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What is START?

START is a new interdisciplinary learning programme for Scottish schools that replicates the experience of a startup incubator.

Created in collaboration with leading voices in design and entrepreneurship, START teaches teams of senior pupils how to identify and solve real-world problems, turn their ideas into early-stage business proposals, and communicate their vision to others.​ It fosters vital skills for the modern economy that will benefit young people, regardless of their future career ambitions.

Following successful in-house pilots, we are keen to open the programme, fully funded, to other partner schools during the 2024/25 school session by growing a 'faculty of mentors' from industry.

Impact Case Study

START has been created to meet the needs of young people in our rapidly changing and increasingly complex world.

The programme answers calls from many in education, government and business for more real-world learning in schools. It offers precisely the sort of interdisciplinary project advocated by the recent Review of Scottish Qualifications by Professor Louise Hayward, and fosters the skills identified as crucial to the future economy by reports from major organisations such as the OECD and the World Economic Forum. Capacities such as resilience, creativity, curiosity, analytical thinking and empathy will benefit all young people, regardless of their future aspirations, but by engaging young people in early-stage business building, START also seeks to contribute to the pipeline of skilled entrepreneurial talent within the Scottish startup ecosystem.

Pitch & Vision Evening

This year’s START programme culminated with our Pitch & Vision Evening, taking place at SWG3 on Monday 11 March 2024. Click below to watch some highlights from the evening!

After months of hard work from this year’s START cohort, the Pitch & Vision Evening saw five teams of S6 pupils deliver pitches not only to an audience of parents and business people, but to a panel of experts which included Kevin Walls, COO of Scottish EDGE, Wendy McDougall CEO of Firefish and Danny Campbell, Architect and Founder of HOKO.

Click below to read more about an unforgettable evening for our budding entrepreneurs!

Read More

The START Programme takes teams of pupils through the startup business journey, from initial ideation to investor presentation. Using the tools of design thinking, pupils learn to identify real-world problems before working to develop, prototype and refine solutions. Through engaging with external mentors and a range of teaching materials, they gain a practical understanding of the commercial considerations and personal attributes required for entrepreneurship. Ultimately, teams present an ‘investor pitch’ to a panel of judges. 

Crucially, our problem-based approach means that there is no ceiling to what students can achieve through START. It is not about learning a syllabus or passing a test, but about students gaining a problem-solving toolkit that allows them to follow their curiosity and make their startups the best they can be. In the process, pupils gain skills that will help them to achieve their future goals in education and the world of work. 

With thanks to our prize sponsors, Zappaty, an end-to-end encrypted large digital file transfer service with a mission to make file transfer and collaboration easier, faster and safer.

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