Categories
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: hello@cando.scot

Categories
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: hello@cando.scot

Categories
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: https://yes.org.uk/index.php or follow their various social media channels:

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

Categories
Case Studies

WES: EMPOWERING THE ECONOMY

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: https://womensbusinesscentre.com/

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: https://www.wescotland.co.uk/awards2022

To learn more about WES, check out their website: https://www.wescotland.co.uk/

Read the WES Manifesto: https://52d82f74-5f75-48d7-8f80-019e7dcc45ce.usrfiles.com/ugd/52d82f_ebb2f04185e04124b27594561ef90350.pdf

Find out more about 10 years of WES: https://www.wescotland.co.uk/10yearsofwes

[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!

Categories
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.

Categories
Case Studies News

Can Do Partners collaborate to deliver online Inclusion & Awareness workshops

Introduction: Stephanie Anderson works at Scottish Enterprise (SE) as a Project Manager for Entrepreneurial & Ecosystem Development. Working on everything from infrastructure and large development projects to casual business advice and supporting sectors with international opportunities, SE supports economic development plans across the central belt and the Northeast of Scotland.

Stephanie and her team work with company founders and businesses to develop their entrepreneurial and leadership skills, supporting them to build successful companies of scale. As part of their remit, they were responsible for the delivery of a series of Inclusion Awareness Workshops in March 2021.

Collective: Scottish Enterprise procured several business support organisations in January and February, to support the successful delivery of the workshops. They appointed three partners who each believe in the Scotland Can Do mission: AAI Employability; Tree of Knowledge; and Social Investment Scotland, all of which came together to form the series.

Falling under the overarching umbrella of Inclusion and Awareness, the eight half-day online interactive workshops were centred around various topics to help entrepreneurs and leaders increase their knowledge, understanding and skills around inclusion, diversity, equality and sustainable business practices.

Working together to support one another with complementary skill sets and areas of expertise, AAI Employability, Tree of Knowledge, and Social Investment Scotland collaborated to deliver the sessions about impactful entrepreneurship and how to use business for good.

The sessions created a safe space for people who genuinely wanted to make changes for the better within their business with themes ranging from disability and neurodiversity in the workplace; inclusive leadership; inclusive recruitment; purpose; resilience and personal impact to ways in which attendees could improve their leadership skills.

Stephanie Anderson comments:

“This project was delivered on quite a tight time scale, but we didn’t need to do a lot of prep work for it because our partners completely understood what we were working to achieve. We were all ultimately looking to achieve the same outcomes and, by working together, we were not only successful but we were also able to amplify it to a much wider audience.”

“In terms of being more inclusive, if we were just promoting this around the Scottish Enterprise network, we wouldn’t have been able to provide this opportunity to everyone in Scotland. When AAI and Social Investment Scotland put it out to their network, we connected with completely different pools of talent and businesses. This approach gave us the opportunity to engage with different audiences that might not have worked with Scottish Enterprise in the past.”

Impact: Stephanie continues,

“Generally the businesses who attended the workshops had between £50k and £500k turnover, however, to ensure we were more inclusive, we opened these up to everyone on a first come first serve basis. There was a real mix of attendees, and we used the sessions to pilot the demand out there in Scotland, especially since the pandemic.

“We also opened them up to companies that had staff on furlough creating an opportunity for them to keep their knowledge up to speed. The response was overwhelming and the feedback that we have received so far has been amazing. We asked people to list their top three takeaways and highlight whether there were specific things they were going to change or embed in their business following the sessions.”

“I think that the more that Scottish businesses are aware of diversity and inclusion issues – which some will have never dealt with before – the better armed they will be with information and the more confident they will be about what makes a good business.

“Just learning what these mean in practice will support business owners in creating a fairer, welcoming society. That is not just government-speak – it needs to be threaded through every business. If this culture is built-in as they grow, that is going to have a huge impact. If all these young companies can shape themselves with a business model which puts fairness and equality at its core, that will provide a great springboard for growth.

“In terms of the wider impact, we are hoping to see more diverse teams with people from different backgrounds being employed within businesses. That will lead to more innovative businesses in Scotland, with faster growth potential and better economic performance. While achieving this ultimate ambition is further down the line, these are small changes that will lead to greater innovation.”

Kieran Daly, Head of Market Building at Social Investment Scotland, feels this project established a strong platform for future partnership work with Scottish Enterprise. He commented:

“Our organisation offers investment, courses and business support to charities, social enterprises and mission-led businesses.

“This collaboration with Scottish Enterprises enabled us to support mission-led businesses and the wider business community to explore the relationship between investment and investee, as well as the range of debt and equity products in the market. Central to this was exploring the multiple benefits of environment, social and governance-driven investment, and how investing ethically can increase profitability. Looking at start up and scale up investment, we explored how to make approached to investors and ensure businesses find the right investors to suit their long-term strategy.”

Nick Murray, Enterprise Engagement Lead at AAI Employability, also highlighted the benefits of the collective approach to this project, saying:

“The most powerful thing about this collaboration was the genuine buy-in from Scottish Enterprise to allow those closest to these inclusive business practices to deliver things in their own way. Projects like this not only empower the businesses who attend, but also strengthens trust and transparency within the Scottish business ecosystem.

“AAI delivered six out of the eight events in this series, covering topics including neurodiversity in the workplace, cultural competency and ethical recruitment. We made a conscious effort to target businesses outside of our ‘purpose-driven echo chamber’, and were delighted to be oversubscribed for all of our workshops, with excellent feedback from those who attended.”

Gavin Oattes, Managing Director of Tree of Knowledge added his thoughts on the value of collaboration in the project, saying:

“The way we work is changing and bringing people together to collaborate on this project successfully blended many different experiences, skills and ideas in order to truly make a difference and inspire all those taking part.

“I wish I had the opportunity to take part in this type of project when I was starting out in business.”

Social Enterprise is looking to deliver further workshop sessions over the coming months. For the latest news and updates on upcoming sessions follow them on Twitter, Linked In, Instagram or Facebook.

To find out more about the support AAI EmployAbility, Tree of Knowledge and Social Investment Scotland can offer, visit their websites below:

Categories
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.

Categories
Case Studies News

Can Do Collective Celebrates Resilient Business Pioneers of 2020

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on businesses across Scotland. For many it has meant they have had to evolve and adapt their products and services, and support for their wider business community, in new and different ways.

For the Can Do Collective, it has meant taking all of their events online, however an online and virtual approach has allowed the Collective to increase their events programme from five events in 2019, to more than 33 virtual events and gatherings in 2020. They are also concluding the year celebrating a 25 per cent increase in community size.

Rachael Brown, Can Do Collective Convener and CEO, The Future Economy Company explains;

“We’ve seen many examples of how the Scottish business community has stepped up to provide a flexible, fast and appropriate response to individuals in need this year.  Business support communities have removed subscriptions and paywalls, more events and conferences have moved online and there has been a marked increase in the frequency of events.

“In times like these, community and peer to peer support is so vital.  Now more than ever, there’s an opportunity for businesses to really show their human side, to come together in trust and credibility.  We’ve been truly encouraged by the sense of community spirit, entrepreneurialism, agility and creativity we’ve witnessed and the willing to work collaboratively for the greater good.”

A number of businesses have shown great strength, resilience, agility and entrepreneurial spirit in the face of Covid-19 and have continued to support their respective business communities in challenging times.  One of the virtual events that the Can Do Collective has initiated as part of their new virtual events programme, is the Partner Spotlight webinar series, which has seen business leaders from around Scotland share their leadership journey and advice for drawing on community, creativity and resilience.  Here, some of them share their journey through 2020.

Social Investment Scotland:

One of those leaders is Alastair Davis, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland (SIS) – the leading social enterprise whose aim is to help social enterprises to scale and grow their business.  He explains;

“The global pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we all work.  Back in March, there was a realisation that Covid-19 was going to have a significant impact.  So as a team, we quickly started to think about ways to support our community.  We wanted to go out to them and say, ‘we’re here to support you’.  Organisations really appreciated that proactive, calm approach.  We were there from the start offering help, support and advice.  I’m really proud of that, and indeed the ways it has continued throughout the rest of this year.

“This year’s events have also shown us the energy that can be created when you work quickly, collaboratively, and responsively.  It has actually driven us to accelerate many of our plans and strategies, and we have been able to design, develop and launch things really quickly.  That’s certainly something I’d like to hold onto as we look post pandemic.

“It’s also taught us the value of investing in relationships and collaborations.  It’s so important to build communities like that created by the Can Do Collective that are supportive, curious and helpful.  Now more than ever, trust, credibility and collaboration are vital and will allow us to bounce back post pandemic, in whatever way that means for different businesses.”

Interface:

Interface is an organisation that connects businesses with academics.  Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director, of Interface, explains the ways they have adapted to support their community through the global pandemic;

“A huge part of our work is about keeping in touch with businesses to understand the difference we are making, and the ways in which we can continue to support them further.  

“That put us in a strong position to be able to proactively support our community.  We were immediately helping to address challenges faced by the businesses we work with.  Many of them had to look at adapting their existing products, and many had to look at creating new products.  

“Proactive but empathetic has been our approach in helping businesses navigate through the pandemic, and also look ahead to recovery and green shoots.

“We’ve also been hugely excited about some of the new things we’ve been able to do.  For example, we’ve developed a campaign around ‘Adopt a business’.  We asked our academic community about ways they could help the tourism and hospitality industry, practically, as they start to think about  restarting and recovery.  We were overwhelmed by the interest from universities to offer practical help.  Working with VisitScotland and Scottish Tourism Alliance , we then had over 80 businesses keen to work with academia.  It’s a programme we’ve been able to launch and establish really rapidly but has also been brand new for us.

“We know the next few months are not going to be easy, but collectively, we in Scotland have an opportunity to come together to bring energy to the economic recovery and ensure we continue to build networks to nurture and support.  Support groups and organisations like the Can Do Collective are vital for us all to continue to seek knowledge, ask for help from others, and support one another.”

Scottish Edge:

A business that has been involved with the Can Do Collective since its inception, Evelyn McDonald, Chief Executive of Scottish Edge, The UK’s Biggest Business Funding Competition discusses ways in which their business has had to shift and evolve;

“I’ll admit, I found the initial few weeks after lockdown began in March, extremely challenging.  We had launched a competition at the end of January, and at the beginning, we kept going.  But there came a point when I had to make the difficult decision that we couldn’t continue.  Matched with the challenges all small businesses have had this year – having to put a couple of our team on furlough and having to cut costs and plan for the worst – it was pretty painful.

“But once we’d made the decision to pause the competition and focus on our 335 alumni of businesses, we knew immediately it was the right thing to do.  We’re really lucky to work with people who have great ideas, right at the early stages of their business and we became very focussed on providing support to those business, with a specific focus for those who have loans with us. We’ve been supporting with information on grants and loans, events, training, as well as peer to peer mentoring.  The great thing for us is the feedback we’ve had from our community.  We will hopefully come out of this with a stronger, more connected group of businesses.

“We’ve now announced our next competition, which we’re all incredibly invigorated by – it’s lovely to be looking forward to the next round which we will be launching in July and we will be inviting those previous applicants back and also opening to new ones.  The competition round subsequently attracted 327 applications, the largest number to date.

 “What’s been truly valuable throughout is the support from the wider Can Do Collective network.  We know there are a lot of willing hands and willing hearts out there to help us. A trusted network and group of people that are open to collaboration is what can help us all recover and look forward to 2021 with renewed energy.”

Categories
Case Studies News

AAI And Scottish EDGE Join Forces To Deliver Tailored Employment Opportunities for Scottish Entrepreneurs

Scottish EDGE, AAI and Triyit

Can Do Collective speak with Jack Proctor, Marketing & Comms Manager at Scottish EDGE and Nick Murray, Marketing and Partnership Lead for AAI to find out more about why collective impact was so important for the success of placing a Partnership Manager into the Triyit team.

Scottish EDGE and AAI EmployAbility have been in collaboration since EDGE formed in 2014 – with AAI supporting the hire of their first-ever team member. Since then, AAI has joined EDGE as a Business Growth Support Partner, offering tailored employment support for EDGE finalists.

Collective

Scottish EDGE looks to offer its winners an all-encompassing level of support which expands beyond the initial cash funding. Part of that process is ensuring that the businesses have access to vetted, exclusive support services at a free or heavily discounted rate.

Supporting growing startups is at the core of what drives AAI’s operation. Often, entrepreneurs struggle with the transition to becoming employers, so AAI offers consultation support to all EDGE finalists as well as a 60% discount on their premium inclusive recruitment service and aftercare.

The main aims of this partnership are to support Scottish high-growth potential entrepreneurs by demonstrating effective recruitment practices from the outset – with the additional benefit of creating valuable job opportunities for AAI’s diverse audience.

Nick Murray, Marketing and Partnership Lead for AAI comments,

“When EDGE began, we were doing a lot of work with the government around encouraging small teams to hire graduates and use short-term internships to unlock the potential of Entry-level candidates. We’ve been working with all of the EDGE finalists and guiding them through the transition from being a solo entrepreneurs or small founding teams holding on tightly to their plans and ideas and supporting them to make that difficult transition into becoming a leader and an employer. This is just one case study of so many EDGE finalists and winners that we have been able to support.”

Impact

Triyit, a product discovery club, on a mission to help consumers find their new favourite products, initially did a recruitment round with Indeed and weren’t happy with the process or applications that came through. Following this, they approached AAI just as they were making a transition to expand beyond the remit of graduate roles. Upon being approached by Triyit, Nick did everything he could to help and eventually found Ashleigh through an extensive LinkedIn head-hunting exercise.  He opened up conversations with her and quickly found that she wasn’t feeling fulfilled in her existing role. “The funny thing about this case study is that Triyit wanted to manage recruitment themselves because they thought that AAI at the time was about graduate internships and they were looking for a business development and salesperson with a couple of years experience. The catch twenty-two here is that young people don’t often choose to get into a sales role and the ones that are good at it, often don’t know that they are,” says Nick.

Ashleigh was very interested in the role and after Triyit had completed their first round of interviews and still not found anyone, Nick convinced them to interview Ashleigh. Triyit went on to recruit her into their team and she has since become a core part of the business.

Derek Connor, Director at Triyit, said,

“After being burned a couple of times looking for candidates in this role, we were cautious about this partnership, however, the effort that Nick specifically went to in order to find us the right candidate was above and beyond what we ever could have expected. Ashleigh is a huge asset to our organisations, and we are so pleased that AAI helped us to find her.”

Jack Proctor, Marketing & Comms Manager at Scottish EDGE comments,

“Our relationship with AAI really helps us get the right people into the right business and when it’s put to the test like this, the proof is in the pudding. Good employees are critical in supporting organisations to stay afloat, especially in these challenging times and Triyit is faring well over the course of the pandemic.”

Jack feels that from a partnership perspective, AAI goes above and beyond to make the collaboration work and continually make sure that they are really delivering on it. He comments,

“One thing that we are really adamant about with the partnerships is that the people we support are the ones that benefit most, and we ask our partners to put something on the table that is of genuine value to those businesses. I can’t think of a round where AAI hasn’t in some way collaborated with the businesses we have supported, and that support can be anything from giving them business advice, right through to placing someone in a team.”

So far AAI has supported 49 Scottish EDGE-winning businesses, creating 126 jobs in Scotland. Jack feels that the partnership with AAI ultimately creates a stronger support offering for the businesses who come through the competition. “We pride ourselves not only on the opportunity a win at a Scottish EDGE final can give a company, but also the support we can offer after. We monitor the survival and success rates of every EDGE winner, and how they grow their teams is a huge factor in how sustainable they’ll be in the long run.”

Nick comments, “I was an assessor for applications for EDGE right at the start of the pandemic and it was really difficult looking at some of the businesses, knowing that many would be deemed unviable as a direct result of COVID-19. To see what has come through in the last round, diverse businesses that I had never even heard of, doing incredible things, is testament to the entrepreneurial talent that Scottish EDGE attracts.  For us to be able to go out and listen to their pain points and advise on what a job position could be, and work with them to create really interesting and diverse jobs for candidates, is so rewarding. It’s about sustainability, it’s about relationships and it’s about helping these people unlock their potential in Scotland.”

Jack comments,

“Entrepreneurialism is a big organism in Scotland, it doesn’t operate in isolation and you can’t expect anything to reach its full potential when it’s a single entity. You need all of those different parts feeding in. We can provide the funding but without the right people coming in to direct the spend in the right place it wouldn’t be worth as much. We have a really specific role within a business and as impactful as that is, it wouldn’t be anything without those extra parts coming in.”

Nick concludes, “We speak to early-stage companies all of the time and I’m always saying, have you applied to Scottish EDGE? We are continually directing people to the platform so it’s a closed circle in terms of collaboration.”

Scottish EDGE has also created 4 jobs over the last 5 years with AAI, which further reinforces the strength of this partnership and the mutually beneficial opportunities that it creates for both organisations.

Growing companies that have been trading for less than 5 years, looking for that next stage of growth should contact Scottish EDGE directly for more information.

Businesses who want to work with a not-for-profit recruitment agency that is centered around people, inclusion and reaching a diverse audience should contact AAI EmployAbility.

Categories
Case Studies News

Powered Through Collective Action And Expertise, Global Open Finance Centre Of Excellence (GOFCoE) Initiative Secures £22.5m Funding Grant

The University of Edinburgh, FinTech Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA)

Can Do Collective spoke with FinTech Scotland, to find out more about why the collective impact approach was so important for the successful funding application submitted by the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) initiative.

Open Banking is currently the most significant global trend in financial services and financial technology (FinTech). Launched in the UK in 2018, Open Banking is a pioneering initiative to rebalance markets in favour of consumers by using shared financial data through secure open Application Programming Interfaces to increase competition and innovation, leading to better products and services. Crucially, Open Banking is likely to evolve to Open Finance, taking into account other areas of Financial Services such and Pensions, Investments and Insurance.

It will help create new opportunities for products and services, allowing researchers to better understand the opportunities and impacts of this financial data evolution for society, the economy and the environment. The Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) is being established in Edinburgh to provide leadership, coordination, research and capability to support Open Finance.

Collective

The Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) is an initiative brought together by the collective action & expertise of The University of Edinburgh, FinTech Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA). Their initial bid was shortlisted from over 200 companies and then went on to win an investment fund of £22.5m along with six other projects.

The key objectives of The Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) are to:

  • Enable research and innovation, thus accelerating industry adoption of Open Finance at scale
  • Decrease time-to-market and development costs, thereby improving start-up survival, attracting inward investment, securing jobs and creating export opportunities
  • Undertake data-driven research to create knowledge of financial behaviours and deliver wider social and economic benefits for all
  • Work with industry to establish ethical standards and best practice to ensure public trust

The bid benefited from the support of Scottish Enterprise and The University of Edinburgh who has extensive expertise with regards to bids and grant funding. The academic body (UoE) will be one of the main end-users of the programme as the intelligence will support more accurate and relevant research in this space moving forward. FinTech Scotland worked to amplify the profile of the project as well as bringing people together to collaborate and galvanise the overall process.

Mickael Paris, Marketing Director for FinTech Scotland comments,

“The project will enable innovation around financial data leading to new research and the creation of new companies as well as providing a framework of support for existing companies.

We believe that the ultimate beneficiary of this project is the citizen. More informed research, better and easier access to financial services as well as the development of innovative services will be good for everyone. This is our definition of Fintech. Fintech is a movement that uses data and technology to deliver a better outcome for people or companies and we really believe in that.”

Impact

Nicola Anderson, Strategic Development Director at FinTech Scotland comments,

“The impact of the collaboration is currently probably best demonstrated through the fantastic achievement of the £22.5m funding granted through the strength in places that was awarded by UK Research & Innovation. This outcome demonstrates the power of business and academic collaboration and the funding will go towards driving enterprise, business innovation and jobs.

With engagement across Scotland, UK and globally, the initiative will further reinforce the inclusive international approach in developing the fintech cluster which is focused on delivering better consumer financial outcomes and sustainable economic growth through innovation.

This is the first significant award of its kind in the UK into research in financial services and important given the strength of financial services and fintech to the Scottish economy. The breath of the financial services industry that already works in Scotland is fantastic. We have great businesses across wealth management, asset management, banking, insurance, pensions and then we have a huge range of FinTech SME’s and we are continually seeing this number increase. The financial services industry is strategically important, not just to the Scottish and wider economy but also it’s a strategically important industry in its own right – so to have that collaborative project come to Scotland to really think about the future of some aspects of financial services is a great collaborative outcome.”

To find out more about the project, visit www.FinTechscotland.com

About FinTech Scotland

FinTech Scotland is an independent not for profit body jointly established by the financial services sector, universities and Scottish Government to ensure that Scotland seizes the FinTech opportunities and achieves positive economic and social outcomes by encouraging financial innovation, collaboration and inclusion as part of the country’s broader digital economy objectives.

The organisation acts as a strategic enabler and cluster management body focused on leveraging the potential economic (i.e. productivity, business creation, employment) and social (i.e. financial inclusion, well-being and accessibility) benefits arising from becoming a leading global centre focused on Fintech innovation.

FinTech Scotland’s objectives are to develop an innovative community of FinTech firms, generate impactful collaborations between firms of all sizes and foster an inclusive cluster which is globally recognised and connected.

In January 2020, FinTech Scotland was formally recognised for the development for the Fintech cluster in Scotland and accredited with the bronze label for Cluster Management Excellence by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis.

FinTech Scotland was initially founded in January 2018 as a joint initiative by Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. The organisation is now supported by a broad range of global financial services, technology and professional services firms as well as the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde, the Financial Conduct Authority, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

Social media handles

Facebook – @FinTechScotland
Twitter – @FinTechScotland
Linked In – @FinTechScotland
YouTube – @FinTechScotland