Passionate about demonstrating how collaborative working between Scottish businesses can help to accelerate growth and nurture entrepreneurial spirit, The Can Do Collective continues to be a driving force as Scotland relaxes many of its COVID-19 restrictions and focuses on economic growth.
Once again collaborations involving our partners as well as other organisations and individuals are making an immense impact on the wider business community. Scotland has endured significant challenges over the past 18 months but by working together, sharing ideas and innovation we are showing greater strength and resilience in our ability to progress our economy and collective wellbeing.
Hazel Jane, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for Tech Nation and Convener for The Can Do Collective comments; “Once again the great work of our partners is contributing to making Scotland a Can Do nation. As we emerge from what we hope will be the worst of the pandemic and set our sights on rebuilding a strong, resilient economy, it’s fantastic to see more collaborative initiatives that are delivering social and economic benefits through entrepreneurialism.”
Can Do Partners appointed to new Scottish Government economic transformation body
A number of Can Do Collective partner organisations are represented on the newly appointed Scottish Government Advisory Council, a body which will focus on delivering economic transformation across Scotland by maximising its full entrepreneurial potential.
Sean McGrath, CEO of Entrepreneurial Scotland; Jackie Brierton, CEO of GrowBizScotland; Lynne Cadenhead, Chair of Women’s Enterprise Scotland; Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow and his colleague Professor Graeme Roy, the university’s Dean of External Engagement have all been named to the new body. They join a number of leading entrepreneurial, business, and academic figures including Chris van der Kuyl, Founder, owner and chairman of 4J Studios; Dame Sharon White, Chair of John Lewis Partnership; Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College London; and Cllr John Alexander, Chair of Scottish Cities Alliance and Leader of Dundee Council.
The Advisory Council supports an ambitious 10 year National Strategy to drive Scotland’s economic transformation as the country recovers from COVID-19 and transitions to a net zero economy. Advisory Council appointees will help shape this strategy, which is expected to publish late autumn. Drawing on their extensive experience and contacts, members will use their insight to bring forward bold ideas that will transform the economy. People across Scotland are also being encouraged to share their views on how the country can work together to deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity.
The new body is chaired by Economy Secretary Kate Forbes MSP. She said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, we must work together to seize Scotland’s potential and build an economy for everyone by delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.
“The pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in sectors such as retail, and changed the way many businesses operate with more online trading and remote working. We need to build on these innovations and guide our economy to the industries and opportunities of the future.
“I want to thank the members of the council for agreeing to play such a crucial role in the development of our bold and ambitions 10 year economic strategy. Starting work to deliver this key strategy was a 100 day commitment of this Scottish Government and I am delighted we have been able to secure the support of so many leading experts.”
Glasgow collaboration produces innovative eco enterprise ideas
Can Do Partners The Melting Pot and Glasgow Caledonian University, working in collaboration with Glasgow City Council, have just completed their Nature-Based Enterprise accelerator programme, the first of its kind.
The partnership programme, which demonstrates an ideal model for collective working, kicked off earlier this year bringing together Glasgow City Council’s Connecting Nature project with The Melting Pot’s Good Ideas programme. With additional support provided by Glasgow Caledonian University, the Glasgow City Council’s Centre for Civic Innovation was formed to develop what has become Scotland’s first nature-based accelerator pilot programme.
The aim of the pilot was to support a number of Glasgow-based entrepreneurs who were keen to use nature as part of a product or service that would also support the aims of the Council’s recently adopted Open Space Strategy (OSS). The OSS seeks to enhance Glasgow as a place in which to live, work, and invest by improving health and wellbeing of the city’s residents as well as its flora and fauna and to enhance its resilience in addressing environment-related issues such as climate change.
The Nature-Based Enterprise accelerator programme was a major success. The programme was overwhelmed with applications which produced a huge range of innovative enterprise ideas including food growing and supply projects, eco-tourism, nature-based arts and culture, educational activities, and sustainable floristry.
The partners will be staging their Nature-Based Enterprise Launch on 2 September where they will showcase how the programme has been encouraging more local and resilient nature-based economies, to create more green jobs, and help Glasgow achieve its net-zero targets. The virtual event will also allow participants to pitch their ideas and will provide a platform to connect directly with the group to explore future opportunities or potential partnerships. More details can be found here
Edinburgh Innovations AI Accelerator returns
An accelerator programme run by Can Do Collective partners Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s dedicated business service provision, has once again reopened to support ambitious AI (artificial intelligence) start-ups.
The AI Accelerator aims to help emerging companies developing this innovative form of technology to maximise their entrepreneurial ambitions. Following its latest round of applications which closed in early August, the programme will start on the 22nd September 2021 and run until March 2022. It offers a tailored support package for AI scaleups from across the globe providing access to the University of Edinburgh’s top academic and commercial expertise, a dedicated Accelerator Manager, and 1-2-1 support. Companies involved in the programme can also access a grant to fuel their growth.
In last year’s AI Accelerator, a five-month programme based at the Bayes Centre, 15 trailblazing companies successfully secured £6.27m in investment. Among those who took part and secured international recognition from the programme were BioLiberty, Neeuro, Reath, and MyWay Digital Health.
Exploring the ‘Art of Possible’ in Business Innovation
Early this summer the Art of Possible event series made a welcome return, staging two successful events in June and July, Business by Design and Leading Change in the Digital Age.
Business by Design featured a panel of diverse creative leaders – from the Royal Shakespeare Company and UWS to Iso Design and Dimension Studio – who are leading the adoption of next generation immersive and interactive technologies across a range of areas including entertainment, fashion, marketing, healthcare and more. An interesting discussion ensued on how the disruption caused by COVID-19 has provided a springboard for the mainstreaming of human-centric, immersive technologies across businesses of all sizes – from start-ups to the tech giants – enabling new possibilities and experiences for customers and employees alike.
Meanwhile, Leading Change in the Digital Age, explored how leadership and mindset are critical for creating the right conditions to grow a thriving business of inspired people, empowered by tech. The session heard from digital transformation experts This is Milk and case study insights on GAP Group’s pioneering app supporting workforce mental health and the tech-enabled transformation of ACS Clothing into a circular fashion enterprise.
A common theme emerging from both events was the critical need for leadership and human innovation (embracing diverse minds, multiple disciplines and collaboration) combined with the right tech, to enable the realisation of new and enduring solutions impacting people, planet and the bottom line.
The next event on 26 August will feature LEGO, the V&A Dundee and leading SMEs to discuss design thinking as a lens to solve business challenges in human centred and innovative ways. Curated specifically for ‘innovation-ready’ and the ‘innovation-curious’ SMEs, this year’s Art of Possible will spotlight experts (from Scotland and beyond) leading purposefully and harnessing digital tech across different business dimensions – from financing to workforce creativity – to build resilience and reimagine their future.
Speaking about the Art of Possible series for 2021/22, Dr Susie Mitchell programme director of Glasgow City of Science and Innovation said: “We’re delighted to be delivering our feeder series for the Can Do innovation Summit, Art of Possible, for the 5th year running. Connecting innovators, entrepreneurs and knowledge experts, we want to curate a friendly and informal space that inspires and supports greater tech adoption and collaborative innovation in SMEs to enable business survival, resilience and growth. The evaluation of our last series showed that 80% of our attendees said it would make them think about collaborating on enabling tech and 70% made useful business connections that would be followed up. Art of Possible feeder events have reached 900 attendees over the last two years.”
About The Can Do Collective
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.
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