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The Next Twenty Years And Beyond - A Vision For Entrepreneurial Scotland

Entrepreneurs are the greatest catalysts for change in any society. The Entrepreneurial Exchange and its members have led the way in creating a more entrepreneurial Scotland for over twenty years. During this time we have continued to evolve and develop as an organisation to help create an environment where all entrepreneurs can thrive.

Our board believes now is the time for The Exchange to show clear leadership within Scotland. We believe that there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in Scotland but with so many organisations working in an ever more complex ecosystem we believe that the true leaders in the field must find more effective ways of working together. It is with this in mind that today I am delighted to announce our proposal that The Entrepreneurial Exchange and The Saltire Foundation should come together as founding partners to create Entrepreneurial Scotland - The National Academy for Entrepreneurship.

Over the years we have adapted and evolved to be the leading organisation supporting entrepreneurs, both established and aspiring, most notably under Tom Hunter's chairmanship when we moved from being an organisation that supported entrepreneurship generally to one which was determined to take the lead role in Scotland. Since that time our vision - "The Entrepreneurial Exchange will lead the drive to make Scotland a more entrepreneurial and confident society for the benefit of all" - has been our guiding mantra.

More recently we mapped out the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Scotland for the first time. This not only demonstrated the complexity of the entrepreneurial landscape but also highlighted several organisations which were natural partners for The Exchange and with whom we have developed very effective relationships. We have been able to ensure that the pathway of an enterprising young person in Scotland is clear - from school to college or university to starting and growing their own business. You will have seen from our regular ecosystem updates just how effective this has been and something that government at all levels has been keen to engage with. But we need to do more.

In working with The Saltire Foundation to create Entrepreneurial Scotland we are building on the success and reputation of both organisations to create something truly significant for Scotland - an organisation with a higher purpose for Scotland's entrepreneurial leaders of today and tomorrow who have the ambition to create the jobs and wealth that will drive economic growth.

We are still working through much of the detail but from your perspective as an Exchange member you will still have all of the current benefits of membership - access to the regular programme of events, opportunities to connect with fellow members and general signposting from the team - but as part of Entrepreneurial Scotland you will now have the opportunity to:

• Gain access to a pipeline of talent with an entrepreneurial and global mind-set to grow your business - either full time or on a project basis

• Access local and global connections - raising finance, accessing markets, building teams, establishing partnerships

and in the fullness of time to:

• Develop your own personal capacity to grow a substantial global business through bespoke education programs delivered by world renowned faculty in Scotland, US and Asia

• Opt into specialist streams focused on specific markets and challenges eg scaling a technology business

This is a very significant development for not just The Exchange and The Saltire Foundation but for every entrepreneur and business builder in Scotland and gives us an exciting platform on which to build on twenty years of success. The Exchange has achieved extraordinary things already. We pioneered the celebration of entrepreneurship in Scotland with the launch of our Annual Dinner and Awards in 1995; we championed the importance of role models with the creation of the Hall of Fame, we published our seminal book "Entrepreneurial Scotland" and we have established The Exchange at the heart of Scotland's entrepreneurial ecosystem, engaged with government at all levels. We now have the opportunity to move up a gear and do something even more extraordinary.

Your board believes that this development is absolutely the right thing for The Exchange and we are all excited at the prospect. There is still much to do to deliver Entrepreneurial Scotland and we recognise that you will have many questions. To provide more detail and to answer these questions we will be holding "town hall meetings" in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow during the week of 2nd of June and you will be receiving invitations to these events shortly. Additionally we will also provide more information as it becomes available via email and the website to allow as many questions to be answered and ideas to be considered as we move along this path to Entrepreneurial Scotland.

In practical terms we will be creating a new organisation called Entrepreneurial Scotland of which all Exchange members will be automatically invited to become the founding Fellows. A more detailed Q&A memo as well as details of how this will happen and the timelines involved will be published soon. Suffice it to say that your current membership will automatically transfer over.

I could not be more excited to make this announcement today and I am delighted to welcome Sandy Kennedy of the Saltire Foundation as the Chief Executive designate of Entrepreneurial Scotland. I am also humbled to say that I will become Chairman designate of Entrepreneurial Scotland. In these roles both Sandy and I appreciate the responsibility we have to create an effective organisation that builds on the excellence of both founding partners to deliver for all our Fellows.

The one element of mixed emotion at this exciting time is that I am also announcing the forthcoming retirement of our Chief Executive, John Anderson, from his Entrepreneurial Exchange role. As many of you will know John has had a long association with the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde and has been invited to take on a very significant role there. Fortunately for all of us he will be continuing his active involvement in developing Scotland's entrepreneurial ecosystem in this capacity. John has been working closely with Sandy to get us to this point and I am delighted to announce that he will be part of Entrepreneurial Scotland from the get go - not just as a founding Fellow but acting as a strategic adviser to the board and also as the Chairman of our awards programme which will continue the immense work of celebration that John has been instrumental in since The Exchange started. I know you will all join me in congratulating John upon his elevation to the academic elite but more importantly in thanking him for the unique role he has played in developing The Entrepreneurial Exchange and also in creating Entrepreneurial Scotland.

This is a hugely exciting time for all of us and I look forward to sharing more with you over the next few weeks as we make Entrepreneurial Scotland a reality.

All the best.


Chris van der Kuyl

23 May 2014



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