Saltire 10th Birthday- Post 2 Collette Norval

"The Saltire Internship was definitely a pivotal moment for me in terms of joining the dots in my career. The programme has earned such a credible reputation and people are often very keen to hear about my Saltire experience."

“Since the formation of the Saltire Foundation in 2007, our Saltire programmes have been on quite a journey. We have supported over 900 individuals that have taken part in our world-class leadership programmes, many of whom have heightened their ambitions and achieved things they never thought possible. Our mission has always been to find, fuel and spark the next generation of leaders for Scotland, and looking back over 10 years of success it is clear we have some of the most talented, determined and capable leaders within our alumni. Now part of Entrepreneurial Scotland, our alumni are part of a wider network influencing economic and social change for our country. To celebrate 10 years of Saltire, we will be shining a light on 10 inspirational alumni members, over the next 10 months showcasing their fantastic journeys since taking part in our Scholar or Fellow programme”  

Sandy Kennedy, Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland


Post 2: Collette Norval, Managing Director of Social Stuff and Saltire Scholar 2012:

"I had my first real introduction to the Scottish entrepreneurial world back in 2007, when upon finishing school I was offered the chance to take part in the inaugural Hunter Leadership Programme, a one-year intensive leadership programme funded and facilitated by Sir Tom Hunter and the Hunter Foundation. I volunteered at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York, travelled to Malawi to work on a number of community projects, and gained invaluable business experience on several business and charity secondments throughout the 12 month programme.

Fast forward five years and as fate would have it, walking past a lecture hall in St Andrews University I noticed a flyer advertising the Saltire Scholar Programme. It seemed like the right opportunity at the right time for me as a languages student with ambitions of getting into the business world.

I was accepted onto the Undergraduate Programme in 2012 where I travelled to Houston for a rotational business internship at Wood Group PSN (WGPSN) which subsequently led to a graduate programme offer in Aberdeen.

As part of my graduate programme at WGPSN I was given the opportunity to undertake a one year secondment at Glencraft, a social enterprise that manufactures beds and mattresses and offers employment opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people. It was at Glencraft that I discovered a real passion for social enterprise. On returning to WGPSN I gained experience in a number of roles before being made redundant due to the oil industry downturn. I was then approached by Aberdeen based social entrepreneur and former oil executive Duncan Skinner, about an exciting new social business idea. Duncan’s ambition was to establish a business that would generate a sustainable source of charitable giving, manufacturing a product and in turn creating profit that could then be invested in good causes…

I’m now the proud Managing Director at Social Stuff, creators of SQUAD scarves; multi-functional custom-designed snoods for sports fans. All of our SQUADs are individually handmade in Aberdeen and we give 100% of profit to charity. Since launching last year we’ve secured some enviable contracts manufacturing official branded SQUADs on behalf of the Scottish Football Association, the Scottish Rugby Union as well as several Scottish Premiership Football Clubs including Aberdeen FC. We have also produced branded SQUADs for corporate companies such as BrewDog and EY as well as charities, fundraisers and individuals.

The Saltire Internship was definitely a pivotal moment for me in terms of joining the dots in my career. The programme has earned such a credible reputation and people are often very keen to hear about my Saltire experience. Having been exposed to so many inspirational entrepreneurs, networks and successful corporate and social organisations so far in my career gives me a great sense of pride in Scotland. As a nation we punch well above our weight in business terms and the passion that we have for engaging and encouraging future generations is something to be admired.

If not for my Saltire experience I would never have believed that running a successful, social start-up that I’m extremely passionate about aged just 27 would have been possible – but it’s now become a reality and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us."