A Cumnock businessman has been chosen as one of the first candidates to receive support from the Scottish Government’s Unlocking Ambition Challenge.

Scott Weir is CEO of Pillow, an Ayrshire-based property management company, and is one of 20 business people selected for the programme.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the first recipients of the £4m fund at Dumfries House on Monday and Scott explained what Unlocking Ambition will mean for his business.

He said: “I’ve have been in business since 2005 but certainly, for the last 12 years I’ve been doing it all myself and I’ve just had my head down and building my business in Ayrshire.

“Being part of the Unlocking Ambition programme, it’s now time to get help and access to people that have been there and done it so rather than me just finding my feet, there’s experts and help and guidance that can take me to the next level.

“Rather than just being an Ayrshire business I can have bigger aspirations be national and then a full UK business.”

He added: “This is quite a new project that Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government are launching.

“It’s a year long mentorship programme and we’re going to get loads of help from specialists and lots of training and people will help support the business and help us grow.”

Pillow currently manage 50 properties across Ayrshire and he hopes that the programme can help him reach his ambitions.

Scott said: “Based on VisitScotland statistics of the average guest spend, if we have 50 properties in a region that brings in £1m of tourist spend.

“We know that our business definitely contributes £1m plus. This programme will hopefully help us double that.

He added: “Every business that does well employs new staff so it helps by taking people off unemployment.”