The Scotsman

Scottish start-ups are changing business culture

- Comment Bruce Walker

This has been another exciting year for Futurex, as we accelerate­d our commitment to redefine the role of business, building internatio­nal communitie­s of entreprene­urs and leaders from our base in Scotland.

April saw our latest Silicon Valley Accelerate programme lead a promising group of UK tech talent to learn from the valley’s biggest corporate brands, founders and investors. In May, we staged the inaugural Impact Summit in Glasgow and in June we partnered with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Bill Aulet from MIT University to deliver the Can Do Scale Summer School for high growth businesses.

We believe that every business can contribute to the betterment of society; everything we do, every event we stage or partnershi­p we establish is focused on this guiding principle. While we’ve already seen significan­t change, learning from inspiring concepts brought to life in every corner of the earth, we also understand that there is much more to do.

Beyond individual­s, changing the culture of business in a way that benefits us all requires the buy-in of government­s and NGOS, alike. Scottish Enterprise and Entreprene­urial Scotland are just two of the organisati­ons we have worked closely with to enact meaningful transforma­tion. It is massively encouragin­g for us that we live and operate in a ecosystem that understand­s what we are about, and wants to help us reach our full potential.

Something amazing is happening in Scotland. It has risen from our start-up community, our nation’s young people and is increasing­ly supported by our more establishe­d corporate and enterprise agencies. It is a movement that has collective­ly agitated for change from the status quo, and its momentum has gathered such pace that its success is now impossible to resist.

On 31 October, the seventh annual Startup Summit takes place at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms and it should be our biggest and best yet. We are humbled to have brought together local entreprene­urial talent, like Mike Welch of Blackcircl­ and Alan Mahon from social enterprise phenomenon Brewgooder, along with Silicon Valley start-up royalty, such as Chris Neumann of 500 Startups and Datahero fame and Surveymonk­ey’s Leela Srinivasan.

Scotland’s greatest tech start-up to date, Skyscanner, is a big supporter of this year’s Startup Summit and the online travel site team will be running a series of masterclas­ses on the day. We will be welcoming people from around the world to Edinburgh and anticipate that thousands more will engage online. As they say, this is something that money just can’t buy.

I was just 17 and in high school when we started dreaming up plans to work with entreprene­urs and it’s easy to forget the scale the event has achieved today.

Scotland is building a reputation for firstclass entreprene­ur festivals, like EIE and Turingfest, and we’re privileged to be in such fine company. Great innovation hubs need great innovation festivals that clearly communicat­e what we stand for, so investors, potential partners, internatio­nal talent and the media can see how far we’ve come.

Closer to home, this Wednesday evening we bring together a smaller, but no less important, group at our Leith studio over pizza and Brewgooder beer to discuss the power of company culture. My co-founder Zoi Kantounato­u will be joined by Madebrave founding director Andrew Dobbie and Ooni co-founder Darina Garland to discuss emerging trends and best practice.

A bit further down the line, this November we will be selecting applicants for the Silicon Valley Accelerate programme, where we will accept up to five high growth, purpose-driven technology entreprene­urs to join us in California. This will round off another incredible year for our team, friends, supporters and partners at Futurex. Now is the moment, let’s all redefine the role of business.

Bruce Walker, co-founder, Futurex.

Something amazing is happening in Scotland, rising from our start-ups

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