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We’re Ready To Play Our Part In Recovery

Scotland Can Do Partners welcome Scottish Government commitment & “stand ready to help.”

Can Do Partners have welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the role entrepreneurs will play in Scotland’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

The community of entrepreneurial ecosystem leaders & organisations, also known as the Can Do Collective, have responded to remarks made in Parliament by newly appointed Economy Minister Kate Forbes and says it “stands ready to help the collective drive to deliver our recovery”

In her first speech since taking on her Ministerial brief in the new Parliament, Ms Forbes set out the Scottish Government’s plans for economic recovery.

And there was a strong commitment to underpin the work of Scottish entrepreneurs saying they will be the “bedrock” of the recovery as it gathers pace.

Ms Forbes also said the Scottish Government would

“create the best conditions for entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities to produce, to invent, to scale up, and in so doing, create secure and satisfying jobs which pay a fair wage.”

Can Do Collective Convener, Hazel Jane said:

“Our organisations reach thousands of entrepreneurs and their teams every year. We’re uniquely placed to communicate opportunities, make impact and nurture the incredible ideas and talent emerging across Scotland.

“The Can Do Collective stands ready to play our part in this much-needed effort.”

In her speech Ms Forbes went on to say:

“This government is absolutely committed to being pro-prosperity, pro-growth, and pro-business – a true champion for our job creators.

“We recognise the crucial role that industry leaders, businesses, trade unions, economists and other stakeholders will play in shaping and guiding that strategy so, as set out in our ‘100 days plan’, we will establish a new Council for Economic Transformation to draw on their experience and expertise.

“Pioneers and entrepreneurs will be the bedrock of this transformation.”

Can Do Partners also welcomed the announcement in the same speech of a “National Challenge” competition providing funding of up to £50 million to “the project or projects with the greatest potential to transform Scotland.” Full details of this are still to be announced.

Support has also come from Lord Willie Haughey, Executive Chairman of Glasgow-based City Facilities Management Holdings Ltd.

Lord Haughey said:

“Recovery from a pandemic, which has literally turned people’s lives upside down and been a devastating shock for businesses, won’t happen overnight. But I am in no doubt with determination and vision it can be achieved.

“So much is at stake in terms of people’s livelihoods and this call to action is both timely and represents a vital endeavour we can all play our part in. Those with an entrepreneurial mindset will play an important part achieving this goal as we strive to restore our economy and look forward to better days ahead.”

Colin Robertson CBE, Chair of Entrepreneurial Scotland, who are the custodians of the Scotland Can Do programme added:

“This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge facing the country in terms of economic recovery in decades. It is up to all of us to work together to propel Scotland out of the lingering consequences of the pandemic. This will be a true team effort in which everyone has a part to play.”

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It’s On Us To Find The Entrepreneurs Of The Future

Read highlights from the Can Do Collective gathering on 11 May 2021, in conversation with internationally renowned author, speaker and enterprise facilitator, Dr. Ernesto Sirolli.

‘Entrepreneurs are made in bedrooms, not boardrooms,’ so says Dr Ernest Sirolli, the passionate founder of The Sirolli Institute, an organisation focused on finding and growing entrepreneurs from within their own communities.

‘If you go looking for entrepreneurs in your communities, you will find them. And you can teach them.’

Dr Sirolli was speaking to the Can Do Collective, a community of like-minded leaders and organisations working together to enable entrepreneurs of all kinds to flourish.

Dr Sirolli spoke passionately about his experience that successful entrepreneurs are not solely found in prestigious universities across the world. He sees this as a societal challenge we have to overcome.

He states that entrepreneurial support should be treated as a social justice issue. That everyone should have the chance to access support and services dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs of the future. He firmly believes funding should be more widely accessible, allocated to those at the heart of the community, available for local initiatives with potential.

Together the Can Do Partners considered the future of entrepreneurship and the verdict was pretty much unanimous, that properly educating Scotland’s young people in the art and science of entrepreneurship, was vital. Partners also agreed that mentoring and role modelling was key to creating a successful entrepreneurial society. Showing others the way – showing that entrepreneurs were not just found at the top universities but rather could be found in the heart of their communities.

Dr Sirolli agreed, saying that his Institute had worked with teenagers helping them to understand the entrepreneurial skills they already possessed. He acknowledged that not all students were entrepreneurs, which was fine. He shared his experience working with a group of teenagers exploring an entrepreneurial challenge.

The teenagers quickly realised they didn’t possess all the skills needed to launch and run a successful business, but they found other students within the programme who did. Dr Sirolli shared that there are three management skills needed to run a sustainable, entrepreneurial business – Product, Marketing and Finance. He demonstrated that by encouraging each of the students to work within the same skill-set groups to begin with, growing their knowledge and confidence, they were more impactful when they re-joined their skill counterparts to actually run their businesses.

Dr Sirolli then shared his view that humans have always had the capacity to be entrepreneurs. That certain individuals have the capacity to see something first and take advantage of it.

‘In fact,’ he says. ‘It was probably an entrepreneur that got us out of the caves.’

He likens this to human spirit. The passion that some individuals have to see a different future.

And he doesn’t agree that elite competitions are best placed to encourage true entrepreneurialism. ‘With competitions, we are creating eagles’ nests on top of the tallest trees, on the tallest mountains. It is unattainable for the majority. Even Steve Jobs would not have been able to enter these competitions today. We have to strive to create an environment that allows the maximum number of people to play the game. There should be no limit.’ In fact he illustrates this.

‘In the countries we have supported, every time we come into a village looking for entrepreneurial spirit, we have found it. And you should do the same. It’s up to us to find the best of the best of passionate people in our communities looking to transform their lives. It’s all on us.’

He closed by saying that in order to build a sustainable, entrepreneurial society one has to ensure a strong root system. He compared entrepreneurism to a forest. With a strong root system, a forest thrives and continues to grow naturally year after year, century after century. It doesn’t need artificial intervention.

The community is the forest.

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International Insight with Andy Stoll

Social entrepreneur & Senior Programme Officer, Andy Stoll, shares his thoughts and perspectives on entrepreneurial ecosystems and the power of friendship.

Responding to a New Era

In December 2020, Scotland Can Do Partners were honoured to be joined by Andy Stoll, Social Entrepreneur & Senior Programme Officer at the Kauffman Foundation. Andy shared his thoughts and perspectives on entrepreneurial ecosystems and the power of friendship, as we respond to a new era. Reflecting on Scotland he shared..

‘What I found so fascinating was the work that was going on across the entire country right across all of Scotland everybody working together, and how there was the grass roots bottom up and top down more government orientated, government funded work and that the bottom up and top down were coming together. I was so impressed, and I said at the time and still say that I am yet to see another sovereign state country saying we are going to do this across the entire region, in the United States we struggle with even doing it with the US states and you’re doing it across all of Scotland… I’m really impressed and inspired by what you have done.’ – Andy Stoll

Key themes covered in this talk:

  • Creating the environment for collaboration
  • Benefits of mainstreaming entrepreneurship
  • Reinforcing the Scotland Can Do vision and values

Andy Stoll wrote the Kauffman Ecosystem Playbook, leads their EShip summit and has done great work as a social entrepreneur especially in place building at Cedar Rapids.

To learn more, visit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation | Kauffman.org

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Case Studies News

The Lens & Young Enterprise Scotland Form A Collective Alliance To Recognise & Nurture Intrapreneurial Talent

Intrapreneurs from Young Enterprise Scotland, social enterprise Columba 1400 and Highland Hospice.

Steve McCreadie, Chief Executive Creator and Founder of The Lens, talks to the Collective about why collective impact, and working in collaboration with others, is helping them and the many organisations they work with to grow, thrive and make a difference.  He also shares insight into a collaboration with fellow Can Do Collective Partner Young Enterprise Scotland, plus Columba 1400 and Highland Hospice.

Collective:

The Lens is a charity built on working in collaboration with others in Scotland – internally and externally – to generate wider reach and create a bigger impact.  An approach very much aligned to the broader ambitions of the Can Do Collective.

Steve explains;

“I am absolutely confident that within every organisation lies a huge amount of hidden talent and ideas that don’t get enough attention. At The Lens, we aim to find a way to work with organisations to release that talent, put it into action on a day-to-day basis to improve people’s lives, find the best ones, and scale them up.

“The principal of intrapreneurship is acting like an entrepreneur inside a large organisation. At The Lens, we have consistently found that the people closest to the problems faced by customers often have the best solutions – but that those ideas rarely make it into reality. Intrapreneurship unlocks that potential. By developing the mindset and skills of intrapreneurs, people, teams and colleagues can become a community of change-makers that inspire and influence others to see and think differently.”

As well as nurturing talent within organisations, The Lens share the Can Do Collective’s mission that connections and collaboration can generate greater results.  Steve says,

“I think one of the beauties of Scotland is that it is a small country which can often mean people are well connected. When you work together, and in collaboration, and you work collectively you can have a much greater impact than if you were to work solely. It is also enormously inspiring to know that your efforts as a single organisation are actually aligned with others.”

Impact:

It was the concepts of both collaborative working and ‘intrapreneurship’, that led to a close alliance between The Lens and fellow Can Do Collective Partner, Young Enterprise Scotland. Steve shares a recent example of the ways in which collaboration between peers within the Can Do Collective ecosystem can lead to real results.

“Geoff Leask from Young Enterprise Scotland approached us, and we partnered to help develop ‘intrapreneurial’ and entrepreneurial behaviours in Young Enterprise Scotland. Our work at The Lens aims to help organisations drive ideas from the ground up.  Geoff and his team were inspired by this and we worked together on a tailored programme, which has led to direct impact and a genuine shift in the way that the organisation listens to and responds to its front-line employees.  They have opened communication between the board and their teams on the ground and have an open forum to allow front line staff to bring forward their ideas for consideration by the board. There’s been a fundamental change in the way the business works, and it is driving results.”

Steve continues;

“We enabled a collaboration between Young Enterprise Scotland, social enterprise Columba 1400 and Highland Hospice.  The three organisations have worked together on our bespoke programme that allows front line staff to bring their ideas forward, develop and test them.  It’s been a genuinely collaborative approach that, in Young Enterprise Scotland, led to an idea that has secured £7k investment for a prototype to develop pathways to digital careers for young women – a concept that was generated by a front-line worker.  Columba 1400 and Highland Hospice also secured investment of £8k and £5k respectively, for ideas to develop Leadership and support bereaved families. A great example of both collaborative working and intrapreneurship at play.”

Young Enterprise Scotland have now embedded this approach into their culture and have shifted their idea generation to help them achieve their mission to improve the lives of young people.

Geoff Leask comments,

“Working with Steve and his team at the Lens a couple of years ago has helped us to recognise and develop the intrapreneurial talent that we have within our wonderful team at Young Enterprise Scotland. Two years down the line we now have our own internal version of the Lens as a part of our business development planning schedule called the ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ (BHAG’s) and are developing three initiatives from the front-line delivery team that will help us to achieve our strategic ambition of ‘Enterprise for All’.”

Further Impact:

Though a charity, The Lens has grown by around 30% year on year and continues to collaborate with businesses across Scotland.  Over the past five years, The Lens has helped more than 200 entrepreneurs, secure one and a half million pounds worth of investment in their ideas – ideas that were hidden and not being acted upon.  And moving forward, they are set to help even more organisations, with the launch of a digital platform, to allow and enable entrepreneurial behaviour inside companies across Scotland.

Some of their key achievements have included helping organisations to increase innovation skills, increase engagement, increase motivation of staff, increase capacity across an organisation, and helping to find ideas that genuinely generate income and save money.

Some additional projects that The Lens have driven forward include;

  • Working collectively with Children’s Hospice Across Scotland on a transformative project to create a new community network of paediatric palliative care pharmacists across Scotland that never existed before.
  • Working with Renfrewshire Council to establish their ‘Interpretive Bank’ – an idea inspired by an employee there who remembered coming to Scotland and what it was like not being able to speak English when she was eight years old. The innovative idea brought together a team for whom English is not the first language, as interpreters. As a result, the council became more accessible to more people, provided employment opportunities and saved up to 60% of the council’s translation budget.
  • Working with Beatson Cancer Care charity intrapreneurs Lisa Stanulis & Gail Richmond, Beatson Cancer Care Charity, worked with The Lens to help them to bring to life BeCalm – personal access to guided meditation and relaxation music that helps patients to cope better with stays in hospital and enables them to take home their own relaxation toolkit.
  • Working with Alzheimer Scotland over three years, to help to deliver new ways of supporting people living with dementia.

Anyone interested in finding out more about The Lens can visit; https://www.lensperspectives.org.uk.

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Blogs News

Reflections on the Scotland CAN B Impact Economy Advisors Training

Can Do Collective Producer, Rachel Wallace, reflects on her experience as part of the first cohort of Scotland CAN B’s Impact Economy Advisors Training.

It’s almost three weeks since I finished Scotland CAN B’s Impact Economy Advisors Training alongside 15 entrepreneurial support professionals and business advisors invited to join the very first cohort. The training is designed for those who want to learn how to help the businesses they support to understand, define, measure, and improve their environmental, social and governance performance. Not being a business advisor myself, I was in a unique position aiming to:

  • Experience the training first-hand in order to actively signpost and champion it to business advisors within The Can Do Collective and;
  • Use the learning to support organisations in The Collective reflect on their own impact measurement practice at both an individual and (crucially for us) a collective level, as a growing cross-sector community of enterprise support professionals serving businesses of all kinds in Scotland.

Among the cohort were a number of organisations who belong to The Collective and align to the vision and values of the Scotland Can Do movement, including ConvergeInvesting WomenPurpose HRAAI Employability, and Tech Nation to name a few. This is a real testament to The Collective’s desire to play a leading role in building a wellbeing economy and harnessing business as a force for good.

For me, the training was extremely thought-provoking and challenging, and found myself really looking forward to the next instalment of coaching and peer-learning each week! We covered a variety of content including; connecting to the local and global context of the future of business, frameworks for impact, including the SDGs and Scotland’s NPF, and how to apply them in a business context, in-depth understanding of the broad range of impactful business models and legal structures, and using a selection of comprehensive and cutting-edge impact measurement tools.


The learning from this course and our strategic partnership with Scotland Can B will inform the Can Do Collective’s commitment to define and develop a shared measurement framework that will articulate and demonstrate their contribution to Scotland becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial, innovative and creative society.
This content was broken into 8 modules and together comprised a cyclical, comprehensive and holistic ‘Impact Journey’ of understanding, measuring, and managing social, environmental, and governance performance. The ‘Impact Journey’ methodology covers a lot of ground but is extremely accessible, providing ample opportunity to pause and dig deeper into key topics, tools and frameworks but not lose sight of how each can fit into the overall impact journey an individual, organisation or community might like to embark on.

I would warmly recommend this training to anyone who is interested in growing their impact advisory skillset. You can check out the Scotland CAN B website and join their mailing list or follow on social media to get the latest information about applying for the next cohort this summer!

For businesses looking to understand, define, measure and improve their environmental, social and governance performance, ask your business advisors if they’ve heard of this programme or have taken part, and explore the website for more information on the tools and resources available to support you on your impact measurement journey.

More about Scotland CAN B

Launched by the Scottish Government in 2018, Scotland CAN B exists to build a nationwide culture of business as a force for good in Scotland, as a catalyst for place-based systems change. It is the first nationwide programme of its kind.

Scotland CAN B is an initiative launched in partnership between the Scottish Government and B Lab (the non profit organisation behind B Corp certification) to explore what happens when you combine the entrepreneurial, innovative and business for good ambitions of one country.

Scotland CAN B is on a mission to build a nationwide culture of business as a force for good in Scotland, towards creating a wellbeing economy.

There are two strands to Scotland CAN B’s work:

  • Strand #1: Fostering an Impact Culture: Cultivating coherence and alignment in the mindset, language, tools and frameworks used to leverage business for good in Scotland.
  • Strand #2: Developing & Delivering Impact Trainings: Supporting businesses learn to measure and manage their social, environmental, and governance performance, and understand their impact towards the SDGs and Scotland’s National Performance Framework, through ‘Impact Journey’ trainings for businesses and business advisors.
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Q1 Can Do Collective Good News Roundup

Passionate about demonstrating ways in which collaborative working between Scottish businesses can help to accelerate growth and nurture entrepreneurial spirit, The Can Do Collective has been a driving force for post-COVID recovery plans across the nation in recent months.

A number of recent collaborations show just how much of an impact, businesses can have when they work together toward shared goals; we have created the blog post below, which offers just a snapshot of some of the amazing news generated by a selection of Can Do Partners in 2021.

Hazel Jane, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for Tech Nation and convener for The Can Do Collective comments;

“By working together effectively, we can dramatically increase the odds of success in our endeavour to make Scotland a Can Do nation. There has never been a more important or relevant time to drive the positive social and economic benefits generated through nurturing entrepreneurialism.”

Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) and Royal Bank of Scotland have joined forces to launch #FemaleBoss programme for Scotland’s college students

Can Do Partners Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) and Royal Bank of Scotland have joined forces to launch the #FemaleBoss programme for Scotland’s college students, to encourage and inspire more women to set up their own businesses.  The programme is being targeted at 18-30 year-olds through all further education colleges across Scotland, and is delivered through five online sessions hosted by inspiring Scottish female entrepreneurs.  The programme will also offer support through small grants, coaching, mentoring and collaboration, and hopes to spark female entrepreneurship among students impacted by a shrinking jobs market caused by COVID.

In Scotland, female-led businesses currently contribute £8.8billion to the economy and it is estimated that by helping female-led firms achieve future success, it could add a further £13bn to the local economy. Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes comments;

“It is estimated that closing the entrepreneurial gender gap could grow the Scottish economy by as much as 5%, creating around 35,000 jobs. It is time we realised that economic potential, not just for Scotland’s economic future but also so that women can reap the benefits and share the enthusiasm and excitement of taking control of their own economic future – of being the boss.”

Scottish EDGE sees record applications for its business funding competition despite pandemic

Applications to the business funding competition delivered by Can Do Partner Scottish Edge have increased by 24%, with a record 305 applications for their 17th funding round which will take place in May 2021. The increase in applications suggests a high level of activity on Scotland’s start-up scene, with female co-founders representing 57% of the applications for the current round.

The social enterprise scheme is supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Hunter Foundation, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. It was first launched in 2013 and has since awarded more than £16m in grants and loans, supporting more than 420 businesses. Sir Tom Hunter has also funded independent analysis into Scottish EDGE’s past winners. The research carried out by Ekos, found that Edge-supported businesses helped generate more than 850 jobs and a gross value added (GVA) of £67.9m.

The RSE launches funding initiative to kick-start academic research in response to pandemic

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Can Do Partner and Scotland’s national academy, has announced a new funding initiative to help tackle the impact of Covid-19. The RSE Research ‘Re-Boot (Covid-19 IMPACT) Research Grant’ – will provide financial backing for academics of up to £25,000 to restart existing research, or kick-start new work.

The fund was created to support anyone whose work has been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, and applications are particularly encouraged from one or more of the following groups: those who have taken on caring responsibilities due to Covid-19, disabled, LGBTQIA+, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and/or Early Career Researchers (ECRs). Successful applicants will not only receive financial support but will also be part of a unique peer support network enabling the sharing of experience and knowledge from RSE Fellows.

New report highlights significant benefits to Scotland’s economy and society for business-academic partnerships supported by Interface

A new report, exploring the ways in which local, national and international businesses have gained from tapping into Scotland’s universities and colleges through the matching service delivered by Can Do Partner Interface, has highlighted significant benefits to Scotland’s economy and society. Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, said:

“This report shows the significant gains right across Scotland, from the smallest community to the largest city, when innovation and ideas flourish through businesses and academic partnerships. We are in a unique position to make a real difference to all aspects of society through the connections we catalyse enabling world-leading research to be purposeful.”

The contribution to the Scottish economy from research and development projects between businesses and academics enabled by Interface, was £88.9m GVA (gross value added), and supported 1,595 jobs, with expectations to reach £222.3 million GVA and 3,193 jobs. The findings also captured the wider wellbeing and environmental benefits to society as the collaborative projects tackled major challenges such as health improvement, low carbon, community support, delivering education, helping young people, supporting international development and alleviating poverty.

Funded by The Scottish Government and supported by a dedicated team within independent charity Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation, The Can Do Collective is a connected community of enterprise support organisations and leaders on a mission to build a world-leading entrepreneurial, innovative and creative society.

If you’re a Can Do Partner, we’d love to hear from you and share your news! Get in touch and tell us your story via the contact form below.

Not a Partner and want to learn more about The Can Do Collective, head over to  https://candocollective.com/join-the-collective/

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Scotland CAN B Impact Economy Business Advisors Training

This week I am really pleased to be joining the first cohort of the CAN B Impact Economy Business Advisors Training.

It’s a four-week learning journey, specifically targeted at individuals and businesses who want to learn more about how to support, understand, define, measure and improve their environmental, social and governance performance.

Rachel Wallace – Programme Manager, Scotland Can Do

Scotland Can Do

Scotland Can B have been championing the Scotland Can Do ambition since 2018. My participation marks our team’s wider commitment to share achievements, opportunities and learnings so that every leader and organisation in the Can Do Collective has the chance to improve their contribution to building a wellbeing economy for Scotland.

Over the next few weeks, I’m looking forward to developing my understanding of good impact measurement practice and applying the learning to our context of building a community-level measurement framework with the Can Do Collective.

Perhaps most importantly, this journey will enable our team to support and foster a culture of impact across the community. It will not only accelerate our ability to understand the impact created by The Collective as a whole, but help them discover their own economic, social, environmental, and cultural impact at an individual, organisational level.

Collective Impact – why is this so important?

Because impact insight at both the community and organisational level will allow The Collective to identify and deliver on aligned outcomes, which will in turn help us prove that impact can be amplified and strengthened when parties collaborate.

I am really looking forward to getting stuck into the training and learning from others in the cohort. I’ll be sharing my takeaways with you and our Can Do Collective community on completion of the training so stay tuned!