IGS (Intelligent Growth Solutions)

IGS (Intelligent Growth Solutions) was founded in 2013, to develop revolutionary solutions in the global agritech and commercial lighting markets. An innovative business with over 50 employees, IGS makes platforms that deliver intelligent indoor climates and conditions for life, people and plants.

Working with Entrepreneurial Scotland, the team at IGS, led by David Farquhar, CEO and Donald McKenzie Head of HR; recruited nine Saltire Scholars from Entrepreneurial Scotland for a ten-week programme in 2020.



A meeting between Chair of IGS, John Watson, IGS CEO David Farquhar and Entrepreneurial Scotland CEO Sandy Kennedy, was the foundation for what would become a long-term and advantageous opportunity for IGS. After hearing about the process and benefits of taking on a Saltire Scholar Intern, IGS were keen to support the programme and benefit from some fresh thinking and entrepreneurial mindsets.

The next step for IGS was to develop a catalogue of projects, roles and tasks that required additional support.

Entrepreneurial Scotland curated a shortlist of candidates for the team at IGS, who then interviewed and selected the best candidates for the tasks and projects required.

David continues; “The process was really straightforward. We shared details of the projects we needed support with, and Entrepreneurial Scotland identified two or three candidates for each role. The management team here interviewed them and selected the best candidates for the roles.”

IGS took on nine Saltire Scholar Interns in total. Each of the interns were given a mentor from IGS and they were all integrated into their teams through three introductory mentor sessions so they became immersed in the business and the projects they would be working on.

David adds; “Not only was the process straightforward, we also were pleasantly surprised with the ease at which the interns became part of the business. I would say the quality of the interns was very good. As a result of being on the Saltire Scholar Programme, they have a managerial, entrepreneurial approach. They certainly seemed to have a broader commercial view of things. They were motivated, self-starters and were able to get on with the tasks and projects set without too much hand holding from our existing team, which was of real benefit.”

I was aware of the Saltire Scholar Programme having worked with a couple of Fellows in my previous company. They spoke highly of the programme, so when Sandy approached us, it was something I was keen to hear more about.


The rewards for IGS in taking on a group of interns from Entrepreneurial Scotland included cost and time saving, added value, and importantly allowed the business to build on new ideas and accelerate several projects.

They were also able to explore new areas and new technology that they otherwise would not have had the capacity, or ability to explore.

Long term relationships have been fostered between IGS and the interns, and a number of the Scholars continue to work with IGS today.

Not only was IGS grateful of the opportunity to progress projects and initiatives, they also saw the partnership as a chance to create opportunities for people.

Donald concludes; “What is great about the opportunity to work with Entrepreneurial Scotland in this way, is that it is genuinely mutually beneficial.

We were able to give something back by offering great roles and opportunities for talented, good people. In return, we benefited from their aptitude, connections and ideas and were able to drive projects and initiatives we may not otherwise have moved forward in the same way, if at all.”

The Saltire Scholar Programme equips interns with quite a different mindset – the interns we worked with brought a fresh pair of eyes to the projects they were tasked with. They could draw on influences and research that perhaps our existing employees do not have access to. They were able to look at challenges and problems and bring current thinking, best practice, and an academic approach to finding solutions, which proved of huge benefit to IGS.

Donald McKenzie
Head of HR at IGS

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