Case Studies

The Future Economy Company– Thinking for the future

The ‘Partner’s Opinions’ 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:

Fashion x Tech Panel

Join us for an in-person panel exploring the crossover between fashion and tech! Think innovation, creativity and sustainability.

Bridge 2 Business Enterprise Awards 2022

The Bridge 2 Business Enterprise Awards 2022 is a celebration of ‘all things enterprise’ across colleges in Scotland. The awards recognise and reward students, educators and individuals who are leading the way in enterprise. The awards will once again be a virtual event for this year and will take place on Thursday 28th April at 7pm

Art of Possible: The Future of Fashion – The Tech Edit

Fashion has always been at the forefront of innovation — from the invention of the sewing machine to the rise of e-commerce. Today, fashion technology is growing at a faster pace than ever. Robots that sew and cut fabric, AI algorithms that predict style trends, VR mirrors in dressing rooms, digital tools for cutting-edge design, tackling counterfeiting with blockchain and an array of other innovations show how tech is automating, personalising, and speeding up the fashion space whilst enabling innovative, sustainable business models.

Known across the globe for creativity and innovation, Scotland has been influencing the world of fashion for centuries. But what does the future hold?

We’re excited to report that Art of Possible is back in-person, featuring a fireside chat with inspirational leading experts in fashion, textiles and jewellery-making that blend traditional skills with transformative new technologies, whilst exploring different materials and constructs to push the boundaries of design that is both cutting-edge and sustainable without compromising quality or craftmanship.

The session will end with a beer, wine & bites reception to reconnect and celebrate the return of Art of Possible in person…

Please note that attendees are required to follow current Scottish Government guidelines regarding COVID-19 on the date of the event, including the wearing of masks. We will send attendees current guidelines prior to the event date.



Meet the panel:

Dr Lynne MacLachlan, Lynne MacLachlan Studio

After studying a degree in aerospace engineering, Lynne returned to education to study jewellery and metalwork design, achieving an MA at the prestigious Royal College of Art and completing a PHD in design at Open Uni. Lynne harnesses the latest digital technology to create innovative designs, while exploring and pushing the capabilities using bespoke software tools and 3D printing. Her work has been recognised with awards from the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council amongst others.

Hamish Menzies, Creative Director, ROCIO

Rocio is a luxury eco-fashion label founded & based in Scotland. The brand’s unique direction is to combine creativity, artistry & technology to make it’s designs the definition of sustainable fashion. Hamish studied instrument engineering before embarking on a career with BP in the oil & gas sector. In his free time Hamish studied the dramatic arts and enjoyed travelling & theatre. During a work sabbatical, Hamish travelled the world and became fascinated by a chance meeting with a group of talented wood sculpturers. Having a passion for the arts, Hamish had a vision of bringing both the art and fashion worlds together. After experimenting modern design techniques with different species of sustainable wood and contemporary textiles, the ROCIO brand’s debut collection was finally launched in London in 2006.

Alan Shaw, Centre For Advanced Textiles, The Glasgow School of Art

Alan Shaw is the Manager at the Centre for Advanced Textiles (CAT) at The Glasgow School of Art, where he oversees production, industrial research and the day to day running of the centre. He graduated from GSA in 2000 with a Master’s degree in Textile Design focusing on digital design and production. In 2001 Alan helped to set-up CAT as the first educational facility to offer services to external companies, both nationally and internationally. Before working at CAT, Alan spent four years at the Glasgow textile printing firm Timorous Beasties overseeing print production and finishing. He has lectured at various Scottish colleges and continues to design and produce textiles on a freelance basis.

Chaired by Abi Hird, Knowledge Transfer Manager Design, Innovate UK-KTN

Abi leads the Design Innovation Network, working across all sectors and technology areas. Abi creates connections to help innovators leverage good design practice and deliver positive change. Abi has deep expertise in design, manufacturing, innovation, and engineering management, and previously led KTN’s “Navigating the Design to Manufacture Journey” programme.

Startup Grind Scotland Silicon Valley Programme

Startup Grind Scotland is bringing Scottish startups to the world stage!

This April, we are hosting a funded* journey to the 2022 Startup Grind Global Conference in Silicon Valley, San Francisco – and we want you to join us!

Where: Silicon Valley, San Francisco, USA

When: April 9th – 15th (inclusive)

The trip will be centred around the Startup Grind Global Conference 2022, a two-day in-person event that will bring together over 3000 of the best startups and scaleups worldwide. You’ll dive into the global tech ecosystem, get inspired by industry leaders and create new connections with founders and business leaders from across the world – all in the startup mecca that is Silicon Valley.

Taking the first step to becoming a global business is no easy task on a bootstrapped budget, so we’re handling the bills so you can focus on doing what you do best. Through facilitated introductions, hands-on workshops and keynotes from some of the biggest minds in tech and business, you’ll develop deeper connections that will inspire, accelerate, and bring humanity into the core of your business.

Help us bring Scotland’s world-class tech entrepreneurship ecosystem to the world.


What we’re paying for

Return flights from Edinburgh to San Francisco
Twin-share accommodation (subsidised upgrades available)
Free ticket to the 2-day Startup Grind’s Global Conference
Costs covered (eg/ Covid-19 tests)
The opportunity to make friends, share experiences, meet potential investors and build your professional network
Additional activities and events – more info coming soon!

Who you are
Founder, Director or C-Suite Leader in a Scotland-based tech startup or scaleup
Meet travel/entry requirements (Covid-19 vaccinated [unless exempt] and eligible for USA’s Visa Waiver Program)
Excited to be part of this cohort and connect with the best and brightest from the global entrepreneurship scene

About the Startup Grind Global Conference

The Startup Grind Global Conference is the home for startups everywhere. This year, on 12 & 13 April, SG is hosting leading startups and scaleups who are creating the next wave of web. The focus of this year’s flagship conference is to educate on the next wave of the web, bridging the gap between web2 and web3, building human-centric products and impacting diverse communities.

More than ever, this year’s Global Conference is about the people. ​​It’s about developing meaningful relationships, community, and connections that we’ve all missed so much this past year. It’s about recognizing the importance of building companies human-first, serving a more diverse consumer. Ultimately, Global 2022 is built to help you and your team grow, evolve, and scale your startup.

Full programme agenda coming soon.

Past speakers include:

Eric Schmidt (Alphabet)
Stewart Butterfield (Slack)
Fei-Fei Li (Stanford AI)
Eric Yuan (Zoom)
Emily Chang (Bloomberg)
Jan Koum (WhatsApp)
Lorraine Twohill (Google)
Andrew Ng (
Patrick Collison (Stripe)
Joe Gebbia (Airbnb)
Biz Stone (Twitter)
Clay Christensen (Harvard Business School)

Apply now for your chance to join us at Startup Grind Global Conference!
Applications will be considered as they come in, so don’t delay in registering your interest.

Know someone who fits the bill? Forward this opportunity to them!
Any questions you may have prior to applying can be directed to

News Press Releases

Entrepreneurial organisations meet Economy Secretary to discuss roll out of Scottish Government’s economic strategy

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.


Written by Mhairi Clarke

For media enquiries, please contact:

Mhairi Clarke
Director, Shine PR
Tel: 07809 558 375

260M+ End Users, 1,000+ Healthy Snack Varieties & A Sustainable, Healthy Workplace with Sara Roberts (Healthy Nibbles)

“The greatest wealth is health.” – Virgil

260M+ End Users, 1,000+ Healthy Snack Varieties & A Sustainable, Healthy Workplace with Sara Roberts (Healthy Nibbles)

As we return from our slumber to an avalanche of emails and LinkedIn requests, January provides us with a rare opportunity to reflect on our wellbeing.

We couldn’t have picked a better guest to guide us through the nuances of looking after not only ourselves but also our colleagues as we also walk through her Healthy Nibbles journey to date.

We’ll be taking a close look at, but not limited to:

– Scaling to 260M+ end users

– Counting Three Mobile, Vitality, BBC & Spotify amongst their customers

– The future of office/remote catering & wellbeing

– Why workplace wellbeing is no longer just a ‘nice to have’

– Becoming a B-Corp

Whatever your current choice of snack, this is not to be missed. Tune in from the comfort of your own home and let’s toast to a healthier, happier 2022!

Sara Roberts (Healthy Nibbles)

Sara Roberts is the founder of Healthy Nibbles, on a mission to make choosing greatness a whole lot easier for busy, health-conscious people and organisations everywhere.

Healthy Nibbles grew out of frustration. As she sat at her father’s hospital bedside, hungry at 3am, the only food she could find was in a vending machine serving the usual selection of crisps, chocolate bars and fizzy drinks.

Right next to the machine a poster warned ‘diabetes and obesity kill’. And so the crumbs of an idea became the UK’s award-winning answer to healthy snacking.

Reaching over 260m consumers, loved by Three Mobile, Vitality, BBC, Spotify and TfL, Healthy Nibbles has become renowned as wellbeing experts.

Sara is also a global Concept Advisor for the International WELL Building Institute, a Director of Vision Ministries and an ambassador to Women’s Enterprise Scotland.

She also counts B Corp Ambassador among her many accolades.

[Host] Dec McLaughlin (SG Scotland/DM Nutrition/Frog Systems)

Dec McLaughlin is the founder of DM Nutrition, a ‘nutritionist in your pocket’ that helps entrepreneurs lose up to 10kg, build 3-4kg muscle and 1/2 their stress levels in as little as 90-days. Dec discovered the power of science-backed nutrition micro-habits during his Medicinal Chemistry masters degree where he helped friends and relatives lose up to 20kg without hours of meal prep or exercise.

Since then, he has gone on to lead the restart of the Startup Grind Edinburgh chapter after a short period of inactivity. Speakers since 2018 include Gillian Docherty OBE (The Data Lab), Bruce Walker (FutureX) & Marta Krupinska (Head of Google for Startups UK).

His passion for wellbeing and tech has also lead him into his current role of Partnerships Manager at well-tech startup Frog Systems. Frog Systems is a tech-4-good scale-up that provides custom-built video and signposting platforms to inspire teams and communities to get the mental health support they need.

Since the successes of our 2021 virtual events, we wanted to keep things lively and provide the same virtual space for connection to catch up with old friends, make new ones and share grand ideas and learnings with each other. With that in mind, we’re excited to invite you back to Remo!

Remo is a virtual platform where you can interact face-to-face and move around a ‘room’ to different tables to meet and talk with other people.

We’ve set up to a few themed tables to get the conversation going with ecosystem experts as well as some space to chat at the ‘bar’ and some sofas for one-on-one conversations.

Themed Table Plan

– Mindset & Meditation

– Financial Wellbeing

– New Years Resolutions

– Sustainability

– Fitness & Movement

– Sleep Optimisation

– Productivity

– Community

– Chat at the bar & jump to a sofa a 1-1

Why attend?

– Share your ambitions for 2022

– Connect with peers in a casual online setting

– Catch up with friends and make new ones

– Get advice from wellbeing experts

– Have a conversation and some laughs to see in 2022 with a smile

– Share an ask or a project you’re excited for with the community

What you need to know!

What: 260M+ End Users, 1,000+ Healthy Snack Varieties & A Sustainable, Healthy Workplace with Sara Roberts (Healthy Nibbles)

When: Thurs 27th January 2022

Time: 6.00-8.30pm

Where: Remo

Bonus Extras: Partner offers and a chance to win a special prize via our Twitter competition!

End of Year Social! Quick-fire Interviews, Community Shout Outs & Free Food/Drink

As we near the end of the year it’s customary to reflect on the ups and downs of our personal and professional lives. This year has been yet another rollercoaster, and we’re sure you have some stories to tell and some big (or small) hopes for 2022.

At Startup Grind Scotland we’ve loved being able to use our platform to bring people together to share ideas, spark conversation and bring a sense of normality through the bad, the worse, and the downright weird of the past 12-months. Since January, we’ve hosted 10+ events with some of the most entertaining and inspiring speakers/startups from Ooni to ActiPH to showcase the incredible things going on in the Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem.

While we hope that the earlier virtual sessions brought a sense of calm and connection through lockdown, what we’ve really enjoyed most is interacting with each other once again at our in-person events, hearing stories, ideas, expertise and plans for the future over a glass of wine or a cup of tea(!)

For our final event of 2021 we wanted to mix things up a bit and provide a space for connection and reflection to catch up with old friends, make new ones and share grand ideas and learnings with each other. With that in mind, we’re excited to invite you to our end of year Social at Edinburgh Innovations!

We’ll also be opening the floor to SG community members to talk as part of our open-mic on their 2021 takeaways. If you’ve got a story to tell, or want to be more involved in this event, talk to

With that in mind, we’re excited to be partnering with Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service.

They offer advice, funding, and support at every stage of your entrepreneurial journey. Their expert team can help you take your business or social enterprise from a raw idea right through to launch and beyond. Their service is available to UoE staff, students, and recent alumni. The Student Enterprise Hub is an ideal space for hosting events within Edinburgh’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Whether you’re looking to run an event, a customer feedback session, or large meeting, the space is available to you. Please contact for any booking requests

What you need to know!
What: End of year party!

When: Thurs 16th December 2021

Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm (+ after-party at Peartree)

Where: Edinburgh Innovations Student Enterprise Hub, LG Appleton Tower, 11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE (across the road from Peartree)

Bonus Extras: Free food & drink, awesome people, insightful conversation and advice, community, plus Q&A via Slido!

Re:Entry – Reflection & Resolution as we Reload Life Post-Pandemic

Re:Entry, an evening of reflection and resolution as we reload work and life post-pandemic

In-person events are finally back and we can’t wait to bring you together for a special evening of reconnection and resolutions as restrictions lift, and we consider how we want to reshape the way we work and live moving forward.
At Startup Grind Scotland we’ve loved being able to bring people together at our virtual events to share ideas, spark conversation and bring a sense of normality, and community, through the ups and downs of the last year and a half.


What we’ve really missed is interacting with each other at our in-person events, hearing stories, ideas, shared experiences, and plans for the future over some good food and drink.

With that in mind, we’re excited to have partnered with CodeBase for Re:Entry, the first of a series of hybrid online and in-person events, hosting panel discussions from some of Scotland’s established and emerging entrepreneurial figures.

At this first event, we’ll be taking a frank, but optimistic look at post-lockdown work and life, what’s changed, what hasn’t, and how we, as individuals now have an incredible opportunity to reset and reshape our personal and professional lives.

CodeBase Edinburgh is the UK’s largest technology incubator. Home to over 90 companies who have collectively raised over half a billion dollars in investment, it is the centre of the tech scene in the city.

What to expect:
Share reflections from the year and hopes for the future
Hear from an expert panel about the changes in leadership, resilience, society, wellbeing, diversity, workplace culture, and much more
Connect with peers in a casual setting
Catch up with friends and make new ones
Get advice from industry experts

In-person tickets are limited to 40 people, so book now to avoid missing out.

Your safety and comfort are our highest priority. Please see our safety information and what to expect at CodeBase on the day HERE.

Re:Entry Panel:

Viana Maya is the Founder and CEO of pRESPECT, a career coaching startup focussed on empowering, enabling and elevating marginalised job seekers to gain sustainable long term jobs. Viana’s past experiences include a career as an entrepreneur in London, a web developer, a women returner getting back into work after her daughter’s birth, and surviving homelessness.
Viana developed and delivered the Career Coaching; Personal developed and Confidence building side of New Voices six-month mentoring and professional development programme for women and non-binary filmmakers based in Scotland who aspire to become documentary directors and/or producers. She is a Pass The Mic contributor, championing diverse female voices in the media and is two time Bright Red Spark Winner, including 2021 Business for Good.

Colin Hewitt is one of the most widely respected CEOs in Edinburgh, leading the charge on a wide range of issues from the rise of fintech to sustainability. We’d be delighted if you could join us for our first fireside chat at the CMS offices on Castle Terrace, rather appropriately a stone’s throw from the UK’s largest technology incubator, CodeBase, the location of Colin’s original fireside chat in 2014.

Colin is CEO and co-founder of Float which was launched in 2012. Float’s purpose is to help businesses understand their numbers. Float has deep integration with accounting software and provides powerful cashflow forecasting and scenario planning tools.

Lisa Thomson founded Purpose HR to provide niche HR consultancy and ‘HR as a service’ outsourcing to early-stage and high-growth companies. In the last 7 years, she has built a team of qualified HR specialists, and they have fulfilled projects with well over 70 clients, with a focus on technology and life sciences.

Purpose HR helps their clients manage their businesses and people most effectively and productively in order to help scale and meet the business challenges of fast-paced growth.

What you need to know!
Who: Viana Maya, Colin Hewitt & Lisa Thomson
When: Thursday 30th Sept 2021
Time: 6.00-8.30pm
Where: CodeBase Edinburgh, 37A Castle Terrace, EH1 2EL and online wherever you are
Bonus extras: Free food & drink, awesome people, insightful conversation and advice, community (in-person), home comforts (online) plus Q&A via Slido!

Competitive advantage: how to create it and use it

This is YCF’s annual conference 2021; our conferences are always highly rated by delegates as rewarding and enjoyable networking events, bringing people together to find old friends and make new acquaintances.
This year’s conference will be a live event, one of the first to enable everyone involved in the entrepreneurial eco-system to meet up again in person.
We have speakers from a wide range of different backgrounds tackling a broad theme and sharing their knowledge and experience. This year we are tilting the balance towards having more young company founders and entrepreneurs telling their stories, and fewer investors and intermediaries. We also wish to highlight sustainability/ net-zero issues in advance of COP26, within the overall conference theme.