Can Do Collabs News

It’s been a busy few weeks for our Can Do Collabs! From engaging with Scottish Government Ministers, to participating in COP26, and hosting community events, there’s been lots to keep up-to-date on and celebrate! We thought we’d take the opportunity to share a little bit of background on Collabs for those less familiar with them, as well as share a summary of current activity and progress! 


The Collective has been wrestling with a big question: “How can we support more Can Do partners, from diverse spheres of influence, to actively and effectively work together to positively impact Scotland’s entrepreneurial landscape?” In 2020, we set out to tackle this challenge, by developing Collabs and turning good will and intent into action, through offering interested Partners training in practical innovation tools and methodologies to support collaboration. 

Inspired by the Collective Impact methodology, Collabs are working groups that enable actors from different worlds to collaborate around common themes, to proactively address issues their communities are grappling with. They involve and engage both those who can impact, and will be impacted by, the outcomes. Designed to increase the odds of success and amplify positive impact, Collabs provide a structure to bring forward solutions for issues which prevent growth for Scotland, through the sharing of knowledge, expertise, research, and best practice.  

What outcomes would we like to see as a result of Collabs? 

  • Practical business tools and solutions to address key challenges 
  • Harnessing the intellectual capital of Collective 
  • Suggestions for positive policy change 
  • Improving business confidence and resilience 
  • Honest and clear answers regarding barriers to policy or funding 

What’s New?

There are three active Collabs that are working together and supporting continuous communications between Partners and The Scottish Government, through a series of Ministerial roundtables.  In October the Collab Chairs had the opportunity to meet with Mr Ivan McKee, Scottish Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, to strengthen the spirit of collaboration between them, while raising awareness of the potential for Collabs to deliver real benefits for Scotland. They also explored how Collabs could support the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. 

Green Economy: Supporting entrepreneurial businesses in the drive for a greener, more sustainable, net-zero economy. Co-Chaired by Kirsty Black, Arbikie Highlands Estate & Josiah Lockhart, Firstport 

What have they been up to? 

  • Gathering market research about climate action within Scottish businesses, results from which will help evidence support and investment needed in the sector. It will also shape the direction of travel for the Collabs as they champion sustainable practices in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can complete and share the survey here 
  • Collab member, Jo Chidley, Founder of Beauty Kitchen has teamed up with others to present ICE Hub Glasgow during COP26 and beyond, as a collaborative space to connect delegates, business leaders, policy makers and the public around climate solutions.  
  • Presenting updates and sharing ambitions at Can Do Collective’s quarterly gathering this month before having a deeper dive roundtable with Ministers early next year. 

Youth & Next Generation: Supporting the next generation of talent into ‘good’ jobs through engagement with Scotland’s entrepreneurial businesses, whether in those businesses or by creating their own. Chaired by Geoff Leask, Young Enterprise Scotland 

What have they been up to? 

  • Following October’s roundtable, the Youth and Next Generation Collab went on to engage with Mr Jamie Hepburn, Scottish Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training. Convened by Colin Cook, Director for Economic Development, Scottish Government, the Collab shared their recommendations to bring parity of esteem for the next generation of talent as they plan their entrepreneurial future, by outlining and discussing the challenges and opportunities for youth enterprise. They’re now following up with next steps. 

Scale up: Supporting better quality and number of scale-ups in Scotland. Chaired by Sandy Kennedy, IGS Limited 

What have they been up to? 

  • Building on the foundations laid by the Logan Report, the Collective Impact methodology, and ongoing Scale research work over the past 3 years, the Collab successfully hosted a series of six summer workshops with a range of stakeholders. The aim was to gain input for a Scottish Government commissioned report that will set out a shared, systems method to supporting Scottish scale up businesses. 
  • In November, the Collab hosted a virtual event and welcomed wider input and comments from The Collective, to enrich the drafted Scale Up Ecosystem Report. 
  • Hosted Saltire Scholar, Allyson Smith, to support the delivery of the workshops and develop international comparisons research, which will be featured in the report.  
  • The final report is to be completed later this month, before it’s publicly available. 

What’s Next? 

We hope to bring you more information into the new year about opportunities to get involved with the existing and new Collabs. For now here are a few ways you can engage with the work of the Collabs and follow their journey: 

We’d love to hear from you if you have ideas on issues/subjects which would warrant the focus of a new Collab. Drop us a line via