to none and we regularly benefit from this network in a fundamentally important way. Superb programme.” Philip Ross & Martin Izod, Co-founders – Safehinge Primera

Scale Up has given us access to industry experts and contacts that we could not have afforded or had access to otherwise. This has resulted in us making positive strategic changes within our business and gaining access to contract opportunities. It is also hugely beneficial to speak regularly with a group of founders and CEOs who are facing the same challenges as you on a daily basis but can offer insight and experience from different industries on how to overcome these challenges.”Jennifer Higgins, Managing Director – The Wee House Group 

Scale Up Scotland Leadership Programme [2022] website