About Acorn Enterprise

Acorn Enterprise

Acorn Enterprise is an organisation dedicated to growing Scotland's start-up business culture. We are more than a Business Accelerator: we run 20 week Business Accelerator Programmes, Acorn Business Bootcamps and Entrepreneurial Events.

Our Mission: to help 501 new businesses start up and thrive in the next 3 years through our 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme.

We accelerate new businesses in Further and Higher education and we also work with business owners who are not in academia. By bringing together these two unique groups, we facilitate an exciting cross-fertilisation of businesses, ideas and connections.

Applications for our 6th 20 week Business Accelerator Programme are now open and you can apply here now!

And if you have any questions, please get in touch with us here.

AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THERE IS NO FEAR OF FAILURE

Acorn Enterprise is run by business owners, for business owners. We provide an environment where there is no fear of failure, allowing like-minded people to test out and grow their businesses together.

Ultimately, we exist to break down the barriers that prevent or limit people from launching a new business by giving those we work with: confidence, business skills, vital connections and clarity of where they want to be.

OUR FOCUS IS ON BUILDINGS SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES

Whilst there has never been a better time to launch a new business in Scotland, we feel there is a gap in the support for business owners in more rural locations, like the East Coast. Our structured, intensive and holistic 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme and entrepreneurial events (Acorn Business Bootcamps and Acorn Talks Business) tackles this head on.

We also believe that there is a lot of support for high-growth businesses, the high-tech industry and companies seeking investment, however, other start-up busineses, that do not fit into these categories, have been left behind.

Therefore, our focus is on building sustainable businesses, that may not employ 1000's of people or have global aspirations, but are of paramount importance to the local communities they operate in and to the local staff they employ. Acorn Enterprise is really here to accelerate these local business heroes by enabling ordinary people to do extraordinary things!

ACCELERATING STUDENTS ENTREPRENEURS

Increasingly, we are working with Universities and Colleges to offer practical support and advice to accelerate students' businesses. Not only do we provide inspiration, through our Acorn Business Bootcamps and other entrepreneurial events (Acorn Talks Business), we also offer an intensive, structured, holistic 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme to get the students from business idea or early stage venture, to a point where they have the clarity, business connections, skills and confidence to ensure their startup grows and thrives.

We know that Universities and Colleges are eager to promote entrepreneurship as a viable alternative to getting a job, and many already provide incubation space, so we work in partnership with them to add extra value and accelerate this process.

PUTTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP AT THE HEART OF WHAT YOU DO

Acorn Enterprise works with new business owners, local authorities, Universities and Colleges, and other organisations who want to put entrepreneurship at the heart of what they do. We love new challenges and are always looking for new opportunities to accelerate business growth so join us now...and START UP!

Remember, from little Acorns...mighty Oaks grow!

The Team Behind Acorn

  • Kallum Russell – Chief Enterprise Officer

    Kallum is passionate about marketing, small businesses and entrepreneurship.

    Having launched 4 businesses and had 4 jobs in the 3 year's since his graduation, Kallum brings a wealth of practical knowledge gained from working on different projects. He has also built up a strong professional network.

    Kallum connects people, places and things. He enjoys challenging the norm, the mundane and the accepted. Put simply, he make things happen and enjoys doing it.

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    Kallum Russell – Chief Enterprise Officer
  • Jerry Alexander – Director

    Jerry also brings a diverse set of skills and real experience gained from owning multiple businesses.

    He is the Managing Director of Liberty Business Centres, which has operated in Fife for over 14 years.

    Jerry is also an active member of the Entrepreneurial Exchange and is committed to giving back to other business owners.

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Our Blog

  • Who Should I Ask for Advice About My New Business?

    Kallum with a K, 4 March 2016

    When it comes to running your own business, one thing that can help your start-up business really thrive is getting the right advice. Unfortunately, in our experience of working closely with over 140 new businesses in the last few years, there is a lot of bad advice out there. This blog aim to tackle this head on by educating you so that you can avoid being burnt by someone else’s bad advice.

    read more...

  • 'I'll Be Back!": 5 Tips for Success from Arnold Schwarzenegger!

    Kallum with a K, 2 February 2016

    Bodybuilder, actor, businessman, politician and activist. Just a few of the roles held by one of my (childhood) heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whilst I knew a little about each of these pursuits, it wasn't until I heard him speak in Edinburgh a few day's ago, that I felt I knew the real Arnie. His is a true rags to riches story and this blog will look at just some of the insights on success, he shared with us during his on stage interview about his incredible life.

    read more...

  • 9 Business Books for New Business Owners

    Kallum with a K, 20 January 2016

    We feel that reading business books is a vital part of being a business owner, whether you're just starting out or growing your business, as it bridging this skills gap. Reading business books can also give you inspiration, new ideas and a different perspective - all essential when running a business. When you're just starting out, there is so much to learn, so much to do and so many great books that we could recommend that you read. We asked some of the 'Awesome Acorns', the new business owners on our 5th 20 week Business Accelerator Programme, to recommend their favourite business books and have come up with the following list.

    read more...

  • Acorn Enterprise - 2015 Highlights

    Kallum with a K, 6 January 2016

    We use the word Awesome a lot here at Acorn Enterprise and was just that Since we launched in June we have worked with over new and growing businesses in Central Scotland We have also worked with several Colleges and Universities and with some other really cool organisations and people This blog will take a look back at the many highlights from the last months enjoy Business Accelerator Programmes

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  • Lessons Learnt from Hearing Michael E. Gerber - The Emyth Author - Speak

    Kallum with a K, 15 December 2015

    There are men and then there are legends Michael E Gerber is the latter According to INC Magazine he is the World's number small business guru he is also the author of the best-selling small business book of all time The E-Myth Revisited Why Most Small Businesses Fail and What to Do About It This book was first written in and is still regarded as the small business bible by many When I first started reading business books properly a few year's ago I asked my business contacts what's the

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  • Is It All About Businesses of Scale? 3 Suggestions to Accelerate Start-up Businesses in Scotland

    Kallum "with a K" Russell, 30 November 2015

    Do you know what size of businesses in the UK account for: 99.3% of all private sector businesses? 48% of private sector employment? And a third of of private sector turnover? We’ll give you a clue, it’s not the corporates or “businesses of scale” - it’s small businesses! Small businesses with between 0 - 49 employees. It’s a fact, small businesses ARE the lifeblood of our economy.

    read more...

  • 3 Free Online Tools to Help Start-up Businesses Create A Professional Image!

    Kallum with a K, 19 November 2015

    The common thread between all 3 of these awesome online tools for start-up businesses is that they allow you to create a professional image: a slick website, polished newsletters and graphics that deliver impact. They’re also all super easy to use and have free elements - what more do you want?!

    read more...

  • How Do I Promote My New Business? 5 Activities for Marketing Your Start-up

    Kallum "with a K" Russell, 2 November 2015

    5 marketing activities to promote your new business: a website, newsletter, blogging, social media and networking.

    read more...

  • How Do I Promote My Start-up/New Business? The Customer, Strategy and Measurement

    Kallum with a K, 28 October 2015

    Another question we get asked a lot is, “How do I Promote My Start-up/New Business?” Before we look at any marketing activities themselves, let's set the scene by exploring three areas a lot of start-up business owners miss out: the customer, strategy and measurement. Yes, this is a bold claim, however, in our experience it is sadly very true.

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  • What Help, Support and Advice is There for My Start-up/New Business in Fife?

    Kallum with a K, 19 October 2015

    Acorn Enterprise has worked with well over 140 start-ups and new businesses in Fife, and the surrounding areas, since we launched in 2013. One question we get asked a lot is, "what help and support is there for my new business in Fife?"

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  • 3 Lessons Learnt From Our Meeting with Jim McColl OBE - Owner of Clydeblowers

    Kallum with a K, 14 October 2015

    Recently, my business partner, Jerry Alexander and I sat down with Jim McColl OBE - one of Scotland's entrepreneurial business leaders and owner of Clydeblowers - to have a conversation about the important work we're doing here at Acorn Enterprise, to grow Scotland's start-up business culture. We were lucky enough to get an hour with Jim and we left with our minds expanded! This blog will share three of the many incredible insights we took away from this meeting: analysis, perception and execution.

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  • I Thought I Understood Content Marketing...Then I Attended TCMA 2015!

    Kallum with a K, 8 October 2015

    Content marketing, according to Marcus Sheridan, who you’ll hear more about later, is: “listening to and responding to your customers’ questions better than anyone else”.

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  • Fife Business Week 2015: November 9th - 13th

    Kallum with a K, 1 October 2015

    Woo hoo! We're super excited that the 6th Fife Business Week will run: November 9th - 13th 2015. There will be over 30 different events across the county, including an E.P.I.C one run by us :)

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  • Introducing our Awesome New "Acorns"! - Rosyth 5th 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme

    Kallum with a K, 28 September 2015

    What started off as a conversation over coffee has now turned into an organisation dedicated to growing Scotland's start-up business culture, Acorn Enterprise! More importantly, let's talk about the Awesome "Acorns" on our 5th 20 week Business Accelerator Programme...

    read more...

  • Acorn Enterprise: Our First Two Years and the Scottish Business Ecosystem!

    Kallum with a K, 10 September 2015

    "Why don't we pilot an intensive 20 week Business Accelerator Programme for startup businesses in Fife". "Ok, Jerry, let's do this!" I exclaimed. Who would've thought a coffee, and an idea to accelerate new businesses two years ago, would've led to Acorn Enterprise celebrating it's fourth successful 20 week Business Accelerator Programme, where we’ve worked with over 60 new businesses, working with the University of St Andrews and the Perth and Fife colleges to run Business Bootcamps, attended by over 70 people, and owning a 3D printer?!

    read more...

  • The F-Word for Small Business Owners: Why You're Losing Sales

    Kallum with a K, 18 August 2015

    Don't worry, this blog is not rude but you may feel we are because we're going to be direct and blunt with you about why your business might be losing sales. Let's start off with a disclaimer: running your own business is tough. There is so much to do, all of the time and if it was easy, everyone would do it! However, you have to prioritise, and sales and marketing should be at the top of your list - if you don't have customers, you don't have a business.

    read more...

  • Startup Britain Bus Tour 2015 - Scottish Dates

    Kallum with a K, 21 July 2015

    The Scottish dates of the Startup Britain Bus Tour - a nationwide tour to support new and growing businesses across the UK.

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  • Education Enterprise: How to REALLY Help Students launch their own business!

    Kallum with a K, 11 June 2015

    When you were at High School, College or University, did your career advisor ever mention that you could run your own business? Sadly, the experience I've heard over and over again is no - it wasn't mentioned or even hinted at. In a world where graduates are struggling to find jobs and public sector and private sector organisations are getting rid of staff, this is not good enough and must change. This blog will look at how we can not only make our University and College students more entrepreneurial, but ensure their early stage ventures grow and thrive.

    read more...

  • Why Should I Buy From Your Small Business?

    Kallum with a K, 20 May 2015

    If you were going out for dinner tonight and had narrowed down the choice of restaurant to two, how would you decide which one to go to? You could look at reviews, ask friends and family for recommendations or choose the one that looks the most interesting, inviting and has the best selection of food. I faced this dilemma a few weekends ago when I went down to Newcastle. Some friends and I were deciding where to eat and on the first night, we went to a craft beer and BBQ smokehouse, called Bierrex. Why?...because it was different. Now what does this dilemma have to do with your small business? The answer is everything. Potential customers may be looking at buying from you right now but are torn between you and one of your rivals - why should they choose you?

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  • What "No" Really Means to Small Business Owners – Part II: Empowerment

    Kallum with a K, 6 May 2015

    I mentioned in last week’s blog post that the sales process can involve rejection or objections from prospective customers. And in this blog, we'll look at how to deal with this by exploring the other side of the "No" coin for small business owners: empowerment! "No"

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  • What "No" Really Means to Small Business Owners – Part I: Try Again

    Kallum with a K, 27 April 2015

    When you hear the word, "No", how do you feel? "No", is arguably one of the most powerful words in our vocabulary and when people hear it, the feelings associated are usually negative. A prospective customer says "No" to a sales proposal, a potential investor says "No" to being involved in your company or a girl says "No" when you ask her out on a date. The common thread here is rejection. However, "No" shouldn't be treated this way as it can also be an empowering response from a small business owners and this two-part blog will explore both sides of the "No" coin for entrepreneurs: rejection and liberation.

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  • 3 Free Online Tools to Help Small Business Owners Work Smarter

    Kallum with a K, 22 April 2015

    There has never been a better time to launch a new business in Scotland than right now. Thanks to technology, we truly are the most connected generation of all time. In addition to this, there is now more support than ever before for new and existing businesses, both offline and online. This blog will talk about 3 online tools that will accelerate your business by helping you to work smarter, whether you're a startup business or have been going for a few years.

    read more...

  • Acorn Business Bootcamp: North East Fife in Partnership with the University of St Andrews

    Kallum with a K, 13 April 2015

    Last Saturday (11th April 2015), we ran an Acorn Business Bootcamp in partnership with the University of St Andrews. The purpose of this event was to inspire more students to consider running their own business, as a real alternative to getting a job, and to challenge existing business owners, by encouraging them to think differently about their businesses.

    read more...

  • Acorn Enterprise to Open In the Shetland Islands!

    Kallum Russell, 1 April 2015

    We’re delighted to announce that we’re going to be running our Free 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme in Unst, which is located on the Shetland Islands! After several long months of due diligence, negotiation and travelling back and forth to the Shetland Islands, we have agreed with the Shetland Islands Organisation for Enterprise (SIOE) to run our highly successful Programme for aspiring and existing business owners in Unst – which is the most northerly settlement in Scotland and has a population of 632 people.

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  • Introducing the Awesome New "Acorns" On Our 4th 20-Week Business Accelerator Programme in Rosyth

    Kallum Russell, 2 March 2015

    It's hard to believe that the fourth intake of our Free 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme kicked off in Rosyth, Fife, just a few weeks ago! We'd like to take this opportunity to introduce to you, our Awesome new "Acorns"!

    read more...

  • Scotland CAN DO!

    Kallum Russell, 23 February 2015

    ‘To go from Scotland CAN DO, to Scotland HAS DONE, we need to focus on leadership, collaboration and action’, according to Sir Tom Hunter, as he addressed the jam-packed, inaugural Scotland CAN DO National Assembly on Friday (20th February 2015).

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  • Businesses Branching Out: Byam Trotter, owner of Trotter's Independent Condiments

    Kallum Russell, 18 December 2014

    Byam Trotter, owner of Trotter's Independent Condiments, is the third in our Businesses Branching Out blog series where we ask the owners of growing Fife businesses to share their journey so far, lessons learnt along the way and amusing incidents! Among other things in this blog, Byam has met members of the Royal family whilst running his own business! He has also been a real supporter of Acorn Enterprise, sharing his story with the participants ("Acorns") on our Business Accelerator Programmes.

    read more...

  • Let's Talk About...Twitter For Small Business Owners

    Dane Thomson, 26 November 2014

    Here at Acorn Enterprise, we’re looking to create blogs on topics which will really empower you as a small business owner and help you on your entrepreneurial journey. So, the next stop in our blog series is...Twitter. Now week 12 on our Free 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme, another topic that keeps coming up amongst our “Acorns” and the small business owners we meet is Twitter - the micro-blogging site which gives you just 140 character messages to engage with the world. How do I use it? Why should I be on it? How can I make my profile stand out from my business peers?

    read more...

  • Let's Talk About...LinkedIn For Small Business Owners

    Dane Thomson, 29 October 2014

    Here at Acorn Enterprise, we’re looking to create blogs on topics which will really empower you as a small business owner and help you on your entrepreneurial journey. So, the next stop in our blog series is LinkedIn. Now week 8 on our Free 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme, the topic that keeps coming up amongst our “Acorns” and the small business owners we meet is LinkedIn - the social networking platform predominantly used by members of the business community. How do I use it? Why should I be on it? How can I make my profile stand out from my business peers?

    read more...

  • Businesses Branching Out: John Young, Owner of John Young Signs

    Kallum Russell, 22 October 2014

    John Young, owner of John Young Signs, is the second in our Businesses Branching Out blog series where we ask the owners of growing Fife businesses to share their journey so far, lessons learnt along the way and amusing incidents! Among other things in this blog, John tells us about a rather unfortunate incident with a scaffolding tower or lack of one! He has also been a fantastic supporter of Acorn Enterprise, delivering seminars on our last two Business Accelerator Programmes.

    read more...

  • PR For Small Businesses - You’ve Got the Power!

    Dane Thomson, 15 October 2014

    Hello and welcome to blog number 3 from the Acorn Enterprise blog series. With my passion for Public Relations (PR) & Marketing and love for small businesses, I wanted to share some practical tips on this topic with you.

    read more...

  • Introducing our "Acorns"!

    Dane Thomson, 30 September 2014

    Let’s talk about our new "Acorns"… Hello and welcome to this very special edition of our weekly blog series. We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our new "Acorns".

    read more...

  • Let’s Talk About Networking…

    Dane Thomson, 23 September 2014

    In my role at Acorn Enterprise, I’m very lucky to be in a position where I get to attend really cool networking events. In my first month here, I’ve already attended three different networking events: InVite Business Networking, the Content Marketing Academy Conference (you can read my blog on that here) and Dunfermline Talks Business.

    read more...

  • Businesses Branching Out: Kallum Russell, Co-founder of Acorn Enterprise

    Kallum Russell, 17 September 2014

    Businesses Branching Out is a new blog series brought to you by Acorn Enterprise, where we ask the owners of growing Fife businesses to share their journey so far, lessons learnt along the way and amusing incidents! This first blog looks at one of the co-founders of Acorn Enterprise, Kallum "with a K" Russell. Acorn Enterprise is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to growing Scotland's start-up business community.

    read more...

  • A Day At The Content Marketing Academy - Scotland’s First And Only Annual Content Marketing Conference

    Dane Thomson, 8 September 2014

    It’s my first blog, so anything can happen… Well hello everyone, my name's Dane and I’m the new marketing and events assistant for Acorn Enterprise, an organisation dedicated to growing Fife’s start-up business community.

    read more...

Testimonials from our "Saplings"

  • Debbie Kemp - Owner of Dragnet Design

    "For me, at Dragnet Design this programme has been one of the best experiences ever. The programme has helped me overcome all the issues that many new start up companies face. From confidence, believing in my worth, talking about my business to simple accountancy, marketing and sales. Kallum is a relaxed, easy going and such an inspiration. It really is an amazing programme which I am proud to have been part off. ACORNS ROCK!"

    Debbie Kemp - Owner of Dragnet Design

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  • Jane Camillin - Owner of Pitch Publishing

    "The time has really flown past and I have found the structure and routine useful. There has been a sense of purpose in my working day and it has been good to 'go to work'. I have found all the seminars useful and have come away with some useful nuggets from each one.

    My focus and drive has improved and I feel more professional in my behaviour and work. The best thing is having the support and friendship of the other Acorns, even though we are a diverse bunch".

    Jane Camillin - Owner of Pitch Publishing

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  • Sam Trett - Owner of LoCa Beverages

    "Being part of Acorn Enterprise has given me the tools I need to develop my business. Having a dedicated space where you can work, paired with regular skill building sessions has helped me increase my productivity and efficiency exponentially.

    Another benefit is the social interaction you get with like-minded individuals; the life of an entrepreneur can be pretty lonely at times and you can struggle with issues that you feel others may not understand; the Programme facilitates weekly discussions and collaboration between members and as a result is of great benefit to those involved.

    Acorn Enterprise really does give its members, and their businesses, the support they need to help grow and I would recommend it highly to anyone starting up or looking to grow."

    Sam Trett - Owner of LoCa Beverages

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  • Rachel Thompson - Owner of Sense of Self

    "I really enjoyed Acorn Enterprise's Business Accelearator Programme. The atmosphere in the Hubspace co-working office is always inclusive and I love seeing how the other Acorns are getting on.

    The seminars are very useful and I found the ones about pitching and marketing particularly helpful for me in my start-up stages.

    I love the regular goal setting and also having the Acorns to attend business events with is a wonderful security!".

    Rachel Thompson - Owner of Sense of Self

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  • Karen Mowat - Owner of Karen Mowat Music

    "I've found the Business Accelerator Programme particularly helpful at this early stage of self employment.

    The biggest benefit I experienced was the accountability that the Programme focusses on as this has helped me to fully commit to my business and to making progress.

    Seminars on goal setting and networking have been helpful and I know have a mentor which has proved very beneficial".

    Karen Mowat - Owner of Karen Mowat Music

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  • Stephen Knudsen - Owner of KNU Design

    "If you are intending or even just thinking about starting a business or enterprise, I would thoroughly recommend Acorn Enterprise. Every weekly session you will learn about and explore your own business model through interactions with the group, invited speakers and all the different seminars.

    Acorns has given me more motivation and energy to drive my life forward with more focus, as well as making new friends. Being a start up is a roller coaster but it is much more enjoyable with a support network and Acorns has given me the confidence to embrace that journey!".

    Stephen Knudsen - Owner of KNU Design

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  • Laura Hutchison - Owner of Ignite FMT

    "I have found the Business Accelerator Programme to be extremely helpful, supportive and insightful for my business so far.

    It has helped highlight areas of the business which I am not paying much attention to, but should be, along with helping to clarify what my aims and goals for the business are, both short and long term.

    The variety of speakers and topics covered has been fantastic, and the atmosphere is so friendly and welcoming. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment, although challenging at times, and has helped boost my confidence in me as a person".

    Laura Hutchison - Owner of Ignite FMT

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  • Donna Cole - Owner of Donna Cole Editorial

    "Acorn Enterprise's programme came along at exactly the right time for me. I now feel focused and confident that I can use what I have learned to grow and adapt my business.

    The team at Acorn Enterprise and the weekly speakers are a huge help and inspiration because they have been there as start-ups; and the communal workspace is great for me because as a freelance I really miss working as part of a team".

    Donna Cole - Owner of Donna Cole Editorial

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  • Catriona Maciver - Owner of CatMacDesign

    “Acorn Enterprise was exactly what I needed when I was starting out. The weekly seminars where always interesting and even though every one didn't apply to me, they always applied to someone and where still insightful.

    The mentor I got through them was a perfect fit. Everything fitted in place as I went through and the support group I gained though the course was a hidden gem that I was expecting to gain. Kallum and the team were so on the ball all the time and really was so helpful. Where my business has gone because of Acorn Enterprise was worth so much of my time, I regret nothing.”

    Catriona Maciver - Owner of CatMacDesign

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Acorn

Join Fife's Entrepreneurial Revolution!

Now in our second year, we want to build on the success of our first year in which we helped 45 new businesses, or Acorns as we call them, via our FREE 20 week Business Accelerator Programme which you can learn more about by clicking here.

We are delighted to have found financial support from Fife Council Economic Development, Liberty Business Centres to mention just a few.

Acorn Enterprise is now seeking to partner with other forward thinking organisations in Fife that care about the local community and are keen to promote Fife as a place to successfully set up a new business.

We're sure that you will agree that a more entrepreneurial society enriches not only the lives of those taking part in the formation of new businesses but also for the wider community as a whole.

Supporting our FREE 20 week Business Accelerator Programme has a number of benefits because it is such a unique opportunity to support and communicate directly with the new business community in Fife.

For some organisations this will be a simple opportunity to work on CSR , for others it will be more deep seated belief that supporting local entrepreneurship is simply the right way to give back. Whatever your motivation we hope that you will join us in making Fife a more entrepreneurial place to be. Please contact us here...

Remember, from little Acorns...mighty Oaks grow!


Contact

contact our team

Email: hello@acornenterprise.co.uk

Call: 01383 427305

Acorn Enterprise, Rosyth Business Centre, 16 Cromarty Campus, Rosyth Europarc, KY11 2WX.

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Apply now for the February 2016 intake of the Acorn Enterprise Free 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme!

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