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:

Case Studies

The Future Economy Company– Thinking for the future

‘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.

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:

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: or follow their various social media channels:

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

Case Studies


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:

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:

To learn more about WES, check out their website:

Read the WES Manifesto:

Find out more about 10 years of WES:

[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!

News Press Releases

Phoenix Group collaborates with TCS COINTM and FinTech Scotland to drive forward innovation in customer engagement and financial well-being

Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long terms savings and retirement business, has launched a new Innovation Forum that will look to use the latest FinTech innovation to build greater engagement and support the well-being of its customers, driving forward greater financial inclusion.

In collaboration with TCS’ Co-Innovation Network (TCS COINTM) innovation ecosystem and FinTech Scotland, the Phoenix Innovation Forum will invite FinTech enterprises and entrepreneurs to explore partnership opportunities that will introduce innovative thinking and new ways of working. Phoenix will be looking to work with FinTech firms who share a passion for improving financial wellbeing, with a focus on making a genuine positive impact on customers’ lives on their journey to and through retirement.

Phoenix Group’s purpose is to “help people secure a life of possibilities” and as part of this, it is committed to building greater financial literacy and inclusion. Phoenix looks to engage with its customers throughout the different stages of their life, providing the right products and support, at the right time, to help them make the right choices.

The Phoenix Innovation Forum will give FinTech enterprises and entrepreneurs the opportunity to design, refine and present innovative solutions to senior leaders across PhoenixGroup. The initial focus will be on two key engagement themes:

  • Curiosity – Using creative tools and interactions to spark increased levels of curiosity about saving and financial planning, which can help to nurture greater learning, especially in the area of planning for retirement.
  • Gamification – Using ‘gamification’ tools and rewards which are interactive to encourage greater engagement in digital channels, by creating an immersive approach and demonstrating to customers the value of saving and investing for the future.

Phoenix’s Managing Director – Pensions and Savings, Colin Williams, said:

“This is a great opportunity for Phoenix to connect key decision makers within our organisation with innovative enterprises. We are looking to fuel creativity and come up with new solutions which really support our customers and build greater engagement and financial inclusion which is important to our Group’s social purpose and part of our long term sustainability strategy. We are looking to deliver forward-thinking propositions and to be at the forefront in developing innovative solutions, working in collaboration with TCS COIN and the FinTech Scotland community.”  

Nicola Anderson, Chief Executive of FinTech Scotland commented:

“We are delighted to support the Phoenix Innovation Forum which is a further example of the valuable role FinTech innovation can play in improving customers’ financial engagement and well-being. Phoenix’s commitment to innovation to support its large customer base and its partnership approach will attract significant interest from FinTech entrepreneurs who share their ambition of helping customers more effectively engage with savings and investments.”

Vivekanand Ramgopal, Global Head – TCS BFSI Products and Platforms, commented: 

“Enterprises are looking to form collaborative, purpose-driven ecosystems to launch innovative new offerings that deepen customer relationships and drive growth. To succeed, they need an extensible, open API-based, future-ready digital core like the TCS platform that powers Phoenix Group’s operations. That agile digital foundation is now enabling our two organisations to co-innovate around client analytics and customer experiences at our Innovation Lab in Edinburgh. We are delighted to expand this partnership with the Innovation Forum, and bring in partners from our extended innovation ecosystem, the TCS COIN, to innovate at scale and at speed.”

The initiative will provide the opportunity for FinTech innovators to develop a potential formal partnership with Phoenix Group to build solutions which will not just benefit Phoenix’s customers, but will contribute to innovation for wider society. FinTech firms looking to be part of the Phoenix Innovation Forum will be able to register their interest in participating via a dedicated page on FinTech Scotland’s website.


Opening up Scotland’s scaleup conversation

Now that the Scottish Government has published the ambitious National Strategy for Economic Transformation it is time for all stakeholders to work together to turn ambitions into action. When confronted by a challenge most of us are hardwired to act quickly, now might be the moment, however, to actually pause, listen and reflect on what is needed if Scotland really wants an economy that will deliver on a triple bottom line.  

One of the most important set of voices we must hear is that of the leaders of the scaling  firms which will be the powerhouse of future economic transformation in Scotland. It is these businesses that will do the heavy lifting, translating policy into performance, innovating to create net zero solutions, opening opportunities to build a just and equal society. The leaders of these firms are, however, busy people, they work in many diverse sectors, they are located across all parts of Scotland. 

By running a series of Discovery workshops with 50 leaders from these scaling firms and their support ecosystems, we have made this task of listening easy. A summary report that communicates the significance of these businesses and the needs of their founders and leaders has just been published through the Scotland Can Do initiative.

It is clear that the scaleup agenda must be prioritised in Scotland to deliver improved access to talent, markets, investment and know-how. The report details how those doing the heavy lifting want to see this happen. To deliver real change this won’t be about pursuing business as usual, everybody in the support ecosystem needs to acknowledge a step change is needed. Colleges & Universities need to deliver on the real skills needs of scaling firms: Why does no Scottish University have a Professor of Sales? Why is there such a gap in digital skills within the Scottish workforce? Networks of peer-to-peer learning are needed, scaling firms are at the cutting edge of whatever they are doing, they want advice and insights from near peers, those who have just tackled a similar challenge, but does current signposting and networking support this? Collaboration across silos is needed, over compartmentalising a relatively small economy doesn’t open up Scotland’s cross-sector innovation potential. Scotland’s takes a relatively public sector heavy approach, is this significant investment of taxpayer’s money acting as a catalyst by procuring in innovative ways? Is everybody in the ecosystem working to build a clear brand in the minds of potential investors who are increasingly located outside Scotland? 

If Scotland listens carefully to these voices, it has an opportunity to develop actions that will really deliver on the ambitions of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. Take 20 minutes out of your day to read the report and reflect on the voices of scaling firms before you suggest an action that might seem logical but simply promotes the status quo.  

Read the full Scaleup Report here.

Want to learn a bit more about about the report or submit any feedback? We would love to hear from you. Contact us:


Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus – Hybrid Conference set to empower start-up industry with inclusivity and incredible opportunities

Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus, the latest hybrid conference, is coming to Glasgow next week, which gives young businesses the ability to pitch their companies to the panel of VC’s and gain invaluable feedback. The day-long conference commences on Tuesday 10th May and will focus on everything that’s needed when it comes to raising investment. With limited free tickets available, attendees will hear from an array of world-class speakers, take part in practical workshops, meet investors, and even have the chance to pitch business ideas to the professionals.

Founded in 2017, Raising Partners was created to bring a much-needed specialism to the notoriously hard to crack investment world. Raising Partners offers first-class support and investment through strategy series and angel investment syndicates. As experts in early-stage investment, Raising Partners collaborates with clients to establish a solid investment strategy. This support also gives clients the opportunity to be introduced to relevant investors and gives them the confidence to execute funding campaigns successfully. The work of Raising Partners creates a level playing field for businesses, from Pre-seeds to Series- B, by de-mystifying the investment landscape.

Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus will allow Entrepreneurs to gain essential skills to raise their next round of funding and learn from founders as they share their fundraising success stories and here from an investor panel, including Edward Keelan (Investment Principal of Octopus Ventures), Avent Bezuidenhout (Head of Investment of Earth Capital) and Julien Callede (Co-Founder of Attendees will also get the chance to meet with fellow entrepreneurs and investors, which is an excellent opportunity to share ideas, connect and gain confidence in the environment.

Creating inclusive spaces for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and scale-ups, is such an integral role in maintaining and nourishing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Opportunities such as Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus, is also a huge building block for Scottish businesses, as they can change the entire trajectory of the companies. 

Managing Director of Raising Partners, Helena Murphy, says:

Raising Partners Live is the event I wish had existed for me when I first raised investment for my ecommerce business 10 years ago. I’m thrilled to be able to bring together a room of world-class investors, experts and entrepreneurs to deliver inspiring, practical and action-orientated content in my home city of Glasgow. 

Ticket holders will be able to attend the event online or in person, and will have the choice of participating either workshops or watching online bonus sessions which will include:

  • 3 Fundamentals of Getting Investor Ready
  • A Practical Guide to Raising Your Seed Round
  • Raising your Next £1m+ from a VC
  • From Seed to Series A – A Tactical Guide.

Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus takes place on Tuesday 10th May, from 09:15-17:00 at the Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow.

To find out more about the Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus conference, and to secure your ticket, visit their site.


Hybrid Working: Re-writing the Norms of Office life

The newfound popularity of hybrid working could be argued as a ‘happy accident’ to many people in Scotland and across the globe since the pandemic hit.

A recent study by the Timewise Scottish has found that 27% of roles advertised in 2021 mentioned flexible working options. This comes from the previous year having 25% and pre pandemic years 19%.

This proves that flexible working is seen, by both employers and employees, as an attractive and safe attribute to a job role. So what could hybrid working look like in the long run, and how, and more importantly, where, do we work?

It can be hard to guide others in the right direction when it comes to working space and flexibility, especially when you may already have a preference to something yourself. We hope to open the realms of hybrid working possibilities to you, in which should, in turn, help guide others to the best working options for their company.

What really is Hybrid working?

So, you would think that after the time we have spent working from home, whilst slowly trying to integrate back into the office again, that we would know what hybrid working is… but do we?

The term ‘hybrid working’ could be considered as different to every company: whether it is hybrid working hours, location, or both. The trouble with defining hybrid working is that ironically, it is such a varied working model, so much so that it can vary week to week for an individual. And that is arguably the beauty of it – hybrid working lends itself to flexibility.  

Hybrid working is an active step towards flexibility; and that level, or type, can vary from company to company.

Keeping options open

One of the wonderful things about hybrid-working is that you have options. And plenty of them. So much so in fact that it can get quite overwhelming. What is the right choice to make? What if this doesn’t work out?

But the possibilities are endless, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of them are right for everyone. It is important to make sure that the right choices are made; either for yourself or a company you are supporting. Often, trial and error is the best method in which to do that. But if you are pushed for time, already decided or not even sure where to go from here, flexibility is, and always will be, key for success.

A way to dip the toes of many companies into the pool of working environments, is to suggest trying co-working spaces. A simple search of ‘coworking spaces in Scotland’ can bring up a lot more spaces across the country than you would think. From hot desks to meeting spaces, co-working spaces boast flexibility and many offer an extensive variety of membership packages, to meet every need.

Helen Denny, Strategic Innovation Lead for co-working space, The Melting Pot Edinburgh, states:

“The way we work has changed forever, with a growing shift away from the traditional 9-to-5 working week. The pandemic has only accelerated this change with recent research  showing that 84% of Scottish workers have or want flexibility, of this percentage a further 69% would like more flex, this includes control over where, when and how they work. There are many reason why people want flex including; caring responsibilities, a better work-life balance to improving wellbeing. For employers who offer hybrid and flexible working the impact has been positive, leading to an increase in productivity, employee retention to a better work-life balance across the business. However implementing hybrid and flexible working which meets the needs both of the individual and the business doesn’t come without its challenges. Research shows that the benefits far out way the challenges.”

Still unsure?

If you are still feeling apprehensive about navigating through all the possibilities of working environments for the long-term,  you are not alone. With the uncertainty from the last few years, it would only make sense that most will still be uncomfortable when it comes to transitioning back to a ‘new normal’.

The Can Do Collective have teamed up with The Melting Pot Edinburgh to bring our partners a workshop all about hybrid-working. This will also give Collective members the chance to use and explore The Melting Pot’s facilities.

Helen Denny notes:

In our facilitated conversation on the 27th April, we will explore some of the common challenges that employers have faced, solutions and dig into why hybrid / flexible working is core to the future of work.”

The Hybrid Workshop, facilitated by Helen Denny, will be an excellent opportunity for guests to:

– Look at inclusion and proximity biases

– Delve into the challenges and opportunities of hybrid working

– Be provided with insightful tips and tools to help you on your journey

The Hybrid workshop and Collective social will take place on the 27th, with three main activities taking place: An opportunity to use The Melting Pot’s co-working space, a facilitated Hybrid Workshop, and a Collective Social event. Members can choose whether they want to attend for the full day, or just certain activities.

Find out more about the Hybrid Workshop and Collective Social.

Interested in joining the Collective and taking part in our events? Learn how you can join us.

Additional Sources

Case Studies News

Startup Grind Edinburgh take cohort to the Silicon Valley

As part of the Scottish Government’s Technology Ecosystem Fund, Startup Grind Scotland will take 20 Founders from across the country for an immersive week in San Francisco and Silicon Valley in April. 

The cohort will enjoy a week immersed in the entrepreneurship mecca, complemented by meetings with investors and visits with global tech companies including Alchemist Accelerator, Salesforce, User Testing and Nvidia.

The team have designed the programme using Agile Methodologies in their evenings, weekends and around their family responsibilities, day jobs in tech startups, (Caro Melendez at WelcoMe, Dec McGlaughlin and Nick Murray at Frog Systems) and studies (Anna Brow, Strategic Comms Masters Candidate at QMU). 

The Can Do Collective caught up with the Startup Grind Scotland team and some of the partners that have helped bring this ambitious venture to fruition. 

How did the idea for this programme come about?

Dec McLaughlin, Startup Grind Scotland Director:

“We saw the news of the funding and knew we wanted to throw our hat in the ring. We’ve been hosting monthly fireside chats and panel discussions throughout the pandemic and lockdown, and have really brought an excellent community together. We wanted to do something bold that could support founders beyond of the education and inspiration they get from our events”

The Scottish Government launched the Technology Ecosystem Fund following the 2020 Logan Report, an independent review of the Scottish technology ecosystem. The report, led by former Skyscanner COO Mark Logan, provided recommendations on developing a world-class technology sector, calling for greater investment in activities that assist peer learning, networking and more connected, community-led initiatives to support entrepreneurs in Scotland.

Nick Murray, Startup Grind Scotland Co-Director:

“We read the Logan Review and saw Mark was advocating to get Scottish leaders out of their comfort zones and their respective geographical bubbles. He spoke about the need to inspire entrepreneurs at international conferences, take best practice from world-leading accelerators and globally-recognised scaleups, and put them on the radar of US tech investors. Dec and I had been out to San Francisco in early 2020, and we knew that a group trip based around the Startup Grind Global Conference could tick all those boxes”

Support from within the entrepreneurial ecosystem

Once funding had been secured, the entrepreneurship community opened applications from technology startup founders and c-suite executives from across Scotland. The group were inundated with responses and closed after just 18 days with 178 applications from technology startups and scaleups from 26 locations across Scotland. The final cohort was selected with the help of an independent judging panel, comprised of Collective members Evelyn McDonald (Scottish EDGE), Dr. Poonam Malik (Strathclyde University) and Stephanie Anderson (Scottish Enterprise).

Nick; “I knew that when it came down to the selection process, we needed expert support. As a longtime Collective member, I went straight to the relationships that I had forged there. I knew these three were experienced at reviewing and qualifying applications for pitching competitions like Scottish EDGE and that they would likely know many of the businesses so would have a good idea of who could benefit most from the opportunity. The judges were very generous with their time and expertise, and soon we had our final 20.”

The group had attracted attention, not just from founders, but also from other business support organisations from within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Scottish Development International’s (SDI) Capital Investment Team were monitoring the projects that had received funding and took particular interest in what Startup Grind Scotland were doing.

Elitsa Marinova, Investor Relations Manager at SDI:

“Our department connects international investors with Scotland’s most promising startups. We’re essentially investor-venture matchmakers, so we keep a close eye on what we can do to maximise exposure for high-growth potential businesses. The Tech Ecosystem Fund gave birth to some incredible initiatives across the country, but this one was particularly ambitious. We got in touch with the team to find out more about the plans on the ground in the US and if we could support with VC introductions. We hit it off instantly and proposed to leverage our network in the Bay area so that companies could make the most of their time there. For example, we put together a pitching event where our team and our US-based SDI colleagues, led by Pendy Pendyala, would invite our investor network and give cohort the chance to showcase their businesses and ask for investment”

Pendy Pendyala, Senior Vice President at Scottish Development International;

“At one point I think about four people in my emails trying to introduce me to the Startup Grind Scotland team. I thought, I better see what these guys are doing! My team in San Jose has supported many similar trips to the Valley, but nothing since the pandemic struck, and certainly not with this many people. The San Francisco area is still recovering from the pandemic, but in recent months we’ve seen a real appetite within the business and investor community to get out and socialize. We’ve had numerous international video calls across timezones to ideate and organize different activities for the cohort and I’ve been delighted to open up my network to ensure the team and the cohort get the most out of their time here, both in face time with investors and soaking up the various marvels that the Valley has to offer.”

Making some noise in the US

Across the pond, the project had attracted the attention of GlobalScot and Scottish Business Network President, Ian Houston.

“What struck me was that this initiative came at a key moment. I have used the term SCENTER which means encouraging Scottish businesses across sectors to Enter the world in a creative and bold way. This initiative is doing just that. It affords an opportunity to showcase the power and diversity of Scottish innovation on the grandest scale. As a proud Scot, I knew I wanted to amplify this opportunity whether it be through introductions to Government and Embassy officials here in the states or through the GlobalScot network. The initiative also has reach well beyond the actual physical time that will be spent in Silicon Valley.” 

Pendy and Scotland-based PR consultant Nick Freer have been key in making introductions to US-based establishments and individuals to enrich the programme activities. The cohort will enjoy visits, time and exclusive fireside chats with Nvidia AI, User Testing, Alchemist Accelerator, Werqwise, and numerous international investors and VC groups.

What did you learn when you originally went to SV?

Dec: “When we were out in 2020, it was a gamechanger. We learned to appreciate the importance of immersing ourselves in a different ecosystem, and the near-endless possibilities of what is possible with the right mindset and support. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little world and forget about the thousands of inspiring companies overseas who are truly pioneers in their space. We learned that who you surround yourself with is critical to success as well as a willingness to take educated risks and believe that you too can outcompete larger organisations and survive in a fierce environment.”

How will this programme impact the participants and their businesses?

Nick said:

“We know the trip will bring inspiration and professional opportunities. The conference is an incredible two-day event that takes over the whole of downtown Redwood City. We’re expecting around 3000 people to be there. The talks, workshops, exhibitors and networking will be a truly immersive experience and we’ve tried to ensure our cohort’s elevator pitches aren’t too rusty after 2 years at home and on Zoom!”

We’re also being very considered and intentional about the dynamic of the cohort. We have a truly diverse group of people from all walks of life, and encouraging trust, openness and fostering peer relationships within the group will be a strong focus of our activities. We have co-designed workshops with Laura Westring from Amiqus who has experience facilitating cohort connection exercises overseas with FutureX. If we never have the chance to do something like this again, at least we know that these founders will have this shared experience, and more importantly, will have each other for support as they navigate their business journeys.”

Dec: “The key focus for us is ensuring that the trip provides a long-lasting legacy that will live on far beyond the seven days that we are in San Francisco. One of the most exciting potential outcomes personally is the peer-to-peer relationships that will be forged along the way. There’s something powerful about the idea of such a diverse set of founders and leaders becoming not only friends but mentors and mentees to each other.

We believe that the cohort will return to Scotland inspired by the opportunities that Silicon Valley has to offer and that they will spread this optimism and self-confidence to fellow founders in the ecosystem. For the participants, their businesses will benefit from world-leading advice from a variety of topics from fundraising to hiring a team and scaling. The possibilities really are endless.”

What the cohort are looking forward to

Sheila Hogan, CEO of Biscuit Tin Planning said;

“For me, it’s about connections all the way; potential partners, investors, peers, collaborators, friends, learning, growth, support, brand awareness and so much more. Having just closed our first round of investment, this cohort is perfect timing and an amazing opportunity to sow the seeds for our global plans and next round of investment scheduled within the next 12 months.”

Hannah Mercer, Founder and Director, DragonflAI

“I am looking to learn from others who have made the successful leap from ‘interesting start-up’ to a scale-up and viable business. People really drive both DragonflAI, and me personally, and I think being surrounded by either knowledgable or eager to learn people, will be invaluable for our business. It is rare that location, opportunity and people fall together in the same place, and I would really appreciate the opportunity to push our business to the next level, and bring the knowledge back to Scotland.”

Thomas Gillan, CFO at BR-DGE said

“We plan to enter North America later in 2022, so getting more hands-on experience on the ground and the opportunity to grow our partner base will be extremely helpful. I’m excited to connect with a global range of stakeholders, from leaders of other tech businesses to investors and payments related companies ahead of our Series B round.”

Wendy Lamin, Managing Director at Holoxica said

“I want to learn from the best in Silicon Valley and from my cohort peers, avoid mistakes others made, network like crazy, pique the interest of others with a view on collaboration or investment and accelerate our growth internationally.”

Roy Hotrabhvanon, CEO at PlayerData said

“PlayerData is looking to continue to build its network within the States in preparation for a US market launch in Q4 2022. I’m keen to learn from the heart of the world’s startup ecosystem, form new connections and share our experience with other founders to give back to the community.”

Jodie Sinclair, Founder and CEO of Theo Health said:

“I founded this company during the pandemic and so networking has been carried out almost completely virtual. Being amongst an atmosphere of visionaries, innovative thinkers and highly-driven entrepreneurs would be an experience that would be invaluable for the continued journey and growth of Theo Health, and also as a motivational and inspirational boost for myself as an individual.”

Find out more about Startup Grind on their website.

Blogs News

Welcome Q+A with Janet Robertson, EQFM

New Can Do Partner, Janet Robertson, European Foundation for Quality Management (EQFM), joins us to discuss her role within the organisation and her attraction to collaborative communities…

Hi Janet, welcome to Can Do! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?:

I’m Northern Ireland born, long-time Edinburgh based.  Like many folk, both are “home”.  My background is in Housing gradually transitioning to Business Improvement.  I’ve been with EFQM, the European Foundation for Quality Management, since April 2021.  My role is focussed on developing the EFQM community in Scotland, supporting organisations across sectors and of any size, to perform better.  I’ve been working with the EFQM Model myself, since about 2010, when I introduced it in the organisation I was working with at the time, to make sense of all the performance and improvement activity we were undertaking.  So I know it works!  Since then I’ve had the privilege of being a trainer, and also an assessor for organisations going through EFQM Recognition.  There are always opportunities to learn by sharing, and I want to continue to help organisations to do that.

EFQM is hosting an event in Edinburgh on Thursday 24th March 2022, and we are looking forward to welcoming new faces as well as EFQM members, colleagues and friends.  If you are curious, you can find out more and book here.

About EFQM?

EFQM helps organisations perform better.

We are powered by the EFQM Model, a globally – recognised framework for organisational change and performance improvement.  We create data-driven insights backed up by industry experts, to fit your priorities, your purpose, and your people.

Through our integrated and carefully designed portfolio of products and services, we work side by side with leaders as they manage cultural change and digital transformation to deliver positive performance and meaningful benefits for all their key stakeholders.

EFQM works with a broad and diverse number of organisations, locally and globally, and across sectors, from large multinationals to small and mid-sized companies, supporting them through Training, Insight and Recognition.

What motivated you to become a Scotland Can Do Partner?

I’m drawn to communities that believe in sharing – with a common Purpose, through collaboration, we can achieve much more and do it better.

How do you contribute to the Scotland Can Do ambition; for Scotland to be the most entrepreneurial and innovative society for all?

In an increasingly complex world, I think people and organisations have to continually challenge themselves, to reflect with purpose and structure, on what they are doing and how well they are doing it.  That applies to innovation and transformation as much as to incremental change.  The EFQM Model framework helps organisations to do that in a holistic way, with a shared language, more conscious of the impacts that changes in one part of their ecosystem can have on another, or on their stakeholders, for example.

Just for fun… can you tell us your favourite coffee spot and what your got to order is?

I don’t have a favourite coffee spot as I like trying out different places, but the order is usually a double espresso and cake!  I’m especially fond of Cannoli from The Sicilian Pastry Shop in Leith.

If you are interested in the data-driven support that EFQM, then visit their website, or email: