Blogs Case Studies

How Do Users, Communities and Regions Benefit from Coworking Spaces?

Written by Dr Seemab Farooqi and Dr Stephen Knox

There are undoubtedly various benefits users can gain from coworking spaces, including the sense of community, social networking, cost reduction, sharing of services, spaces and knowledge, and new business opportunities that are made available.

However, our participants ranked social and community aspects as the two main key benefits attracting users to such spaces. A crucial role of coworking spaces is to create the right environment and allow social interactions and collaborations emerge in a natural form, a point shared by David McBeth from Glasgow Collective. Kendra, business engagement and communications manager at Bright Red Triangle (Edinburgh Napier University), further adding to the debate, shared how post pandemic they facilitated an introduction to create such an environment where new members get to know each other, interact and develop relationships, and have those water cooler chats where they can talk about their challenges and request feedback: “they’re craving that element where they come into the space, and can stop for a moment and take a break and connect with someone. But it’s also we’re seeing a lot of people are understanding the different businesses that are in the space and they’re asking them for specific feedback.” The way in which people interact in those spaces is based on the fact that they might have diverse experiences and come from different backgrounds, but despite that, they still all have one thing common: an entrepreneurial mindset and shared experiences. Simon, Abertay University, further added, elaborating the idea of sharing a “similar mindset’ and why people interact: “because of that shared experience, the things they talk about are different and it’s not like in their social circles. So, then they can talk about the support that they require. They can talk about the challenges they’re facing, and they know they’re doing it with an audience that gets it.”  So, what is it specifically about the coworking space that helps create this sense of community? It could be having conversations, making those connections or the networking opportunities, finding a place to not just to work, but to sort of socialize professionally. However, there was a mutual agreement that all of this requires coworking spaces to provide facilitated interactions, otherwise people will question why they should participate if there was no community feel.

Reduced isolation was another major perk for users, a point where all our participants agreed. However, this was linked to increased level of engagement. Kendra and Kirsty further added that increased engagement helps in reducing stress.  “I think there’s an element of reduced stress where you’re having a conversation and you’re seeing that people are facing the same challenges and you’re not like face in a silo, so it like builds on that kind of isolation. Otherwise, you would be in your own silo, which is kind of battling with a challenge that kind of reduces the stress.”, a point supported by Kendra.

Coworking spaces acknowledge that their role in facilitating social interaction events boosts engagement. Arranging a mix of social events, both formal and informal, reduces isolation and encourages interactions and building networks. Kirsty, CEO of Circle, also mentioned: “We have monthly socials and I think it just encourages tenants to get to know each other and just have conversations. And I think that helps build relationships.” This highlights the value of pooling of resources through collaborations: “We had an event yesterday actually and a number of our tenants talked about the relationships that they’ve built with organizations for things such as volunteer sharing, work experience and people through different programs collaboratively. If they’d been in isolation, perhaps in different office spaces, they wouldn’t have been able to do this. So that was quite interesting to hear.” Simultaneously, there was a caution offered by our participants with regard to how those relationships need to be developed.  Caroline from Social Enterprise, said, “They should come organically through the social interactions and the conversations that you’re having.”

Furthermore, Kendra stated: “I think it’s incredibly important for our space to provide access to resources. Particularly we get a lot of students or people that are just first starting their businesses and are at the ideation phase. So for them to have access to business advice is really important. And a lot of alumni return specifically just for that resource. So they’re actually not needing the co-working physical space element.”

Like we said earlier, coworking spaces help make resources and connections more available, however, the landscape of these spaces, in terms of whether it is run as a social enterprise or as a private space, can be a significant factor to determine just how accessible such resources are. David, who runs a private coworking space, discussed his own experiences and difficulties to house those resources: “If you’re connected to a university or a funded social enterprise or etc., you can do these things. If you’re in private working space, then it’s a bit different landscape, and if you’re a private company, then you don’t get access to those same resources.”

Nonetheless, it’s more about how these resources are brought in and accessed by the users. Simon, further added to the debate: “…the bit about resources is the fact that sometimes it’s not actually about bringing those other organisations in, but about the information that’s shared from within the founders themselves. So, the business advice might not come from the fact that they’ve brought in a funder or something to talk to the group as a collective. It’s actually about the conversations individuals have within the space. It’s more about the experience and creation of a community, rather than bringing in an individual or organisation to talk to them to say, “here’s things that we’re doing.” This brings in the value of serendipitous knowledge and peer networking offered by coworking spaces!

Whether sector specific or generic, it all comes down to what outcome coworking spaces are striving for, for instance, are they trying to grow particular sectors or general business? All of this impacts the way these spaces’ function and the benefits they offer to the users!

Read this insightful infographic with all of the findings above here:

To learn more, contact: Dr Seemab Farooqi (  and Dr Stephen Knox (


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

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:

Blogs News

Scotland Can Do Partners join cohort #2 of Resilient Leadership Catalyst

Resilient Leadership: What we ‘Can Do Collective’-ly

In November 2021, we were delighted to offer 10 Collective partners the opportunity to join the first cohort of the Can Do Resilient Leadership Catalyst, in partnership with Entrepreneurial Scotland and Babson College. This interactive, educational programme was designed for members of the Collective who were ready to use their influence in leadership roles to amplify impact and positively influence their organisations, the entrepreneurial ecosystem and Scotland. The programme takes place across two cohorts – November 2021 and March 2022.

Today, we are pleased to announce that 9 Can Do Collective partners will be joining the second cohort of the Catalyst Resilient Leadership Programme. This programme is an excellent opportunity for our partners to understand and utilise their role as a leader within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and where they can connect and interact with likeminded individuals within the Can Do Collective community.

The fully-funded programme features webinars led by Babson College, where participants are taught the fundamental concepts, methods and tools of resilient leadership; including how to find resilience in your daily routine and build a culture that supports high performing, resilient teams. The cohort are encouraged to deconstruct, apply and embed the learning within their own leadership, unlocking the potential of their organisation and the Collective. Taking place over three months, the Resilient Leadership Catalyst will be a combination of self-guided and structured education, including individual assignments, group work, discussion groups and case studies.

Meet the 2022 Can Do Cohort:

Andrew Barrie, Founder, Community Lab

Janet Black, Director of Operations, Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation

Jo Chidley, Founder, Beauty Kitchen

Tom Craig, Senior Policy Executive, Scottish Government

Lyndsey Dougan, Geovation Scotland Delivery Lead, Geovation Scotland

Fiona Godsman, SME Strategy Specialist, Board Member, EIT Food/GCC

Susan Harkins, Head Of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, SOSE

Julie Nairn, Membership Officer, Association of Scottish Businesswomen

Michaela Turner, Enterprise Executive, Edinburgh Innovations

We hope that our Collective members enjoy their time over the three months, and it is great to share their excitement:

“I was over the moon to be accepted onto the programme and I am looking forward to being part of a great group of people who also want to learn more and challenge themselves.

Entrepreneurial Leadership is a really interesting subject and being part of this cohort will give me the opportunity to develop my skills in this area, and then share these skills in my role within SOSE.

The link to Babson College is also fantastic, it is the No. 1 school for entrepreneurship in the world for the past 25 years – and sets high expectations for participant engagement.” – Susan Harkins, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, SOSE (2022 participant)

“It was exciting to meet my fellow participants and to learn a bit more about what they do, where they’re at and why exactly they wanted to take part. For myself, I was in entrepreneurship policy for eight years, during which time I got to know Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem VERY well.  Certainly part of my reason for taking part is that I want to maintain that connection, and keep it fresh, so that I can use my network to benefit my current role in advanced manufacturing policy.  And any subsequent roles I may assume.” – Tom Craig, Senior Policy Executive, Scottish Government (2022 Participant)

Are you a leader keen to put collaboration at the heart of entrepreneurship in Scotland? Visit our Partnership page to find out more and join the Collective.

Blogs News

Welcome Q+A with our new Digital Marketing Co-ordinator, Meghan McKee

Welcome to the Can Do Team Meghan, we’re delighted to have you! Tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Meghan, and I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Scotland Can Do team as the Digital Marketing Coordinator. I graduated in 2020 with a degree in English and Acting, which was where I developed my passion for content creation, Marketing, and Copywriting.

I try to be a jack-of -all-trades when it come to creativity and I love to try new things, which is excellent for Marketing.

Since graduating I have gained experience in broadcasting, writing, and digital marketing, and I love putting these skills to good use.

What was it that attracted you to working with Can Do?

The entrepreneurial ecosystem is something that I suddenly found myself in the middle of during the pandemic where I worked alongside some talented start-up and scale-up business owners. I truly got the sense that Scotland is abundant with incredible talent and that we should be recognised for that.

Having previously worked for a small business as their Digital Marketer, I got to grips with how much goes on behind the scenes for both the businesses themselves, and the organisations that help them.

This role came at the most perfect time for me, and I was over the moon when I got the job as I knew that so many amazing things happen within Scotland Can Do and Entrepreneurial Scotland.

What are you looking forward to the most about your role?

I cannot wait to just start sharing all the fantastic news and stories that come from members of the Can Do Collective. It is so exciting to see all the brilliant work that they do and I am very privileged to have a role where I can really showcase how innovate Scotland is.  I am also so excited to share the passion of the organisation outwardly in whatever way I can as that is something I find so inspirational and highly beneficial to Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Just for fun: What’s your coffee order and favourite café?

I am super boring when it comes to coffee… I love a soya latte or if I am really needing a caffeine hit, I’ll opt for an americano.

I absolutely love Portobello, so if I find myself strolling along the prom, I’ll most definitely end up in Miro’s café.

Have a question or want to connect with Meghan? Get in touch at

Blogs News

Welcome Q&A with Nicola Smith, SCQF

New Can Do Partner, Nicola Smith, Development Officer at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership (SCQF), joins us to discuss her role within the organisation and her passion for collective impact….

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

I am the Development Officer responsible for employer engagement at the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Partnership.  I help organisations make their recruitment as wide and inclusive as possible by increasing their understanding of the range of alternative qualifications being taken across Scotland and beyond, and of the skills and experience people may have developed that are comparable to these qualifications. 

About Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership?

The SCQF is Scotland’s national qualifications framework and provides a way of recognising, describing and comparing the difficulty and notional time taken to achieve of a whole range of qualifications and learning programmes.  In addition to mainstream qualifications, the SCQF also contains vocational and skills-based qualifications, and learning programmes developed and delivered in the workplace or community. 

What motivated you to become a Scotland Can Do Partner?

I love the idea of collaboration for collective impact.  If we all work together then we can achieve far greater things than we can by ourselves.

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

By properly recognising the wide range of skills and abilities that we all have, we can make sure that everyone can reach their full potential, and play a part in Scotland’s success.

Just for fun… What is the most true stereotype of Scottish people or Scotland?

I love that fact that Scottish people are generally very friendly and will talk to anyone.  I have had some amazing conversations on the bus with complete strangers.

If you would like help to make your recruitment as inclusive as possible by understanding the range of alternative qualifications available in Scotland, visit SQCF or email:


Dr. Seemab Farooqi, University of Dundee School of Business

Introducing new Can Do Partner Dr. Seemab Farooqi, Professor of HR & Entrepreneurship at the University of Dundee….

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

I have always been interested in engaging with the public sector. Before joining academia I worked with the Canadian International Development Agency and while I was there, I was engaged in their capacity building workshops, across multiple local councils. It was interacting with public servants, and local councillors, that gave me the inspiration to work on examining how public services are delivered and the role of frontline bureaucracy in policy making.

That is where my journey in academia started, at Stirling University. I did my PhD in Public Sector Management there and worked with some fantastic people. Then I moved to Loughborough University, because I was thinking of moving my family to England. However, I missed Scotland too much.

I came back to Scotland and started working within Dundee university. I was inspired by its focus on transforming lives and making an impact. I worked in the corporate sector before joining academia but it never gave me the satisfaction, the way working in academia gives me.

About your role at the University of Dundee?

I’m a Human Resource Management lecturer, however, I also teach entrepreneurship at postgraduate level. My research interests are in contemporary Public Policy Management reforms, strategy, gender and entrepreneurship. I also teach change management at the university with the third year and fourth year undergraduate students. And I’m the equality, diversity and inclusion coordinator for the Business School.

We really want to make the Business School a more inclusive place. For example, we have proposed to run a webinar panel discussion on digitalization and the issues associated with equality, diversity and inclusion. We have proposed to the search committee that we should run this seminar and invite fintechs from developing countries like Pakistan, and fintechs from Scotland. We also have proposed to invite policymakers and various agencies and academics from within UK and EU. Because the whole idea of this panel discussion is to help all these players network with each other, creating the connections between academics and industry.

What motivated you to become a Scotland Can Do Partner?

I came to know about the Can Do because I met Tom Craig, who works in the Enterprise Team at The Scottish Government. I attended an impact series seminar he was talking at, sharing how academics can engage with the civil servants and people who are in the government. I was doing a research paper on Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem so we talked about the Collective and Can Do Places. He then introduced me to Ian Scott and invited me to the last Can Do Collective Meeting and I was really impressed that the Collective is actively trying to connect different people together and provide them a platform to have a conversation and collaborate. I think in order to make research more meaningful; you need to work with other people, people who are engaged in various activities, I think that is the key. You are doing fantastic work.

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

At the moment I am carrying out research on the role of entrepreneurial support organisation’s during this Covid 19 crisis and how this has impacted social enterprises. I would like to share that research with Can Do Partners and also learn from others, how things are happening at the ground level? I think that’s how you can make an impact and make your research more meaningful, it’s just not just publishing it in a journal.

I’m also going to be researching to what extent Can Do Places has made an impact on local communities to promote entrepreneurship.

Just for fun… What is your go to coffee order/favourite coffee spot?

I like black coffee, with milk. There is a coffee bothy here in Stirling and it’s also a farmhouse. So that’s my favourite place to go and enjoy my cup of coffee. I don’t want to sit inside a shop. I like to sit and enjoy the outside and see what’s happening, I like to see happy faces.

Blogs News

Katy Brown, Co-Founder of Skylark Works

Introducing new Partner Skylark Works ….

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

I’m the co-founder and MD of purpose-led consultancy Skylark Works. I’m a committee member for Philanthropy Impact, supporting the growth of philanthropy and social investment across the UK and Europe. I’m also a crisis volunteer with Shout, the UK’s crisis text service, and a volunteer management consultant with Inspiring Scotland and The Cranfield Trust.

I’m passionate about purposeful work, social impact and impact investing. And I’m always looking to use my experience to connect the commercial world with meaningful purpose and genuine impact.

About Skylark Works:

In a nutshell we help businesses do good and charities do business. We’re a purpose-led consultancy and Oxford University spin-out offering:

  • Philanthropy and social impact advice for businesses and HNWIs
  • Strategic planning, delivery support and coaching for charities and social ventures

What motivated you to become a Scotland Can Do Partner?

I think it’s time to rethink growth. Business is no longer just about profit but about how we help our people and planet too. The Covid crisis, the climate emergency and social inequality are profound and pressing problems that can only be solved if we harness the huge potential of entrepreneurs, innovation and enterprise. It’s about leading on purpose, focusing on sustainability and delivering on impact. The need to do this is unavoidable and urgent. Together, we can help make it happen.

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

Our goal is to support businesses, social enterprises and charities to be more effective, resilient and sustainable – and in doing so, to make an even greater impact. We always try to bring together diverse perspectives and voices from across sectors to think about things differently and find innovative solutions. We hope that through our support, we can play a small part in helping to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial culture here in Scotland.

If you would like help to deliver real social impact, find out more about Skylark Works.

Just for fun …. What is the most true stereotype of Scottish people or Scotland?

They’re a friendly bunch! And I’m not sure you’d find macaroni pies south of the border…

Blogs News

Can Do Community reports more progress as Scotland continues to transition to a brighter, post-COVID future

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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Blogs News

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.”