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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.

ENDS

Written by Mhairi Clarke

For media enquiries, please contact:

Mhairi Clarke
Director, Shine PR
Email: mhairi@shine-comms.com
Tel: 07809 558 375

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

Passionate about demonstrating how collaborative working between Scottish businesses can help to accelerate growth and nurture entrepreneurial spirit, The Can Do Collective continues to be a driving force as Scotland relaxes many of its COVID-19 restrictions and focuses on economic growth.

Once again collaborations involving our partners as well as other organisations and individuals are making an immense impact on the wider business community. Scotland has endured significant challenges over the past 18 months but by working together, sharing ideas and innovation we are showing greater strength and resilience in our ability to progress our economy and collective wellbeing.

Hazel Jane, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for Tech Nation and Convener for The Can Do Collective comments; “Once again the great work of our partners is contributing to making Scotland a Can Do nation. As we emerge from what we hope will be the worst of the pandemic and set our sights on rebuilding a strong, resilient economy, it’s fantastic to see more collaborative initiatives that are delivering social and economic benefits through entrepreneurialism.”

Can Do Partners appointed to new Scottish Government economic transformation body

A number of Can Do Collective partner organisations are represented on the newly appointed Scottish Government Advisory Council, a body which will focus on delivering economic transformation across Scotland by maximising its full entrepreneurial potential.

Sean McGrath, CEO of Entrepreneurial Scotland; Jackie Brierton, CEO of GrowBizScotland; Lynne Cadenhead, Chair of Women’s Enterprise Scotland; Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow and his colleague Professor Graeme Roy, the university’s Dean of External Engagement have all been named to the new body. They join a number of leading entrepreneurial, business, and academic figures including Chris van der Kuyl, Founder, owner and chairman of 4J Studios; Dame Sharon White, Chair of John Lewis Partnership; Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College London; and Cllr John Alexander, Chair of Scottish Cities Alliance and Leader of Dundee Council.

The Advisory Council supports an ambitious 10 year National Strategy to drive Scotland’s economic transformation as the country recovers from COVID-19 and transitions to a net zero economy. Advisory Council appointees will help shape this strategy, which is expected to publish late autumn. Drawing on their extensive experience and contacts, members will use their insight to bring forward bold ideas that will transform the economy. People across Scotland are also being encouraged to share their views on how the country can work together to deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity.

The new body is chaired by Economy Secretary Kate Forbes MSP. She said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, we must work together to seize Scotland’s potential and build an economy for everyone by delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.

“The pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in sectors such as retail, and changed the way many businesses operate with more online trading and remote working. We need to build on these innovations and guide our economy to the industries and opportunities of the future.

“I want to thank the members of the council for agreeing to play such a crucial role in the development of our bold and ambitions 10 year economic strategy. Starting work to deliver this key strategy was a 100 day commitment of this Scottish Government and I am delighted we have been able to secure the support of so many leading experts.”

Glasgow collaboration produces innovative eco enterprise ideas

Can Do Partners The Melting Pot and Glasgow Caledonian University, working in collaboration with Glasgow City Council, have just completed their Nature-Based Enterprise accelerator programme, the first of its kind.

The partnership programme, which demonstrates an ideal model for collective working, kicked off earlier this year bringing together Glasgow City Council’s Connecting Nature project with The Melting Pot’s Good Ideas programme. With additional support provided by Glasgow Caledonian University, the Glasgow City Council’s Centre for Civic Innovation was formed to develop what has become Scotland’s first nature-based accelerator pilot programme.

The aim of the pilot was to support a number of Glasgow-based entrepreneurs who were keen to use nature as part of a product or service that would also support the aims of the Council’s recently adopted Open Space Strategy (OSS). The OSS seeks to enhance Glasgow as a place in which to live, work, and invest by improving health and wellbeing of the city’s residents as well as its flora and fauna and to enhance its resilience in addressing environment-related issues such as climate change.

The Nature-Based Enterprise accelerator programme was a major success. The programme was overwhelmed with applications which produced a huge range of innovative enterprise ideas including food growing and supply projects, eco-tourism, nature-based arts and culture, educational activities, and sustainable floristry.

The partners will be staging their Nature-Based Enterprise Launch on 2 September where they will showcase how the programme has been encouraging more local and resilient nature-based economies, to create more green jobs, and help Glasgow achieve its net-zero targets. The virtual event will also allow participants to pitch their ideas and will provide a platform to connect directly with the group to explore future opportunities or potential partnerships. More details can be found here

Edinburgh Innovations AI Accelerator returns

An accelerator programme run by Can Do Collective partners Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s dedicated business service provision, has once again reopened to support ambitious AI (artificial intelligence) start-ups. 

The AI Accelerator aims to help emerging companies developing this innovative form of technology to maximise their entrepreneurial ambitions. Following its latest round of applications which closed in early August, the programme will start on the 22nd September 2021 and run until March 2022. It offers a tailored support package for AI scaleups from across the globe providing access to the University of Edinburgh’s top academic and commercial expertise, a dedicated Accelerator Manager, and 1-2-1 support. Companies involved in the programme can also access a grant to fuel their growth.

In last year’s AI Accelerator, a five-month programme based at the Bayes Centre, 15 trailblazing companies successfully secured £6.27m in investment. Among those who took part and secured international recognition from the programme were BioLiberty, Neeuro, Reath, and MyWay Digital Health.

Exploring the ‘Art of Possible’ in Business Innovation

Early this summer the Art of Possible event series made a welcome return, staging two successful events in June and July, Business by Design and Leading Change in the Digital Age.

Business by Design featured a panel of diverse creative leaders – from the Royal Shakespeare Company and UWS to Iso Design and Dimension Studio – who are leading the adoption of next generation immersive and interactive technologies across a range of areas including entertainment, fashion, marketing, healthcare and more.  An interesting discussion ensued on how the disruption caused by COVID-19 has provided a springboard for the mainstreaming of human-centric, immersive technologies across businesses of all sizes – from start-ups to the tech giants – enabling new possibilities and experiences for customers and employees alike.

Meanwhile, Leading Change in the Digital Age, explored how leadership and mindset are critical for creating the right conditions to grow a thriving business of inspired people, empowered by tech.  The session heard from digital transformation experts This is Milk and case study insights on GAP Group’s pioneering app supporting workforce mental health and the tech-enabled transformation of ACS Clothing into a circular fashion enterprise.

A common theme emerging from both events was the critical need for leadership and human innovation (embracing diverse minds, multiple disciplines and collaboration) combined with the right tech, to enable the realisation of new and enduring solutions impacting people, planet and the bottom line.

The next event on 26 August will feature LEGO, the V&A Dundee and leading SMEs to discuss design thinking as a lens to solve business challenges in human centred and innovative ways. Curated specifically for ‘innovation-ready’ and the ‘innovation-curious’ SMEs, this year’s Art of Possible will spotlight experts (from Scotland and beyond) leading purposefully and harnessing digital tech across different business dimensions – from financing to workforce creativity – to build resilience and reimagine their future.

Speaking about the Art of Possible series for 2021/22, Dr Susie Mitchell programme director of Glasgow City of Science and Innovation said: “We’re delighted to be delivering our feeder series for the Can Do innovation Summit, Art of Possible, for the 5th year running. Connecting innovators, entrepreneurs and knowledge experts, we want to curate a friendly and informal space that inspires and supports greater tech adoption and collaborative innovation in SMEs to enable business survival, resilience and growth.  The evaluation of our last series showed that 80% of our attendees said it would make them think about collaborating on enabling tech and 70% made useful business connections that would be followed up. Art of Possible feeder events have reached 900 attendees over the last two years.”

About The Can Do Collective

Funded by The Scottish Government and supported by a dedicated team within independent charity Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation, The Can Do Collective is a connected community of enterprise support organisations and leaders on a mission to build a world-leading entrepreneurial, innovative and creative society.

If you’re a Can Do Partner, we’d love to hear from you and share your news! Get in touch and tell us your story via hello@cando.scot

Not a Partner and want to learn more about Scotland Can Do and The Can Do Collective? Learn more here

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Still time to enter 2021 Business Women Scotland Awards

There’s still time to enter the 2021 Business Women Scotland Business Awards before the closing date of 3 September at 6pm.

Has your business grown in the past year? Is it a start-up that’s being noticed? Do you run an innovative social enterprise? Or is your business a sustainable enterprise that’s worth shouting about?

We want to hear from you. Themes of collaboration and sustainability are new categories in this year’s awards and will be recognised when the gongs are handed out at a live lunchtime ceremony on 19 November at Oran Mor in Glasgow.

Categories range from Rising Star of the Year and Established Business of the Year to Inspirational Woman of the Year. New categories for 2021 include Collaboration Award, Sustainable Business Award and Women in Tech Award.

“This has been yet another tough year for businesses and now that we are opening up again it’s time that we celebrated each other’s achievements,” said Lynne Kennedy MBE, founder of Business Women Scotland.

Every business entering this year’s awards will receive a free six-month membership to Business Women Scotland.

Top prizes include business coaching from Kirsty Mac worth £900 and a business overview from Martin Aitken for the Business Woman of the Year.

While the overall winner will receive business coaching worth £3000 from Yvonne Webb at Action Coach, a business overview check with Martin Aitken and 10 weeks of advertising with Go Radio.

To enter, visit  https://www.bwsawards.co.uk/

This year’s awards will return to an event in Glasgow, but will also be streamed live online for those who can’t make it along on the day.

“When we hosted the awards online last year, we linked up with women in business the length and breadth of the country. We’re aware that not everyone has the time or the budget to get to Glasgow, so this year as well as returning to a live in-person event we hope to do the same again online and bring together as many female entrepreneurs as possible,” added Lynne.

Online ticket holders will each receive a goody bag to enjoy the awards from their home or office.

–END–

Notes to editors

Categories in the 2021 Business Women Scotland Business Awards:

Business Growth of the Year

Business Woman of the Year

Established Business of the Year

Inspirational Woman of the Year

Rising Star of the Year

Social Enterprise of the Year

Social Media Genius of the Year

Start-up Business of the Year

Women in Tech

Collaboration Award

Sustainable Business Award

The overall winner is selected by the judging panel

About Business Women Scotland 

Business Women Scotland is a voice representing women in business and an organisation dedicated to helping women find support and networking opportunities to allow them to strengthen their business. A bi-monthly digital magazine supporting women in business, it also runs a series of events and awards to celebrate and empower women in business while tackling the gender gap in enterprise. 

For press enquiries about the 2021 Business Women Scotland Awards and Business Women Scotland, please contact Angela McManus on angela@bwsltd.co.uk or call 07803 970312.