A night to celebrate Scotland’s vibrancy & Scots making an impact in London

“When major changes happen, small places tend to flourish.”

Scotland is Now and it’s time to get together to discuss how to accelerate this vision.

Scotland House was filled with an exciting energy and atmosphere on the 2nd of July as entrepreneurial and innovative minds came together to talk about how we can do this. The night began by networking and making connections with each other. Next, the room was seated to listen to an incredible panel of 4 people who – among many others – are looking to elevate Scotland to a level of other recognisable entrepreneurial hubs around the world, as seen in London, Shanghai and New York.

The panel exuded diversity and passion, consisting of (2nd from the Left-Right above);

Gordon Reid: Wimbledon Champion and Paralympic Gold Medallist
Steve Dunlop: Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise
Susan Rimmer: Saltire Scholar Alumni & Producer at Interactive Workshops
Sandy Kennedy: Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland

Although each have their own distinct successful journeys they share a common thread of trying to display the culture, talent and potential that exists within Scotland. Through a round of questions facilitated by Mark Hallan (Director, Global Investment at Scottish Development International) and Q&A’s from the audience, the panel touched on various themes and it was evident that the everyone in the room was truly inspired by each of their messages. Some of the topics will be shared in this blog, so that you too can begin to help us lead on the challenge ahead.



How does the working environment in London compare to Scotland?

Since relocating to London after graduating from The University of Glasgow, Susan describes London as a very vibrant community to live and work in. It is multi-cultural and has an endless list of things to do, which offers a greater scale of opportunities available in comparison to life in Scotland. Nonetheless, there was a unanimous agreement amongst the panellists that Scottish cities possess a more unique vibrancy to its London counterpart. It’s no doubt that Scotland has changed over the years but one thing that hasn’t changed is the breath-taking scenery that comes from its location and not to mention its size. “When major changes happen, small places tend to flourish.” – Sandy mentioned as he considered how much easier it is to get people in a room to make significant decisions, which is an influential opportunity for Scots to seize going forward.

Scotland’s biggest assets

The conversation led to our panellists exploring the biggest assets that come from Scotland’s culture and its position in tech development around the world. Despite the small population and size, the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival is known to be the biggest arts festival in the world, showcasing the history and creative talent that is present around the country. In addition to this, Glasgow has proudly claimed its title of being the friendliest city in the world and the best UK city for millennials to live in (with London coming 2nd and Aberdeen coming 3rd), proving that others also see the unique vibrancy.

Although Edinburgh and Glasgow are on the forefront of technology advancement, Steve noticed that the current success and contribution to the field is often not heard about or shared. This needs to change as Scotland uses its size, scale and agility to its advantage and people help each other to amplify the message.

The power of networks and exposing talent across all levels

Susan entered the Entrepreneurial Scotland network in 2011 as she secured a Saltire Scholar internship with Giles Insurance (now Arthur J Gallagher) and joined the team in London upon graduation. Since her time in London, Susan has opened up the amazing opportunity to a further 20 Saltire Scholar Interns thereafter, through host company recruitment in the various companies that she’s worked at, including: Gallaghers, Simply Business and Interactive Workshops. This is the epitome of sharing the podium to lift each other up and passing the baton on for long-lasting success.

“The number one way that entrepreneurs want to learn and develop is through peer networks”

As a Glaswegian Tennis player with global notability, Gordon, shares that he has often felt the pressure to move to other locations such as London to progress and train, as it’s now seen as the home of tennis in Britain. However, his strong roots and passion for being at home has solidified his decision to remain in Scotland and travel when needed. Gordon has directly benefited from being a part of Scottish networks in sport and feels that his success is noticed a lot more through the exposure of other Scottish tennis players such as Andy and Jamie Murray. This type of support from multiple networks enables up and coming sports such as Scottish Paralympic Tennis to flourish and triumph.

What’s next?

We have to work together to put Scotland at the top of everyone’s ‘now’ list. Instead of perceiving other cities as competition to beat, we should see them as allies and encourage our best and brightest talent to go out to these communities – be it globally – with the intention of sharing the success in Scotland and introduce Scottish networks around the world, thus uplifting the country through this. It’s important to realise the immense power of networks and connections to provide support and help to succeed, together!

Read more about our Saltire Programmes and membership to find out how Entrepreneurial Scotland is leading on this challenge. Other useful information can be found on Scottish Enterprise and Visit Scotland's website.