Future of Silicon Scotland debated among Scottish entrepreneurs

The debate, led by the BBC’s Kaye Adams, and involved a panel made up of digital entrepreneurs, MSPs and business support organisations. It was attended by 90 business people and influencers from across Scotland’s business scene.

The event was hosted by Virgin Media Business and Virgin Media Pioneers – the online community which helps thousands of entrepreneurs get inspired and get connected – in conjunction with Sam Zawadzki, founder of AdvancetoGO and Sir Richard Branson’s ambassador for Scotland.

Zawadzki was joined on the panel by Cally Russell from digital start up Mallzee.com, along with Brian McGuire from Entrepreneurial Spark, Gordon Henderson from the Federation of Small Businesses, Julie Grieve from The Prince’s Trust, Alastair Bryce from Business Gateway and Rhoda Grant, MSP for Highlands and Islands.

The debate ranged from whether Scotland is up to speed with the ‘digital revolution’ through availability of funding for start-ups and what could be done to keep more innovative businesses in Scotland.

Attendees and panellists at the event agreed that while there’s some way to go in developing effective, comprehensive and specific support for start-ups and small businesses, there’s already a lot of information and advice out there for those who want to grab it. Panellists made the point that businesses with mentors tended to be more successful, and that there was a need for greater collaboration among entrepreneurs, established businesses and politicians.

“Last night we saw Edinburgh’s brightest entrepreneurs come together with some of its most experienced business people to debate the future of business in Scotland, and it was great to hear everyone’s views,” said Robert Parker, director of public sector at Virgin Media Business, who kicked off the evening.

“There’s a great community of digital start-ups in Edinburgh, and the city deserves to be recognised alongside other hubs of innovation in the UK and around the world. Most people last night agreed that we should all shout more about Scotland’s success stories. Edinburgh’s got its own Silicon Walk now – we support the development of ‘Silicon Scotland’ all the way!”

Talking after the event, Sam Zawadski said: “Scotland has a wealth of talented people and support organisations, we need to grow our start-up community by connecting entrepreneurs and developing Scotland’s ‘GoDo’ attitude to business!”