Making Scotland the most entrepreneurial nation in the world.

A woman highlighting some documents

  • Expanding the ‘Can Do’ approach
  • The £4m Unlocking Ambition Challenge is backing 40 high potential entrepreneurs to grow their business

Scotland ‘Can Do’

Scotland ‘Can Do’ seeks to make Scotland a world leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation. We have worked closely with Entrepreneurial Scotland and other partners in the public and private sectors to develop the ‘Can Do’ approach to entrepreneurship and the ‘Can Do’ brand.

This approach – along with the combined efforts of the entrepreneurial community – has seen Scotland’s support ecosystem ranked as the 5th most effective globally, up from 13th in 2013, and a doubling of the proportion of Scots actively trying to start a business. We will build on this positive momentum by asking the enterprise agencies to expand, enhance and support the Can Do approach still further and broadening our collective efforts to address the needs of women in enterprise and the Creative sector.

Unlocking Ambition Challenge

Through the Unlocking Ambition Challenge we will provide up to 40 budding entrepreneurs each year with the best possible advice and support, including tailored training; mentoring from successful business leaders, and access to professional, financial and entrepreneurial networks to help them grow their business.

This builds on the success of programs such as Converge Challenge and Scottish EDGE. Over the last six years, Converge Challenge, Scotland’s company creation programme for staff, students and recent graduates of Scottish Universities and Research Institutes has created more than 120 companies that have collectively secured £79 million in funding and have an 88% survival rate after three years. Meanwhile, the Scottish EDGE competition which identifies and supports entrepreneurs and start-ups has supported over 300 businesses to create over 1,300 new jobs.

Women in Enterprise

Our shared Women in Enterprise Action Framework seeks to realise untapped economic potential by tackling the gender gap across start-ups and growth companies. We are backing this up with support of £400k in 2018/19 for initiatives such as Investing Women, the Business Women Scotland’s Live Events programme, the Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors Programme and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce ‘Future Female Business Leaders’ programme.

Investing in talent

While it’s critical to broaden the pool of talent starting and growing new businesses, we need to ensure that we continue to invest in those businesses that have the potential for rapid growth - investing in people, funds and expertise where it can make the most difference. New data capability will enable the enterprise agencies to act on better intelligence to help drive business investment and growth.

Key resources:

Scottish Enterprise

Scotland Can Do

Scottish EDGE

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Scottish Framework and Action Plan for Women in Enterprise


Women’s Enterprise Scotland: Scottish Framework and Action Plan for Women’s Enterprise

Investing Women

Business Women Scotland

Women’s Enterprise Scotland: Ambassadors

Scottish Chambers of Commerce: Women’s Business Mentoring