Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long terms savings and retirement business, has launched a new Innovation Forum that will look to use the latest FinTech innovation to build greater engagement and support the well-being of its customers, driving forward greater financial inclusion.
In collaboration with TCS’ Co-Innovation Network (TCS COINTM) innovation ecosystem and FinTech Scotland, the Phoenix Innovation Forum will invite FinTech enterprises and entrepreneurs to explore partnership opportunities that will introduce innovative thinking and new ways of working. Phoenix will be looking to work with FinTech firms who share a passion for improving financial wellbeing, with a focus on making a genuine positive impact on customers’ lives on their journey to and through retirement.
Phoenix Group’s purpose is to “help people secure a life of possibilities” and as part of this, it is committed to building greater financial literacy and inclusion. Phoenix looks to engage with its customers throughout the different stages of their life, providing the right products and support, at the right time, to help them make the right choices.
The Phoenix Innovation Forum will give FinTech enterprises and entrepreneurs the opportunity to design, refine and present innovative solutions to senior leaders across PhoenixGroup. The initial focus will be on two key engagement themes:
Curiosity – Using creative tools and interactions to spark increased levels of curiosity about saving and financial planning, which can help to nurture greater learning, especially in the area of planning for retirement.
Gamification – Using ‘gamification’ tools and rewards which are interactive to encourage greater engagement in digital channels, by creating an immersive approach and demonstrating to customers the value of saving and investing for the future.
Phoenix’s Managing Director – Pensions and Savings, Colin Williams, said:
“This is a great opportunity for Phoenix to connect key decision makers within our organisation with innovative enterprises. We are looking to fuel creativity and come up with new solutions which really support our customers and build greater engagement and financial inclusion which is important to our Group’s social purpose and part of our long term sustainability strategy. We are looking to deliver forward-thinking propositions and to be at the forefront in developing innovative solutions, working in collaboration with TCS COIN and the FinTech Scotland community.”
Nicola Anderson, Chief Executive of FinTech Scotland commented:
“We are delighted to support the Phoenix Innovation Forum which is a further example of the valuable role FinTech innovation can play in improving customers’ financial engagement and well-being. Phoenix’s commitment to innovation to support its large customer base and its partnership approach will attract significant interest from FinTech entrepreneurs who share their ambition of helping customers more effectively engage with savings and investments.”
Vivekanand Ramgopal, Global Head – TCS BFSI Products and Platforms, commented:
“Enterprises are looking to form collaborative, purpose-driven ecosystems to launch innovative new offerings that deepen customer relationships and drive growth. To succeed, they need an extensible, open API-based, future-ready digital core like the TCS platform that powers Phoenix Group’s operations. That agile digital foundation is now enabling our two organisations to co-innovate around client analytics and customer experiences at our Innovation Lab in Edinburgh. We are delighted to expand this partnership with the Innovation Forum, and bring in partners from our extended innovation ecosystem, the TCS COIN, to innovate at scale and at speed.”
The initiative will provide the opportunity for FinTech innovators to develop a potential formal partnership with Phoenix Group to build solutions which will not just benefit Phoenix’s customers, but will contribute to innovation for wider society. FinTech firms looking to be part of the Phoenix Innovation Forum will be able to register their interest in participating via a dedicated page on FinTech Scotland’s website.
Now that the Scottish Government has published the ambitious National Strategy for Economic Transformation it is time for all stakeholders to work together to turn ambitions into action. When confronted by a challenge most of us are hardwired to act quickly, now might be the moment, however, to actually pause, listen and reflect on what is needed if Scotland really wants an economy that will deliver on a triple bottom line.
One of the most important set of voices we must hear is that of the leaders of the scaling firms which will be the powerhouse of future economic transformation in Scotland. It is these businesses that will do the heavy lifting, translating policy into performance, innovating to create net zero solutions, opening opportunities to build a just and equal society. The leaders of these firms are, however, busy people, they work in many diverse sectors, they are located across all parts of Scotland.
By running a series of Discovery workshops with 50 leaders from these scaling firms and their support ecosystems, we have made this task of listening easy. A summary report that communicates the significance of these businesses and the needs of their founders and leaders has just been published through the Scotland Can Do initiative.
It is clear that the scaleup agenda must be prioritised in Scotland to deliver improved access to talent, markets, investment and know-how. The report details how those doing the heavy lifting want to see this happen. To deliver real change this won’t be about pursuing business as usual, everybody in the support ecosystem needs to acknowledge a step change is needed. Colleges & Universities need to deliver on the real skills needs of scaling firms: Why does no Scottish University have a Professor of Sales? Why is there such a gap in digital skills within the Scottish workforce? Networks of peer-to-peer learning are needed, scaling firms are at the cutting edge of whatever they are doing, they want advice and insights from near peers, those who have just tackled a similar challenge, but does current signposting and networking support this? Collaboration across silos is needed, over compartmentalising a relatively small economy doesn’t open up Scotland’s cross-sector innovation potential. Scotland’s takes a relatively public sector heavy approach, is this significant investment of taxpayer’s money acting as a catalyst by procuring in innovative ways? Is everybody in the ecosystem working to build a clear brand in the minds of potential investors who are increasingly located outside Scotland?
If Scotland listens carefully to these voices, it has an opportunity to develop actions that will really deliver on the ambitions of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. Take 20 minutes out of your day to read the report and reflect on the voices of scaling firms before you suggest an action that might seem logical but simply promotes the status quo.
Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus, the latest hybrid conference, is coming to Glasgow next week, which gives young businesses the ability to pitch their companies to the panel of VC’s and gain invaluable feedback. The day-long conference commences on Tuesday 10th May and will focus on everything that’s needed when it comes to raising investment. With limited free tickets available, attendees will hear from an array of world-class speakers, take part in practical workshops, meet investors, and even have the chance to pitch business ideas to the professionals.
Founded in 2017, Raising Partners was created to bring a much-needed specialism to the notoriously hard to crack investment world. Raising Partners offers first-class support and investment through strategy series and angel investment syndicates. As experts in early-stage investment, Raising Partners collaborates with clients to establish a solid investment strategy. This support also gives clients the opportunity to be introduced to relevant investors and gives them the confidence to execute funding campaigns successfully. The work of Raising Partners creates a level playing field for businesses, from Pre-seeds to Series- B, by de-mystifying the investment landscape.
Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus will allow Entrepreneurs to gain essential skills to raise their next round of funding and learn from founders as they share their fundraising success stories and here from an investor panel, including Edward Keelan (Investment Principal of Octopus Ventures), Avent Bezuidenhout (Head of Investment of Earth Capital) and Julien Callede (Co-Founder of Made.com). Attendees will also get the chance to meet with fellow entrepreneurs and investors, which is an excellent opportunity to share ideas, connect and gain confidence in the environment.
Creating inclusive spaces for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and scale-ups, is such an integral role in maintaining and nourishing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Opportunities such as Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus, is also a huge building block for Scottish businesses, as they can change the entire trajectory of the companies.
Managing Director of Raising Partners, Helena Murphy, says:
Raising Partners Live is the event I wish had existed for me when I first raised investment for my ecommerce business 10 years ago. I’m thrilled to be able to bring together a room of world-class investors, experts and entrepreneurs to deliver inspiring, practical and action-orientated content in my home city of Glasgow.
Ticket holders will be able to attend the event online or in person, and will have the choice of participating either workshops or watching online bonus sessions which will include:
3 Fundamentals of Getting Investor Ready
A Practical Guide to Raising Your Seed Round
Raising your Next £1m+ from a VC
From Seed to Series A – A Tactical Guide.
Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus takes place on Tuesday 10th May, from 09:15-17:00 at the Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow.
To find out more about the Raising Partners Live: Funding in Focus conference, and to secure your ticket, visit their site.
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?
“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.
Economy Secretary, Kate Forbes MSP met members of the Can Do Collective this morning to discuss the roll out and adoption of the recently launched National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET).
The group identified areas of common ground within the Entrepreneurial People and Culture Programme of Action, where ecosystem partners and government can work together; they discussed what obstacles need to be cleared to allow for better collaboration and how the ecosystem can support this.
The Can Do Collective, funded by the Scottish Government is an all-sector approach to enterprise and innovation support; the group of more than 80 organisations aims to create powerful societal and economic change in Scotland by putting collaboration and community at the heart of all activity.
Today’s meeting with the Cabinet Secretary is the first of many planned activities by the collective, including round tables, leadership training and events which will focus on garnering widespread support and adoption of the economic strategy across all parts of Scotland’s business community.
Commenting on the first stakeholder meeting since the launch of the strategy, Sean McGrath, Chief Executive Officer of Entrepreneurial Scotland said:
“This is an ambitious strategy built around innovation, inclusivity, and entrepreneurship and if we make this work, it has the power to transform our economy. The Scottish Government cannot do it alone; we certainly cannot do it without them.
“We need the First Minister now to use her platform and profile to promote Scotland’s business to the world. We also need her to show the same leadership that saw us through the Covid crisis to now put the full weight of her government behind the transformation of our economy placing business success at the top of the Scottish Government’s agenda.
“Scotland has huge potential – talent and people are at the heart of what is now the 4th Industrial Revolution; this is a pivotal moment and key opportunity for Scotland’s organisations to change with the times and look at more innovative, sustainable ways of growth, driven and underpinned by an entrepreneurial mindset.”
Finance & Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said:
“Scotland has enormous economic potential and one of the key transformational programmes of NSET is to establish Scotland as a world-class entrepreneurial nation, with a culture that encourages, promotes, and celebrates entrepreneurial activity in every sector of our economy.
“It was great to meet with members of the Can Do Collective to share ideas, perspectives and experiences on the best way of delivering our ambition so we can shift the dial to make our economy fairer, wealthier, and greener.
“This is a national endeavour that requires every one of us to contribute, and continue working together over the next decade.”
Hazel Jane, Convener of the Can Do Collective said:
“This morning’s meeting was a important milestone for us in terms of updating the Cabinet Secretary on the scale of the work our organisations are delivering as a group in line with the government’s economic strategy. It also gave us the opportunity to learn more about the Scottish Government’s plans for wider engagement with NSET across Scotland’s business community. Much work is to be done; the Can Do Collective will host a wider forum this Spring with more of its partners and the Economy Secretary to explore further opportunities to deliver the vision and objectives of NSET.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 intouch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 SQCFor email: N.email@example.com
It’s been a busy few weeks for our Can Do Collabs! From engaging with Scottish Government Ministers, to participating in COP26, and hosting community events, there’s been lots to keep up-to-date on and celebrate! We thought we’d take the opportunity to share a little bit of background on Collabs for those less familiar with them, as well as share a summary of current activity and progress!
The Collective has been wrestling with a big question: “How can we support more Can Do partners, from diverse spheres of influence, to actively and effectively work together to positively impact Scotland’s entrepreneurial landscape?” In 2020, we set out to tackle this challenge, by developing Collabs and turning good will and intent into action, through offering interested Partners training in practical innovation tools and methodologies to support collaboration.
Inspired by the Collective Impact methodology, Collabs are working groups that enable actors from different worlds to collaborate around common themes, to proactively address issues their communities are grappling with. They involve and engage both those who can impact, and will be impacted by, the outcomes. Designed to increase the odds of success and amplify positive impact, Collabs provide a structure to bring forward solutions for issues which prevent growth for Scotland, through the sharing of knowledge, expertise, research, and best practice.
What outcomes would we like to see as a result of Collabs?
Practical business tools and solutions to address key challenges
Harnessing the intellectual capital of Collective
Suggestions for positive policy change
Improving business confidence and resilience
Honest and clear answers regarding barriers to policy or funding
There are three active Collabs that are working together and supporting continuous communications between Partners and The Scottish Government, through a series of Ministerial roundtables. In October the Collab Chairs had the opportunity to meet with Mr Ivan McKee, Scottish Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, to strengthen the spirit of collaboration between them, while raising awareness of the potential for Collabs to deliver real benefits for Scotland. They also explored how Collabs could support the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
Green Economy: Supporting entrepreneurial businesses in the drive for a greener, more sustainable, net-zero economy. Co-Chaired by Kirsty Black, Arbikie Highlands Estate & Josiah Lockhart, Firstport
What have they been up to?
Gathering market research about climate action within Scottish businesses, results from which will help evidence support and investment needed in the sector. It will also shape the direction of travel for the Collabs as they champion sustainable practices in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can complete and share the survey here
Collab member, Jo Chidley, Founder of Beauty Kitchen has teamed up with others to present ICE Hub Glasgow during COP26 and beyond, as a collaborative space to connect delegates, business leaders, policy makers and the public around climate solutions.
Presenting updates and sharing ambitions at Can Do Collective’s quarterly gathering this month before having a deeper dive roundtable with Ministers early next year.
Youth & Next Generation: Supporting the next generation of talent into ‘good’ jobs through engagement with Scotland’s entrepreneurial businesses, whether in those businesses or by creating their own. Chaired by Geoff Leask, Young Enterprise Scotland
What have they been up to?
Following October’s roundtable, the Youth and Next Generation Collab went on to engage with Mr Jamie Hepburn, Scottish Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training. Convened by Colin Cook, Director for Economic Development, Scottish Government, the Collab shared their recommendations to bring parity of esteem for the next generation of talent as they plan their entrepreneurial future, by outlining and discussing the challenges and opportunities for youth enterprise. They’re now following up with next steps.
Scale up: Supporting better quality and number of scale-ups in Scotland. Chaired by Sandy Kennedy, IGS Limited
What have they been up to?
Building on the foundations laid by the Logan Report, the Collective Impact methodology, and ongoing Scale research work over the past 3 years, the Collab successfully hosted a series of six summer workshops with a range of stakeholders. The aim was to gain input for a Scottish Government commissioned report that will set out a shared, systems method to supporting Scottish scale up businesses.
In November, the Collab hosted a virtual event and welcomed wider input and comments from The Collective, to enrich the drafted Scale Up Ecosystem Report.
Hosted Saltire Scholar, Allyson Smith, to support the delivery of the workshops and develop international comparisons research, which will be featured in the report.
The final report is to be completed later this month, before it’s publicly available.
We hope to bring you more information into the new year about opportunities to get involved with the existing and new Collabs. For now here are a few ways you can engage with the work of the Collabs and follow their journey: