Helping business to scale up to the next level is key for growing Scotland’s economy and creating jobs, one of the north-east’s top entrepreneurs said yesterday.
Bob Keiller, Scottish Enterprise chairman and a former chief executive of Aberdeen-based energy service company Wood, was speaking at the launch of a new scheme aimed at high-growth businesses.
Scale-Up Scotland is being delivered by leadership development organisation Entrepreneurial Scotland in partnership with philanthropic venture the Hunter Foundation and the Scottish Government-backed Scotland Can Do initiative.
The first cohorts were given a master class in business presentation skills by Mr Keiller, who is renowned for his entertaining speeches at events around Scotland and further afield, at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen.
Those eager to tap into his business acumen yesterday included Marie Clare Tully, chief executive of social enterprise Columba 1400 on Skye and James McIlroy, a final-year medical student at Aberdeen University whose company, EnteroBiotix, is working on novel treatments for superbug infections. Ms Tully said Mr Keiller was the perfect role model as the management team at Columba 1400 try to help many more young people and the key adults in their lives to discover their true potential.
“Bob has a very natural style,” she said, adding: “Being yourself is the message we tell all the young people that we help. Columba 1400 itself is experiencing a significant period of growth and we are trying to work out how we can best manage this and make it sustainable.”
Scale-Up Scotland will help the organisation – whose leadership academies have provided a turning point in the lives of more than 7,000 young people since 2000 – move onto the next level, she said.
Mr McIlroy said the 18-month, fully-funded programme was an ideal chance to become inspired by “extremely smart, motivated and successful people”.
Mr Keiller said: “We can start up lots of companies but where we will get the biggest bang for our buck is by helping new or mature businesses to grow, creating jobs, wealth and economic progress.”