Building, growing and scaling startups in the Highlands and Islands
With little more than a week until Highland Business Awards 2023, we’ll be featuring some guest blogs from our generous sponsors! Today we hear from techscaler, who talk about their work supporting tech startups in the North of Scotland.
The Highlands often don’t get their fair share of attention when it comes to tech startups. In the past, most of the spotlight was usually on the central belt due to its larger number of tech businesses. However, things are changing, and more people are starting to recognise the potential of tech businesses further north.
We’re excited about the amazing tech startups that are already doing great things in the region, and the possibility for even more. Energy, space, tourism, the blue economy, food and drink and life sciences are just some of the industries where exciting things are already happening, and with massive potential.
With the right resources, support and encouragement, the possibilities for businesses in the Highlands are endless.
With that in mind, we wanted to support the Highland Business Awards to encourage and support the success of local businesses and use Techscaler, a programme funded by the Scottish Government which provides education, workspace and mentorship to startup founders and their teams, to empower founders and teams to help their organisations build, grow and scale.
The aspirations of the Scottish Government for the Highlands and Islands, looking towards 2030 are to make the area a world-renowned net zero and fair work region, maximising economic and community benefits from strategic opportunities arising from our distinctive natural, cultural and built assets and through a continuation of a strong place-based approach. Also, it will become a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable region attracting more people to live, work, study, invest and visit. For this to happen, Techscaler and programmes like it will work with founders to develop their tech startups within the tech ecosystem, to grow the economy of Scotland beyond, and encourage new companies with the success of Skyscanner and FanDuel.
So far, the Highlands and Islands’ Techscaler hub has welcomed the community to events like Unfiltered (a monthly networking event) and the Summer Sessions (celebrating the success of startup teams in the region). An event in August saw Venture Capitalists from North America visit Inverness, where founders had the opportunity to ask questions of a seasoned panel of investors, pitch their ideas and receive invaluable feedback. The first AcclerateHER + Techscaler meetup in Inverness brought women and non-binary founders together with another event planned for 8 November. The team are also planning events across the Highlands and Islands region, including an Unplugged networking event and office hours on 27th and 28th September in Lerwick, Shetland, to expand the reach of the programme’s support.
The support on offer also goes beyond events. The team has actively engaged with startup founders, offering guidance, mentorship and access to resources, with a focus on nurturing local talent. Techscaler has also been instrumental in providing training and workshops on essential entrepreneurial skills, such as business development, marketing, and financial engagement. These educational initiatives, such as Startup First Steps, Startup Next Steps and Reforge membership, have equipped founders with the tools they need to navigate the complex startup landscape successfully.
Mark Sutherland, Head of Highlands & Islands Regional Engagement for CodeBase, who are delivering the Techscaler programme, said: “There are amazing things happening in the Highlands already and we’ve seen a number of exciting startups springing out of the region. There’s potential for even more people to get involved in tech startups or think about technological solutions for their businesses, and how Techscaler can help people on their startup journey.”