An Edinburgh-based businesswoman has been appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Stirling Management School, to support students, staff and alumni with practical advice and mentorship.
Allison Harrison took over small business Hot Yoga Edinburgh in 2014, after working in the drinks industry for 15 years, where she managed the “off” trade (non-bar/restaurant sales) for companies including Glenmorangie and Innis and Gunn. She has since won three business awards.
She struck out on her own, with the ambition to make money for herself instead of others and to achieve a better work/life balance, and now hopes to offer an alternative perspective to students who have ideas but don’t necessarily want to be in big business.
Allison said: “I am honoured to have been appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Stirling Management School. As a business owner, and also as an ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland, I’ve always enjoyed sharing my experience with others who may be a few steps behind me on their own entrepreneurial journey.
“I feel that there is often a vision that to be an entrepreneur you must want to be the next Richard Branson, and I believe that this puts many people off. There are many budding entrepreneurs who want to create a small to medium size business that offers a great product or service, provides employment and resources in their community, and supports their lifestyle. This type of business is just as valuable and important to our economy.
“The fact that Stirling supports this approach is very exciting, and I’m proud to be part of such an inclusive, modern environment.”
Dean of the University of Stirling Management School (SMS), Professor Kevin Grant, said: “Allison brings a wealth of experience, and has recently completed the Scottish University Scale-up Consortium E Squared (E2) programme, which SMS is part of. Allison is passionate about helping students to become job makers, rather than just job takers.
“With 82 percent of all businesses in Stirling classified as micro – those with fewer than 10 employees – supporting smaller businesses to start up and scale up is key to the area’s development.
“Allison brings a mixture of skills, craft and knowledge, as well as passion for supporting and enabling women in business, and we welcome her to the team.”
Allison joins current Entrepreneur in Residence Scott Brady, who is managing director of legal consultancy firm ecos limited.
Scott said: “I’ve now been in the role for almost two years and I’m inspired, enthused and invigorated by the energy on campus. My hopes for the future have been fortified by meeting some exceptional undergraduates. Allison will now have the opportunity to witness this first hand, as she inspires others too.
“There are exciting times ahead at this challenging time for the Scottish economy, a challenge that someone of Allison’s calibre is well matched to enhance.”
SMS enjoys close links with industry and prominent management education bodies – evidenced by its ranking among the top 10 universities in the UK for Economics, Marketing and Human Resource Management, and top five in Scotland for Business Studies, Accounting and Finance, and overall research impact.
It is currently one of only two business schools in Scotland to be offering the UK Government’s Help to Grow: Management scheme, to help SMEs grow and develop following the pandemic.