Thanks to a diverse range of programmes run by Young Enterprise Scotland (YES), three ambitious Scots  have ended 2020 on a high with their business dreams finally coming to fruition ...

THE Future of Education campaign has covered many topics, gathering the views of the policy makers, the politicians and the educators on what makes a difference. But what do the young people think? Their voices matter, too.
When Geoff Leask and his team from Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) start each day, their sole focus is to help steer young people towards a path that will give them a rewarding future, no matter what their background. 
Through the range of enterprise programmes delivered by YES across all Scottish regions, many young people of diverse academic ability have benefited through the inspiration of their mentors or the skills they have learned.  



AFTER years of researching, planning, and adapting, the founders of S’wheat and Bampoo, Jake Elliott-Hook and Amee Ritchie, created a revolutionary new plant-based material. 

The outcome? A completely new range of reusable products inspired by nature and its raw materials. 

It may be one of the world’s most eco-friendly bottles. No nonsense, just natural, practical and great for the planet.  

Amee said: “I was in my second year as a beauty therapy student at Edinburgh College when we had been working on the idea for an eco-friendly brand and the re-useable bottle but the issue was that we had no business knowledge or anyone to speak to about this. 

“Fortunately, I had an excellent relationship with my Learner Development Tutor at the College who was able to point me in the direction of Lisa Wardlaw from the Bridge 2 Business Programme who met with me that very day.”

The Bridge 2 Business Programme inspires connects and supports students into business across the FE College Sector and it was through Lisa that Amee had that ‘lightbulb moment’.

“Seeing Lisa’s reaction, knowing that Lisa believed in us and our potential, was the trigger for us to progress. It was not just the inspiration but the legacy of the skills development through B2B that has been crucial to our journey over the last two and a half years. 

“Having another female who believed in me at College was critical and especially at College, because I do not think enterprise is celebrated as much there as it could be. 

“It should not be down to luck to meet someone like Lisa from Young Enterprise Scotland. 

“We need more support of this type and should look at some of the support structures in universities and enable these to happen in Colleges where the students are focussed on delivery of products or services. 

“The Bridge 2 Business Programme has given us the foundations for the rollercoaster ride of being a young entrepreneur.”





Entrepreneur Isla is congratulated by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon


WHEN Isla Leslie started the Company Programme at Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney, she thought it would be great fun, but little did she know that the enterprise journey would change her life in such a significant way.

Isla explains, “I had seen the previous year students at Kirkwall Grammar participating in the programme be given a prominent place in the school. 

“I saw it as an opportunity to have some fun whilst also adding value to my CV as I was trying to secure a place at University. 

“It was only as the Programme progressed that I began to recognise the difference that it was having not just on our own development but in the way people’s perceptions of us were changing in the community.”

Isla’s journey is an amazing one. From winning the YES Final in Orkney, she and her team went on to win the Scottish Company of the Year Award and  represent Scotland in London in the UK finals. 

Isla then became the Entrepreneurial Scotland young entrepreneur of the year. 

But, when Isla looks back she says “it was the friendships that have been made and endured, the long nights in the school gluing lamps together  helped with that and recognising our success when we won the Scottish Company of the year. 

The confidence that I gained during the programme has been so helpful along the way in helping me to deal with the management of multiple tasks.”

Isla concludes, “not to be too dramatic, the Company programme was life-changing for us.”





Left, now on a Modern Apprenticeship scheme, James Boyd took part in classroom learning, practical training and work experiences at the YES  Training Centre at Rouken Glen


WHEN 15 year-old James Boyd was on the verge of being kicked out of school for persistent non-attendance at St Pauls High School in Glasgow he was at a crossroads that would determine his future life. 

Luckily an alternative route was offered by Greg Leighton, a school Employability Officer, to attend the Young Enterprise Scotland Centre at Rouken Glen and participate in the Pathways to Enterprise Programme.

“I remember being told about the opportunity at Rouken Glen. It excited me hugely as school was not for me – I dodged it most days. School was full of the wrong people for me. I was just studying music and biology” says James.

“When I started at Rouken Glen the atmosphere was infectious: the volunteers, the staff, the other businesses on site, for example the bike guy who showed interest in me. 

“When I was there – I didn’t know that I was learning. 

“I took things from it that I never knew I could.”

James is now on a Modern Apprenticeship, Social Services Children & Young People at SCQF Level 7 – some achievement for a lad whose only school qualification were NAT 4 Geography, Biology and Maths.

James concludes: “Thinking about it today, Enterprise is something I really want to do, it is one of my biggest goals in life now.  But I never knew that before being at Rouken Glen. The way to be successful can be through enterprise. 

“My dream goal for the future – my own musician business.”