Birthplace of TV, radar, telephones and so much more, Scotland has traditionally been a country of innovation, but particularly in the sciences and technologies. One of the reasons why such a small place can be so creative is possibly owing to its long history of education. As a result, today we have communities all over Scotland that use innovation to allow new businesses to raise money and grow into hugely successful companies.
Glasgow in particular is home of a diverse start-up scene with roots in engineering, finance and energy. In recent years, though, the city has attracted digital media and tech start-up companies and this year it beat 30 other UK cities to secure £24 million of funding to “improve the lives of their citizens by making the most of new technologies and by integrating and connecting city systems.”
Just a few of the notable Glasgow start-ups are 3D animators Muvizu, social network Kiltr, med tech company Taragenyx and my personal favourite, M Squared Lasers – a developer and manufacturer of next gen lasers!
Big ideas & hatcheries
I read that there’s a new start-up called Zapcoder, which has recently been awarded a £75,000 Creative Scotland grant. Basically it’s an app that allows users to create HTML5 games and other programs using templates and graphics on smartphones and tablet devices. More advanced users can customise their own content, but it’s simple enough for beginners to use as well. The ‘made in Scotland’ angle sells it for me!
This project started in the local E-Spark Hatcheries, which are supported by a variety of mentors and entrepreneurs. The hatchery is basically a low-risk environment where people can set up their businesses without worrying too much about overheads, so it includes access to hot-desks, internet access, meeting rooms, office supplies etc.
Start-up events in Glasgow
Attending events is an excellent opportunity to network and learn about the local business scene, and in particular, the Start-up Weekend Glasgow is a must if you’re looking to gain advice and support. This year the theme was “Sustainability, Cleantech & Cleanweb – using information technology to drive massive improvements in global sustainability, economic prosperity and human well-being”.
Success breeds success
There’s a kind of pay-it-forward ethos in the Glasgow start-up scene where CEOs of successful ventures are more than willing to share knowledge and insight on their experiences with new entrepreneurs. This makes for a fantastic community where events are well attended and big ideas thrive. So if you have a big idea, come to Scotland!