FORMER US president Bill Clinton will give a speech at a Scottish awards ceremony – after accepting an invitation from an Edinburgh sandwich shop owner.
Clinton will bring presidential glamour to the Scottish Business Awards at the Edinburgh International Conference centre in June.
The 66-year-old can demand up to $1m for an appearance but it is not known how much he is charging for the Edinburgh event, where tables with cost £3,000 each.
Clinton, who proposed to wife Hillary in Edinburgh in the 70s, will travel to the capital with a Secret Service protection unit.
Entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn, who owns SocialBite, an acclaimed socially-conscious sandwich shop in Edinburgh, worked for months to secure the high profile speaker.
The 26-year-old, who organises the annual event, said he was thrilled to have landed Clinton as headlining speaker.
He said: “It’s great for the profile of the Scottish Business Awards.
“At last years event the keynote speaker was Bob Geldof and he helped organise a prize at our charity auction from The Clinton Foundation, where the winner got to spend a day with the former president.
“As we also have a connection with him through his work with Sir Tom Hunter, who is chair of the awards judging panel, we decided to ask if Mr Clinton would consider coming to speak at this year’s awards. It’s taken months of organisation, but we have finally confirmed that he will be attending.”
The awards in June will see the former president give a speech to 1440 businesswomen and men from around the country, entitled Embracing Our Common Humanity.
One person at every VIP table will get the chance to meet and be photographed with Clinton, who served eight years as US president from 1993 – 2001.
The William J Clinton Foundation works to “improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods and health and wellness, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among businesses, governments, non governmental organisations and private citizens.”
Mr Littlejohn said: “The Clinton Foundation’s work to use business strategies to tackle poverty make the former president extremely well suited to the kind of event we wish to have.”
Clinton will only be making a whirlwind visit to the capital, and Mr Littlejohn is not sure he will get to meet the jet setter.
He said: “It would be nice to meet him and have a photograph taken, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen. The most important thing is that he’s going to be here.”
Sir Tom Hunter, who made his fortune through chainstore Sports Division, said: “These are exceptional awards run by a young social entrepreneur who is an example to us all. The fact he has former president Clinton speaking at the event tells you all you need to know about the quality of the event.”
Ken Barclay, head of corporate baking division of RBS, the awards main sponsor, added: “This is the second year we have worked together with SBA to highlight and reward some of the outstanding success stories of Scottish businesses over the last year.”
Clinton last visited Scotland in 2006 when he gave a lecture to 800 business people in Glasgow about the dangers of global warming.
In the 1970s he travelled with then-girlfriend Hillary to the Scottish capital, where he is said to have proposed.
Mrs Clinton, the US Secretary of State returned to Edinburgh in 2001 to open an international conference for female parliamentarians.
Last year it was revealed that the former president had booked a round of golf at Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course.
He is expected to play a round at Trump’s international links course at the Menie Estate this summer.