Major new crowdfunding appeal sees Scotland lead the way as a trailblazer for entrepreneurialism

Left to Right: Lord Willie Haughey and Sean McGrath

A MAJOR new crowdfunding initiative has been launched by the Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation with the aim of identifying the country’s untapped talent and creating a trailblazing new generation of Scottish business leaders.  

Hundreds of undergraduate students are set to benefit from #FundTheFuture, a crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise £75,000 to support the growth of Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation’s upcoming 2023 Saltire Scholar Internship Programme. 

This is an ambitious worldwide internship initiative that matches high-potential undergraduate students with host companies across the globe for summer internships, unlocking their potential and creating inspirational, transformational leaders. 

With more than 20 years’ experience of helping talented young people to think, act and lead entrepreneurially and trailblaze within the country’s business community, CEO Sean McGrath believes Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation’s new initiative has the potential to markedly boost the future Scottish economy.  

“Entrepreneurial people create the jobs, generate the wealth to reinvest and breathe life into the solutions we need,” he says. 

“The Fund the Future campaign is crucial in laying the foundations for future generations to access opportunities that will support their journey to become the style of leader that Scotland needs to thrive, now and in the future.” 

The Saltire Scholar Internship Programme helps students to grow their confidence and ambition, putting them on a pathway to leadership. It equips them with the skills, mindset, and inspiration to create the maximum positive impact for themselves, businesses and the Scottish economy.

The new crowdfunding initiative was launched to ensure the Saltire Scholar Internship Programme can offer as many opportunities as possible to young people, amidst economic challenges, rising rent prices and implications of Covid-19 which have impacted the programme in the last year.

To enable the prestigious internship programme, Entrepreneurial Scotland works with every university in Scotland and matches high-potential students with leading organisations across the world to offer summer internships. The programme is designed to build the leadership and entrepreneurial qualities needed to help position Scotland as one of the best countries in the world to start and grow a business, a core pillar in the Scottish Government’s recently published National Strategy for Economic Transformation.  

Mark Logan, former chief operating officer of Skyscanner and now chief entrepreneur for the Scottish Government, said: “Entrepreneurial Scotland’s programme is highly effective in nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit of our students, and in developing their expertise. It is extremely important for our future economy that we educate more of our undergraduate students in entrepreneurial thinking, and that we normalise entrepreneurialism as a career choice. I believe this programme is vital to that cause.”  

The internship programme has only been operating at scale for the last six years or so. However, McGrath believes that with the £75,000 investment through the crowdfund, hundreds of more students will be able to access the opportunity for years to come, using the experience to lead and grow their own businesses, like hundreds of other candidates who have gone through the programme.  

The campaign has won the backing of one of Scotland’s most high-profile entrepreneurs, Lord Willie Haughey OBE.  

Lord Haughey, chair of City Facilities Management Holdings, said: “Investing in young people is key to revitalising the economy and our society. Internship programmes like the one delivered by Entrepreneurial Scotland give young people the mindset and practical experience to go on to lead or create new businesses, which is vital for growth in Scotland. I applaud this effort to raise money which will go towards nurturing the next generation of leaders in Scotland.” 

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