The Mentor Hour

The new flagship programme from Entrepreneurial Scotland

Launched in May, with resounding success, the programme is designed to further support those individuals who are undertaking entrepreneurial development programmes with Entrepreneurial Scotland and each month they have the opportunity to connect with a senior business leader to explore their issues, opportunities or challenges.


Lisa Ferguson, Programme Manager said: “Entrepreneurial Scotland are very fortunate to have access to a network of amazing talent both in Scotland and internationally and the programme harnesses that talent in a way that can really make a difference to an individual at a pivotal point in their decision making. The leaders that make up our Mentoring panel have been there and done it, and advise through their own experiences and knowledge. In most instances, money can’t buy you access to these individuals so it is a very unique opportunity.

Mark Bamforth, CEO of ArrantaBio, a serial biotech entrepreneur, exec chair and board advisor was one such Mentor. Mark said: “I am pleased to support the mentoring initiative at ES because I have personally benefited in my career development from working with a mentor. I wanted to offer this support to others to hear about there challenges and opportunities and to offer my perspective and support for their personal growth. This is an excellent opportunity to network and contribute to the success of others in their professional development and I highly recommend it to future mentors and mentees!”

Chris West, CEO of Optimus Aberdeen, was mentored by Mark as part of the programme. Chris said: “I think after the 16 months that we’ve all had there are many of us who’s circle of advisors has shrunken down to only the closest family, friends and colleagues (on zoom!) leading to some fairly myopic and biased advice. Being paired up with someone who has no ties to you or your business in a completely safe setting makes you fine-tune your problem to a point; we got to the nub of my query within about 15 minutes and it certainly wasn’t the direction I was pointed in at all!

Our Mentoring sessions for June are already underway and we have another exceptional line up of Mentors offering out their support:

Meet our June Mentoring Panel

Ross Hunter

Ross Hunter

Founder, CopyLab

Ross has built Copylab to be a global copywriting agency serving the financial services market in 8 countries with more than 100 people.

Having founded a company and led the team through its evolution, Ross has first-hand experience of the growing pains every business owner faces. And he’s keen to share that with the next generation of Scotland’s entrepreneurial community.

If you’re struggling with: building a team, leading better, managing resources, exploiting opportunities, delegating, growing a service business, exporting, creating a strategy, goal setting, bootstrapping, outsourcing, client service, or effective sales and marketing, then you can benefit from Ross’s experience.

Ross is an ideator, a creative thinker who brings solutions to your problems and a positive energy to your challenges.

Mark Simmers

Mark Simmers

Chief Executive, Celtic Renewables

Mark Simmers Bio - Chief Executive Officer, Celtic Renewables

Mark is an entrepreneurial leader and commercialisation specialist with almost 30 years of international experience in sales, marketing and business development.

Mark graduated from Bristol University in Economics and Accounting and started out his career with the IMG in London commercialising and managing global professional golf events.

In 2011 Mark graduated from the highly prestigious Saltire Foundation Global Entrepreneurial Fellowship Programme, which included a fast-track MBA programme at Babson College, Boston, USA. Mark helped to co-found Celtic Renewables in late 2011, and has been the company’s CEO since its inception leading the growth of the company and securing over £30m of investment finance to fund that growth and the construction of the company’s first bio-refinery.

Mark has won numerous investment pitching and business presentation awards on behalf of Celtic Renewables, and has built a strong and dynamic team.

Tom McCallum

Tom McCallum

Professional Sounding Board

A "recovering Chartered Accountant", my experience is Global, having worked in 38 countries. During the first two decades of my career, I was involved "hands-on" in buying, building, restructuring and selling 29 companies, as small as $100K and others as large as and beyond $100 million.

For over a decade now, though, I have committed to and focussed on coaching and supporting leaders. This combination means I bring my global experience of finance and business allied to the listening and understanding of a coach, hence the term Sounding Board.

Jude Thorpe

Jude Thorpe

Founding Director, TMM Recruitment

Jude Thorpe is a founding director of TMM Recruitment. She has over 20 years of business experience at a strategic level. She is an experienced mentor and has completed her Executive Career Coaching qualification.

She is an experienced chair and facilitator and has been a member of several boards, including the Chamber of Commerce, Cornerstone, Developing the Young Workforce North East Scotland, and an ambassador for the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust, Entrepreneurial Scotland and The Sandpiper Trust.

Originally from North Yorkshire (and very proud to be too), she went to University in Edinburgh and has completed several leadership programmes, including most recently a Saltire Leaders Executive Programme at Babson College, Boston.

Colette Grant

Colette Grant

Transformational Coach

Colette Grant founded her coaching and mentoring business, ‘Optimise Your Potential’, after exiting her eponymous enterprise, Grant Property, after 25 years.

She is a certified Transformational Coach and Mentor, focusing on mind-set and creativity to grow her clients’ businesses and careers.

Colette, an advocate of lifelong learning, now mentors trailblazers and innovators across the world, promoting authenticity in leadership.
Matt Little

Matt Little

CEO, Blue Ocean Insight

Matt Little is an experienced founding team member who has been through 4 exits (including co-leading 2 and technical lead for a third) and he now helps companies to scale faster and better.

In the past 20 years, Matt has led product and technology divisions and teams in start-ups, scale-ups and global multi-nationals.

Matt’s company, Blue Ocean Insight Ltd, uses his team’s experience to help companies scale efficiently and innovate faster whilst understanding their product, team and technology risks.

Blue Ocean Insight advises boards, founders and investors on technical and R&D matters and he performs technical due diligence (DD) on behalf of investors and management teams.

Matt is also an active investor in early-stage tech companies, especially those who are focussed on SaaS (either B2B or B2C)

Joe Trodden

Joe Trodden

CEO, Joe Trodden

Joseph has been in the entrepreneurial leadership space for the last seven years, working with over 300 entrepreneurs at every stage of business during his time at Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free accelerator. Leaving there to set up his own specialist consultancy, he focuses on leaders who are in a growth phase of their business, helping them to develop their personal mindset and their strategic approach.

In addition to this, he also works to help them prepare the business for first\second round investment raises, operational planning and resourcing, and working with the core team to create cultural shifts. Ultimately his role is about helping entrepreneurs to get clarity on where they want to go next, how they’re going to do it and who they want to become as a leader.

Evelyn McDonald

Evelyn McDonald

CEO Scottish Edge

Evelyn McDonald is the CEO of Scottish EDGE, a competition awarding grants and loans to early stage businesses with high growth potential . Previously run by Scottish Enterprise for four rounds, Evelyn oversaw the spin out of the competition in Autumn 2014 to the private sector led Scottish EDGE C.I.C. The introduction of lending to the winners in Round 5 created a revolving loan fund to support future applicants and Scottish EDGE has now invested over £16 million in 421 businesses. In addition, the small team of six have introduced mentoring, alumni events, training and a business support package to winners as well as the innovative EDGE Pledge.

Prior to joining Scottish EDGE in November 2014, Evelyn had a long career at the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, and latterly the Prince’s Trust. In 2002, she helped set up and run a successful growth fund which assisted over 300 Trust-supported businesses providing access to loans of up to £25k and follow-on support. Evelyn is also a board member at the Scottish Design Exchange and an assessor of the Small Business Charter Award.


If you are a senior business leader and would like to extend your knowledge and experience to our community through mentoring support, please contact Lisa Ferguson –

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