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Case Studies

Scottish EDGE – Entrepreneurship, for change.

‘The Collective NSET Spotlight Series’ is a campaign in which certain Can Do Collective members respond to the 2022 National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET); introducing and showcasing their individual efforts that will effectively contribute to the wider social, economic and environmental transformation of Scotland.

Founded with the drive to identify, invest-in and nurture Scotland’s Entrepreneurial ideas, Scottish EDGE is a funding competition for our nation’s up-and-coming talent.

EDGE is funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Hunter Foundation, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise and deliver three categories: Scottish EDGE, Young EDGE and Wild Card EDGE. Businesses that apply to the competition can be awarded with up to £100,000, which is a life-changing amount for some of Scotland’s most talented entrepreneurs.

Scottish Edge Awards 18 – image © Sandy Young Photography

As we continue our ‘Collective NSET Spotlight Series’, we spoke to Scottish EDGE about their response to the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET):

Scottish EDGE are committed to supporting the implementation of the Government’s 10-year NSET plan, and their contributions to the wider ecosystem already play a transformative role within the talent-pool. Not only does this apply to their funding awards, but to inspiring and building entrepreneurial mindsets within the nation, something that the NSET touches on. Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE comments thatwhat they do ‘is not just about winners.  It is about encouraging businesses to consider and explore entrepreneurship.  Our commitment to detailed feedback for every one of our applicants is aimed at encouraging, inspiring, directing and helping every single person who considers going into business as a career option.’

Alongside their funding competitions, Scottish EDGE already contribute to the NSET’s national ambition of creating “a world class entrepreneurial infrastructure of institutions and programmes providing a high intensity pathway. Evelyn continues:

‘Scottish EDGE is already contributing to this aim having delivered a nationally recognized quality competition to identify and support Scotland’s early-stage, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent since 2013.  We pride ourselves on working collaboratively with the entrepreneurial support system to identify the applicants who come forward.  In addition, we recruit around 100 volunteer judges in every round harnessing the business community and engaging them in helping us to meet our aims.  Our network of 450 trading Alumni now represents a growing resource to support, mentor and in some cases fund up and coming entrepreneurs and includes several Scottish success stories such as Current Health, TV Squared, Sunamp, Beer52 and Ooni.’

Scottish EDGE’s ambition to promote entrepreneurial learning in schools and post-16 education is also being actioned:

‘In partnership with Young Enterprise Scotland and three lecturers in Entrepreneurship from Heriot Watt University and the University of Strathclyde we are currently developing a double period Business Management lesson featuring the importance of small business to the Scottish economy, the story of two EDGE winning businesses, judging some EDGE pitches ‘Dragons Den-style’ and what it’s like to work in a small business.  Our aim is to roll this out to all the participants in the YES Company Programmes and to every secondary school to use in their standard grade and Higher Business Management Courses.’

Commenting on key actions and programmes of work within the strategy, Scottish EDGE highlighted three key areas that are mentioned in NSET:

Entrepreneurial People and Culture

Within this programme of action, there is an action to ‘Create a national system of ‘pre-scaler hubs’ to help new businesses with high growth prospects access world class support and advice.’

Our team member, Ken Whipp, heads up the Scaleup Scotland programme funded by the Hunter Foundation and Scottish Government.  Our collective ambition is to support fellow entrepreneurs to build world class, scalable businesses by sharing experience, access and networks to drive dynamic growth.

As part of executing the 10-year transformational strategy, the Scottish Government are also wanting to attract international students to Scotland. This would mean that our Universities would need to be provide support in order to provide “post educational pathways”

Scottish EDGE pride ourselves on offering funding to entrepreneurial talent from abroad.  A recent example of this can be seen in the inaugural Net Zero EDGE where all three winners – one from Australia, one from Germany and one from Poland – had started their businesses after studying in the UK.  Scottish EDGE is also an endorser of the Startup and Innovator Visa and has helped two Indian entrepreneurs to gain their visas and is currently supporting a young Russian entrepreneur with her visa application.

New Market Opportunities  

An ambition of NSET is to create new market opportunities throughout various industries across Scotland. A particular area of focus that Scottish EDGE are already creating innovative test beds for is new technologies:

Through specific categories of the competition such as Net Zero EDGE, Circular Economy EDGE and Industrial Biotechnology EDGE we are encouraging businesses to innovate in new technologies which could both benefit Scotland and create success in international markets.

A Fairer and More Equal Society

Scottish EDGE also contribute to NSET’s want to include “fair work conditionality to grants, requiring payment of real living wage, and channels for effective workers’ voice.”

Scottish EDGE introduced Impact as a criterion two years ago and is now ensuring all our applicants and winners consider their impact socially, on their workers and communities, as well as their impact on the environment.

Scottish EDGE, among many other Collective members, are working together to build collective action and impact over the next 10 years as the NSET is rolled out.

To learn more about Scottish EDGE, check out their website.

Are you supporting businesses in Scotland? Find out how you can join the Can Do Collective.

If you are a Can Do member and you would like to share how you are supporting NSET, get in touch and feature in this series! Email us: hello@cando.scot

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Case Studies

The Future Economy Company– Thinking for the future

The ‘Partner’s Opinions’ is a campaign in which certain Can Do Collective members respond to the 2022 National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET); introducing and showcasing their individual efforts that will effectively contribute to the wider social, economic and environmental transformation of Scotland.

The Future Economy Company (FEC) is an ambitious organisation with a unique approach that integrates economic, creative, cultural, social and environmental impacts to create change. FEC work all over Scotland, and beyond:

We want Scotland’s creative economy & creative industries to be highly successful, inclusive, entrepreneurial, and prosperous, enabling Scotland to be the best place to create, start and grow a creative business or practice thus contributing to the increasing numbers of people who choose to live, work, study and invest in Scotland.

Our Vision as a social enterprise is to be focused on enabling new ideas, businesses and entities that make new and lasting contributions to our economy. Our mission is to support makers, doers, creative thinkers, and innovators to be inspired, empowered & upskilled. Ensuring they have access networks & investment that enables change thus transforming employment, communities, and our economy.

We are community builders. We are focused on supporting creative entrepreneurs, micro-enterprises, and the creative economy. We maximise resources to realise diverse opportunities locally, nationally, and internationally.

We want to grow as a thriving sustainable 21st Century business, we want to show what can be done. We are a purpose driven business, creating multiple impacts through our operational approach.

At the beginning of 2022, The Scottish Government released their National Strategy for Economic Transformation: a 10-year plan to accelerate economic growth in Scotland, and to establish our nation as a landmark of innovation and entrepreneurship. We believe that FEC are crucial to the implementation of this strategy, and how Scotland, as a nation, can optimistically aim towards the future of Scotland. As we spoke to FEC’s CEO Rachael Brown about how they’re supporting the new 10-year plan, she shared with us FEC’s ambitions:

The Future Economy Company (FEC) is seeking to contribute to Scotland’s new economic strategy through turbo charging the creative industries and creative economy. Through a series of focused programmes of action, we aim to build audiences nationally and internationally for Scotland’s creative entrepreneurs, celebrating success and telling their story, by delivering the UK’s first Festival of Creative Entrepreneurs. We will nurture the next inclusive generation of future leaders within the creative economy, invest in the skills of creative freelancers through our leading edge programme Creative Ambitions, we want  Scotland at the forefront of thought leadership within the creative economy.

Scotland has a rich and vibrant creative entrepreneurial & creative economy however there is a gap in amplifying that sector nationally and internationally.

We share the Scottish Government’s ambition to create a more successful country rooted in the wellbeing and green economies, with opportunities for all of Scotland to thrive and unlock its economic potential. And we see clearly that the creative economy in Scotland plays a vital part in the recovery and rebuild required to support Scotland’s economic transformation. FEC has a desire to see Scotland being ahead of the game, turbo charged and future proofed.

Scotland’s economic potential is certainly untapped, but with social enterprises such as FEC, the future is bright for Scotland.

To learn more about FEC, visit their website.

Are you supporting businesses in Scotland? Find out how you can join the Can Do Collective.

If you are a Can Do member and you would like to share how you are supporting NSET, get in touch and feature in this series: hello@cando.scot

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Case Studies

Young Enterprise Scotland: The future of Entrepreneurship

Welcome to The Collective NSET Spotlight Series! We spoke to Can Do Collective members about their response to the 2022 National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET). This series will showcase not only individual efforts that will effectively contribute to the wider social, economic and environmental transformation of Scotland, but how these partners can achieve more impact for Scotland when they work together.

Young Enterprise Scotland (YE Scotland) is an organisation that introduces Scotland’s young people with the tools and education to reach success in their future. YE Scotland provides a variety of development opportunities for young people, as well as enterprise and financial education programmes to drive them to their full potential.

Both as part of the Can Do Collective, and as their own entity, YE Scotland is committed to supporting the implementation of the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), which was released this March.

Organisations with a real focus on Entrepreneurial learning and education, such as YE Scotland are crucial for our nation. We got the chance to speak to them about how YE Scotland aligns and support the new 10-year plan to transform Scotland’s economy.

Embed First Rate Entrepreneurial Learning Across the Education and Skills Systems

The NSET document places importance on “project based entrepreneurial learning across the school and post-16 education curricula” as well as joining the dots between businesses and the education system. This will, in turn, build a base understanding with the Scottish youth, of how to think in an entrepreneurial way, and an educational culture that champions entrepreneurship.

In response to this aspect of NSET, Geoff Leask, CEO of YE Scotland shared that:

Young Enterprise Scotland has already developed what they refer to as a ‘ladder of enterprise’ that provides a continuum of project-based support for both young people and educators throughout primary, secondary and tertiary education.

The Organisation has developed a series of Scottish Credit Qualification Framework Partnership (SCQF) qualifications from levels three through to level nine to enable those young people not best suited to academic learning to achieve a qualification through ‘learning by doing’ and helping to generate a parity of esteem for entrepreneurial learners.

As an accredited Investors in Volunteer organisation, YE Scotland currently manages a network of circa 500 business volunteers engaging within education which it seeks to grow as there is a greater demand for enterprise learning within education.

YE SCOTLAND are also committed to elevate and contribute to embedding entrepreneurship in the Young Person’s Guarantee, to cultivate the business leaders of tomorrow by exposing them to first-rate start-up techniques and experiences. YE Scotland are passionate about presenting business start-up as an aspirational, realistic and deeply fulfilling career choice.

Geoff continues:

‘Young Enterprise Scotland has been and continues to work in partnership with the Scottish Government/Young Persons Guarantee to enable the enterprise option to become available to young people. Young Enterprise Scotland is providing a member of their experienced staff to SG over 2022/2023 to enable their expert knowledge to be utilised to assist with the positioning and understanding of the enterprise options available via the YPG throughout education and Developing Young Workforce (DYW) arenas’.


Crosshouse Primary School, East Kilbride, recieving the YES ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Financial Education.

The 10-year strategy also reinforces an entrepreneurial campus infrastructure, which would involve collaborating with the college and university sector to establish “campuses as hotbeds of start-up creation”, reflecting on this Geoff, commented:

‘Young Enterprise Scotland is a key enabler of this action area via the work it already undertakes through the Scottish Government and Colleges of Further Education funded Bridge 2 Business Programme. As a precursor and enabler of a physical ‘entrepreneurial campus’ infrastructure it is vital that an entrepreneurial culture is embedded and understanding of enterprise both within staff and students. Bridge 2 Business is the key foundation stone of that with ‘boots on ground’ in FE, practical challenges, connectivity to partner organisations and CPD available to staff to enhance understanding of the ‘Can, Plan & Do’ process.’

To learn more about YE SCOTLAND, visit their website: https://yes.org.uk/index.php or follow their various social media channels:

Are you supporting businesses in Scotland? Find out how you can join the Can Do Collective.

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Case Studies

WES: EMPOWERING THE ECONOMY

Welcome to The Collective NSET Spotlight Series! We spoke to Can Do Collective members about their response to the 2022 National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET)This series will showcase not only individual efforts that will effectively contribute to the wider social, economic and environmental transformation of Scotland, but how these partners can achieve more impact for Scotland when they work together.

As champions for change, Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) creates an environment where women-owned businesses can start-up and thrive. For the last 10 years, WES has been at the forefront of the drive to close the gender gap in enterprise participation unlocking women’s economic potential and enabling innovation to thrive. The vision remains the same: for Scotland to be world leading in its approach to supporting women business owners, enabling equal access to resources and opportunities as they develop successful and sustainable businesses.

Women owned businesses contribute £8.8bn Gross Value Add into the Scottish economy and have created over 230,000 jobs.[1] As a sector, women-owned businesses contribute more GVA than Sustainable Tourism (£4.1bn), Food & Drink (£5.6bn) and Creative Industries (£4.6bn)​.[2] Doubling women-owned businesses to 40% of SME’s would add another £8.8bn to the Scottish economy every year.

The recently released National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), has realised and understood that there is a monumental need for women entrepreneurs to be supported more, as the gender gap in business owners, is holding back the economic transformation of Scotland, and the rest of the globe.

We spoke to Professor Lynne Cadenhead, Chair of WES, about their response and support for the NSET in our Collective NSET Spotlight Series.

The NSET states the importance of recognising that it is an “ethical and economic imperative of tapping into a more diverse talent pool to drive the creation and growth of new businesses through, for example, the commitment of £50 million over the lifetime of this Parliament to support more women into entrepreneurship.”

To support the delivery of NSET, WES notes that:

Lynne Cadenhead, Chair of WES.

‘Our 2021 Manifesto for Change focuses on the critical importance of developing and supporting women’s enterprise as part of Scotland’s future economic prosperity, and sets our key priorities for change including advocating for a more gender equal economy, enabling greater access to finance and enabling a more gender aware business support structure across Scotland. As an expert body, WES advises and informs external partners and advocates for gender-specific enterprise support and seeks to influence policy-makers and opinion formers to recognise the significant contribution women-led businesses could make to the Scottish economy.’

WES’s commitment to driving change and prosperity for women’s business support, which will in turn, deliver a crucial part of the government’s 10-year transformative plan:

‘WES will continue to work in partnership with a wide range of public, private and third sector stakeholders within the enterprise eco-system in Scotland to support them in delivering a more gender balanced economy. Central to effective collaborative delivery is an enhanced digital Women’s Business Centre in 2022, providing gendered support, signposting and guidance for women across Scotland, and which is the first stage in the WES vision for the creation of a National Women’s Business Centre (NWBC). The purpose of the NWBC is to unlock women’s economic potential, providing support from early business idea generation through to growth and scaling and will require a collaborative ecosystem approach for effective delivery.’

WES launched the digital Women’s Business Centre in 2020. The first platform of its kind, it provides expert, gendered support and guidance for women across Scotland, supported by Royal Bank of Scotland. It is free to access and offers dedicated, needs-based content for women starting and growing businesses.

The site has recently been enhanced with new functionality including a Business Directory, Forum and a Sales Academy. All content is available for those signed up for the free membership.

Visit the digital Women’s Business Centre: https://womensbusinesscentre.com/

WES Awards

After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Women’s Enterprise Scotland Awards are back as part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations.

These prestigious awards will be presented at a glittering evening event to celebrate the talents of women across Scotland – and help to create more role models to inspire the next generation of leading businesswomen.

Find out more about the categories and tickets here: https://www.wescotland.co.uk/awards2022

To learn more about WES, check out their website: https://www.wescotland.co.uk/

Read the WES Manifesto: https://52d82f74-5f75-48d7-8f80-019e7dcc45ce.usrfiles.com/ugd/52d82f_ebb2f04185e04124b27594561ef90350.pdf

Find out more about 10 years of WES: https://www.wescotland.co.uk/10yearsofwes

[1] FSB 2018

[2] Growth Sector Statistics, Scottish Government 2021

If you are a Can Do member and you would like to share how you are supporting NSET, get in touch and feature in this series!