Scotland's Economy

Scottish Business Buzz (27.04.16)

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.05.06Scottish Universities take on the Converge Challenge 

For the first time since the Converge Challenge was established all 17 higher education universities in Scotland have submitted applications for the country’s leading company creation competition and start up development programme. Converge Challenge is open to students, graduates and staff from universities and research institutes in Scotland aimed at creating the next generation of entrepreneurs.

This year, Converge Challenge has increased its total prize fund to £150,000 through cash prizes and a broad range of expert support and training provided through partners and sponsors including RBS, Mazars and Badenoch & Clark. This year also sees a special call for a cash prize of £10,000 for a Design and Creativity Award in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Previous winner of the 2014 KickStart Award, Chris McCann, founder and Chief Executive of Snap 40, commented:

“Converge Challenge provides access to much needed pre-seed capital as well as introductions to a strong and varied network of other entrepreneurs and scientists. snap40 is now a leading healthcare technology business with global growth potential. We are delighted that Converge Challenge has been a part of our journey.”

The top 30 shortlist for each category will be announced on Friday 13 May, 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.09.19Cutting edge technology provider to the hotel trade wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise 

A young Edinburgh business that has made procurement more efficient for leading names in the UK’s £84bn hospitality sector has been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation.

Procure Wizard, which has received the award in recognition of its commercial innovation, has revolutionised many of the leading hotel chains and high street restaurant operators by providing a dynamic online purchasing portal that has helped modernise the procurement cycle, delivering improved efficiency and reduced costs.

Procure Wizard can now deliver a comprehensive solution that streamlines accounts payable; provides expenditure controls in all departments; aids operational visibility; and provides the tools to improve user performance and company profitability. It can also be seamlessly integrated with existing accounting systems.

“The Queen’s Award is really exciting for a young business like us and a real recognition for our biggest asset – our employees who are the drivers of the innovation,” comments Gorol.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.17.58Deputy FM visits Inspire HQ 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Inspire HQ in Perth on Tuesday 19th April, discussing a wide range of business topics and Inspire IT were delighted to share how a small firm was able to reach international markets by the effective use of technology.

Inspire IT banged the drum about universal connectivity and digital access fast becoming a human right which Mr Swinney was sympathetic to.

This call was strengthened by citing the latest stats from South Korean Information Society, where connectivity is the best in the world with average connection speed almost double that of the UK and USA in 2015. Inspire IT also pointed out the stats that accessing the web via a tablet or mobile now surpasses the use of desktop PCs.

Localisation was discussed at length, about Scottish businesses utilising different language versions of their website to engage with the international community. As much as English is the language of international commerce, the SEO benefits of a website in the native language of our customers would deliver should be taken into account.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.24.33Muir Bowden Ltd wins consultancy contract on World Bank funded project

Muir Bowden aviation consultancy based in Troon, have been awarded a call-off contract as part of a World Bank funded project, the Pacific Aviation Investment Program (PAIP), covering five Pacific island nations (Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu).

The contract is to provide a dedicated Aviation Advisor (Infrastructure) who will assist a Tonga based team with procurement specification and management of transition into operational service of a wide range of new, and upgraded, systems covering aeronautical communication, navigation and surveillance. The aim will be to ensure that there is regional commonality and interoperability between systems.

In addition to the core contract elements Muir Bowden’s consultant will also help to ensure that compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) is achieved.

Most of the work is expected to be delivered from Scotland with only a few trips required to attend meetings and operational handover activities. Internet based tools for activities such as conference calls, presentations and large file transfers, will be used extensively.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.28.50Scottish technology company Optoscribe receives £1.2m investment

Archangel Investors, the prominent business angel investment syndicate, announced on Monday (25th April) the completion of an initial £1.2 million round of fundraising for Optoscribe, a Livingston-based optical technology business founded in 2010.

Optoscribe has developed unique technology for use inside communications systems for the data communications, telecoms and mobile phone markets.

The fundraising was led by Archangels, who provided £825,000 of funding, supported by Par Equity, the Edinburgh venture capital firm, with £325,000 of investment, and Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) who invested £50,000.

Nicholas Psaila, CEO of Optoscribe, said:

“This investment round will enable a significant transformation of Optoscribe, allowing the company to substantially increase its capabilities through hiring further experienced staff and expanding our manufacturing facilities.  The investment is a tremendous boost to the company, and we are excited to be embarking on a new phase of growth.”

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About the author

Rhona Middler

Rhona was Business for Scotland's Engagement Executive and Events Manager.

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