Scaleup programmes

Back to programmes


Scale Up Scotland Leadership Programme

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


scaleups and 69 leaders supported


new jobs created by the three first cohorts


Year on year turnover increase


Executive team members participate in the Scale Up Scotland 2.0


female participants and 11% from ethnic backgrounds

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

Delivered by the Hunter Foundation, Scale Up Scotland targets ambitious entrepreneurs and companies with a turnover of £1m+, existing customer traction and a clear line of sight to significant profitability. Participants must demonstrate continual development both of themselves and their organisation throughout. 

This 18-month leadership programme offers a blend of experiential, business, and peer-to-peer learning to cohorts of ambitious Scottish entrepreneurs. It supports participants to fulfil their potential at pace, taking them through the critical components and complexity of business scaleup.

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

Three cohorts – a total of 50 scaleups and 57 leaders – have completed the programme, and a fourth cohort of 12 leaders of 12 scaleups are currently being supported. New content for cohort four includes an equity maturity diagnostic workshop along with workshops on operations management, sales negotiation, communications skills and risk and incident management. Participants from the first three cohorts combined have created 2,594 new jobs and generated £460.18m in revenues since the programme started. In 2022, supported scaleups raised £75.47m in equity finance and are exporting across a range of international markets with the majority trading in Europe (42%), the USA (30%), followed by Australasia (28%) and Asia (16%).

In the last 12 months, the new bespoke programme Scale Up Scotland 2.0 was launched, aimed at businesses with revenues of £10m+ and with the potential to reach £100m+. Open to all sectors, it involves a diagnostic process with CEOs and executive team members followed by a series of retreats. These involve harnessing the expertise of global leaders, peer to peer learning and collaboration. Twelve CEOs and further fifty five executive members from twelve scaleups are currently going through the programme, while recruitment is underway for a second cohort which will begin in January 2024.

This year also saw the launch of Pre-scaler, a programme designed to fill a gap in provision for businesses at an early stage of their growth journey or that need to gain more traction to qualify for other programmes. Support is delivered through a series of events running from May to October 2023 and 38 entrepreneurs are currently participating. A Founder Conference – Scaling Up Scotland – will take place in November. 

   “..After 18 months on the Scale-up Scotland Cohort 3 I can testify how the support from the Scale Up Scotland team, and the network of my fellow CEOs of some great Scottish businesses, has helped raise the game at all of our companies. In the last 18 months Trojan’s has helped raise the game at all of our companies. In the last 18 months Trojan’s workforce has grown from 16 to over 60 and I am grateful for all I’ve learnt, and the lifelong friends made as part of the programme.”
Ian McKenzie, CEO, Trojan Energy

“We went into Scale Up in 2018 as a £2m business and by the end of 2.0 will almost have 10x growth.The connections, learning and peer group has absolutely been part of this growth. I love to see success in others and feel so proud when seeing the cohorts doing well and making big moves. It can be lonely and having people that really understand where you are is powerful.   There is also something else – the healthy competition that the programme breeds – which is dynamite.”
– Laura Davidson, CEO, Tag Digital

Scale Up Scotland Leadership Programme website