Livingstone wins Diageo fellowship

AYRSHIRE operator Nick Livingstone has secured the inaugural Diageo Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship.

Livingstone, who runs the 7 Saints bar in Prestwick, gained the Diageo-funded place on the prestigious international leadership development programme run by Entrepreneurial Scotland, which attracted applicants from across the Scottish trade.

In the final stage of the rigorous application process, Livingstone outlined ambitious plans to expand his business, adding to the Star Pubs & Bars leasehold unit he currently operates, and impressed the judging panel – which was chaired by Peter Lederer and included Diageo’s Mark Baird, Sandy Kennedy of Entrepreneurial Scotland, SLTA chief executive Paul Waterson and SLTN’s Gillian McKenzie – with his understanding of the programme and how it would help him grow his business.

Livingstone will now join the 2017/2018 cohort of Saltire Fellows from a range of sectors on the six-month intensive programme, which kicks off on September 4 and includes eight weeks at Babson College in Boston, USA; hands-on experience through US company visits; time with the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley; and two weeks at the University of Strathclyde’s Business School.

Livingstone said he is “absolutely over the moon” to have won the place. “I was immediately attracted to the opportunity when I saw it promoted in SLTN,” he said.

“I have been working in the industry since I was 17 and I am still coming to terms with the concept of having the chance to learn from the best in the UK and the US. I know it will play a key role in helping me develop the business in future.”

Peter Lederer said: “Nick is exactly the sort of person we need to play a key role in the future of a sector that is integral to the success of Scotland’s economy.”

Diageo’s Mark Baird said: “We believe that this experience will not only inspire Nick to go on to bigger and better things, it is a signal of our faith in the sector to continue to innovate and to address the many challenges facing the hospitality sector.”