A letter from America: part three

Nick Livingstone, winner of the Diageo Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship, is having a whale of a time in Boston as the entrepreneurial programme continues

TIME is flying past out here, sustained on street food, a few beverages and sheer determination to see as much as possible!

Week four kicked off with company visits – and up first was Brammer Biopharmaceuticals, which is headed by expat Mark Bamforth.

Firmly out of my depth, I was interested in an insight into a completely different industry; what I came away with is that once you forget about the specialist part of it, business is business regardless of the industry.

We then went to Mass Challenge – a not-for-profit, no-equity accelerator programme which awards up to $2million annually to successful start-ups; it’s a truly incredible example of the Boston start-up eco-system.

I also managed to squeeze in visits to Boston’s historic North End – home of the Italian neighbourhood – and Chinatown; my ideas of dieting on this trip are long forgotten! The rest of the week was spent in class, learning and developing sales, marketing, financial and many other skills.

After a weekend which included a trip to Vermont, Monday saw a five-hour drive into New York State and a visit to Tuthilltown Distillery.

Sitting in picture postcard scenery, this distillery, well known in Scotland for Hudson bourbon, is stunning. A really small and hard-working team uses water from the Hudson river source to make incredible spirits. I’m not sure how I’m going to get all the bottles I picked up home though!

After that it was back into the classroom for a two-day workshop on disruptive change, which proved to be very interesting and got us all thinking deeply, followed by a couple of classes on the different ways you can raise money to support your business idea; we also got an invitation to visit the British Consulate.

Friday saw a visit to Harvard and the chance to wander around the world famous college – historic buildings, great bars, a visit to the famous bookstore, and general fun and games!

On Saturday we headed to Southie – the Irish end of Boston which has seen a gentrification akin to the many parts of Glasgow.

However, Sunday stole the show – whale watching out of Gloucester in the north of Boston. I’m struggling to put into words how amazing it is to see such animals up close. If you ever find yourself over here, do not miss it. I’m already planning a return visit!