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DIGIT Movers and Shakers | July 2021

Ross Kelly

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recruitment news
In the July edition of DIGIT’s Movers and Shakers column, we explore the top recruitment and awards news from Scotland’s digital technology sector.

Recruitment News

UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3)

recruitment

Ciara Mitchell, Cluster Manager for Scotland’s Cyber Cluster at ScotlandIS, has been appointed as a board member with the role of Ecosystem Development Lead in the new UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3).

The appointment comes at a time when Scotland is becoming increasingly recognised as a centre of expertise in both cyber and tech cluster management.

In her new role, Mitchell will focus on supporting new and emerging cyber clusters, as well as connecting clusters across the UK and ensuring the Scottish ecosystem has opportunities to build partnerships with organisations throughout the UK.

ScotlandIS Cyber recently joined Global Ecosystems Partnership in Innovation and Cybersecurity (Global EPIC), an ecosystem of cyber clusters and innovation partners aimed at facilitating global collaboration among cybersecurity ecosystems.

Commenting on the announcement, Mitchell said: “As the value of clusters to the tech sector is becoming more recognised, I am delighted to be taking a leading UK role in the new UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration and to be participating in the Global Ecosystems Partnership in Innovation and Cybersecurity.

“There is a growing understanding of the expertise here in Scotland on cluster management and the opportunity to build on a thriving cyber sector. Scotland truly is a global leader in this regard, and we look forward to sharing our insights and delivering benefits to our members.”

Richard Yorke, Chair of UKC3, said: “I’m delighted that Ciara Mitchell from ScotlandIS Cyber is leading the UKC3’s Ecosystem Development Working Group.

“Identifying and developing new partnerships across the cyber industry and adjacent sectors is a fundamental ingredient for growth and Ciara’s collaborative approach is ideally suited to working with clusters to achieve this.”


Creative Edinburgh

July saw Creative Edinburgh confirm the appointment of Ola Wojtkiewicz as its new Executive Director.

In her new role, Wojtkiewicz will ensure Creative Edinburgh can provide the highest levels of support and engagement to its growing membership, and help the organisation to innovate and find new ways of helping creative practitioners.

She brings with her a high level of experience in Scotland’s creative sector, having previously held the role of programme associate at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Additionally, Wojtkiewicz has previously worked in senior roles in other arts organisations in Scotland and Europe, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh College of Art, the National Galleries of Scotland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Czytelnia Sztuki Gallery in Poland.

Jim Hollington, the Chair of The Board at Creative Edinburgh, commented: “The creative and cultural sectors have been some of the hardest hit by the global pandemic. As we move out of lockdown, we need to ensure that those sectors, and the businesses, freelancers, performers, practitioners and artists across the city receive the support they need to help them not just survive, but thrive.

“We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Ola to the Creative Edinburgh team. Her experience and expertise will be invaluable to the organisation as we refine our strategy for the future and provide the highest levels of support for our members.”

Commenting on her appointment, Wojtkiewicz said: “Over the last 10 years, Creative Edinburgh has established itself as an integral part of the city’s creative infrastructure. From an active and engaged community, through to a carefully curated calendar of events, the organisation has been an invaluable resource for every creative in Edinburgh, no matter what sector or discipline they come from.

“I am thrilled to join Creative Edinburgh at such a crucial moment for the arts and creative industries. We have a strong base to build upon and a vibrant, ever growing membership. I am looking forward to working with the rest of the team, the board and the steering group, to help the organisation navigate the challenges and opportunities of the future.”


Forecast

recruitment news

Edinburgh-headquartered data consultancy business, Forecast, appointed Ewan Nicolson as Head of Data Science last month.

Forecast said the new hire will bolster the firm’s ambition to build out its media and technology function and help support both sustainable growth and people development.

As part of Ewan joining the team, Paul van Loon, Forecast’s Head of Advanced Analytics has been promoted to become a Director of Forecast in the UK.

Nicolson joins Forecast following a 15-year career in data science and management leadership roles for both Skyscanner and the BBC.

He joined Skyscanner at the start of its journey as a startup with just two people working in data, contributing to its growth over a seven-year-period to become a renowned tech unicorn.

For the past two years, Nicolson has held the position of Lead Data Scientist at the BBC, where he headed up a team of data scientists responsible for creating personalised audience experiences.

Neil Macdonald, founder of Forecast, said:  “Ewan is a fantastic hire and we are hugely excited about what he can bring to key Forecast verticals including media and technology.

“His vast experience in people development in high-growth teams will give us the foundations we need to grow sustainably, while maintaining service quality excellence.”

Ewan Nicolson, Head of Data Science, said: “I’m as excited to join Forecast as I was when I started working at Skyscanner some 10 years ago. It is one of Edinburgh’s, if not the UK’s, most exciting data firms with a hugely ambitious and humble team. I look forward to working with Forecast’s talented data scientists and nurturing talent to help support the firm’s continued growth.”


Brightsolid

Brightsolid, the hybrid cloud managed service provider, confirmed the appointment of Alan Gardiner as Chief Marketing Officer in July.

In his new role, Gardiner will lead Brightsolid’s marketing and communications strategy, working in partnership with the organisation’s sales and product development teams to extend the company’s market position.

Gardiner joins the organisation from managed cloud provider Six Degrees Group, where he was marketing director, and previously led group marketing at iomart. He has also held positions with Tesco Bank, Verint-Systems and NHS Health Scotland.

Welcoming Gardiner, Brightsolid CEO Elaine Maddison commented: “Alan’s experience and reputation in the industry are second to none. The team and I have worked hard to drive the business forward despite the challenges of the past year and ensure that we can support our clients as they look to take advantage of cloud either for the first time or extend their use of it to digitally transform.

“Alan’s appointment will allow us to continue on this journey, and he will provide a much-needed link between our sales and product teams with the market to ensure our message is heard loud and clear.”

Gardiner added: “Having worked in the managed services sector for the last six years, I have seen how Brightsolid has evolved and extended its brand story.

“The vision and plans that the senior team has for the company were a major appeal for me in joining Brightsolid, and its relationship with AWS provides a springboard for it to further support the company’s clients in their digital transformation journeys. I hope to add to this and extend the company’s lead in the sector in Scotland.”

The new appointment follows news that Brightsolid has obtained AWS Public Sector Partner status, building on the strong track record the company has in working in partnership with central government, local authority, NHS and education sector in Scotland.


Cumulus Oncology

recruitment news

Cumulus Oncology appointed Nicola Broughton as a Non-executive Director as the drug discovery accelerator continues to scale up and target its next investment round.

Broughton, a former Investment Director at Mercia Asset Management, is the managing partner and co-founder of Oskare Capital, and is an experienced life sciences investor, executive and non-executive director with strong expertise in identifying and supporting university spin-outs.

Cumulus CEO and co-founder, Clare Wareing, commented: “While Nicola has been on our advisory board since last June, we wanted to get her more involved with the business and we couldn’t be happier to expand this in a more formal role.  Her know-how and experience of the sector is second-to-none, and she brings a multi-faceted perspective having both helped to lead and invest in UK life sciences and biotech.”

Broughton added: “Cumulus is one of the most exciting companies on the UK life sciences scene. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Clare and the team for several months now and the time seemed right to step into the NXD position as the company moves into its next phase of growth.”

Clive Stanway and Jackie Walling also joined Cumulus’s advisory board, the firm revealed.

Stanway was the long-standing chief scientific officer at Cancer Research Technology, a specialist commercialisation and development company owned by Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity.

San Francisco-based Jackie Walling is a veteran pharmaceutical executive with extensive experience in the global development of anticancer drugs.

Wareing said: “Clive and Jackie bring unique skills to our advisory board and, in Jackie’s case, her addition to gives us an important bridgehead into the North American market as we look to expand Cumulus’s network and activities there over the next twelve to eighteen months.”


ScotlandIS

recruitment news

Last month saw ScotlandIS announce the appointment of Alison McLaughlin as Chair.

McLaughlin has a storied career in Scotland’s tech sector. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, she worked for many years in Sopra Steria where she was pivotal to the company’s growth in Scotland.

She has recently joined the Scottish tech company Exception as their new Sales Director, having moved from her role as Head of Digital Transformation at the Scottish Government.

Commenting on her appointment, McLaughlin said: “Scotland has an enviable reputation as a centre of collaborative growth in the tech sector. I am delighted to be the new Chair of ScotlandIS, which represents Scotland’s burgeoning tech scene.”

Want to find out more? Check out the full story here.


Recommended


The Data Lab

recruitment news

Former Accenture Scotland MD, Les Bayne, has been named as chair of the innovation centre for data and AI, The Data Lab.

Bayne, the founder of business growth platform Alba Arete, replaces Mark Hunter whose three-year tenure in the role recently came to an end.

He joins the centre as it continues to focus on supporting organisations as they seek to better utilise data and AI to inform their future and drive growth.

In his previous role at Accenture, Bayne oversaw a series of acquisitions, including Symantec’s Cyber Security Services business. The firm also acquired Deja vu Security, iDefense, Maglan, Redcore, Arismore and FusionX. Bayne will now bring these leadership skills and expertise across to The Data Lab.

Commenting on the appointment, Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, said: “Scotland is on the precipice of a data and AI-led future which will support organisations of all sizes and across all sectors to make more informed decisions.

“Les is a champion of business and the wider tech sector and, given his depth of experience, I am confident that he will steer The Data Lab’s bold growth ambitions, expanding the excellence of data and AI-driven organisations in Scotland.”

Want to find out more? Check out the full story here.


Awards News

Akari Solutions

Akari Solutions has been named a finalist of Microsoft Modern Workplace for Frontline Workers 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award.

The company was honoured among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.

Margaret Totten, managing Director at Akari Solutions said: “We are truly honoured to have been selected a finalist at this year’s awards. The last 12 months has been the most perfect imperfect year for everyone. However, despite the obvious challenges the pandemic has brought, we’ve still managed to grow more than 127% and continue to deliver solutions that positively impact our customers and their wellbeing.”

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered outstanding Microsoft-based solutions during the past year.

Awards were classified in various of categories, with honourees chosen from a set of more than 4,400 submitted nominations from more than 100 countries worldwide. Akari Solutions was recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in Modern Workplace for Frontline Workers.

Akari have delivered more Frontline Worker engagements in FY21 than any other UK Partner, enabling retail and healthcare organisations to continue to deliver essential and lifesaving jobs during the Covid pandemic using Microsoft Teams.

From providing connected, co-ordinated care for NHS workers, to building an innovative solution to allow one of the UK’s council to facilitate a safe return to hybrid working.

Rodney Clark, corporate vice president, Global Partner Solutions, Channel Sales and Channel Chief, Microsoft, said: “I am honoured to announce the winners and finalists of the 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards.

“These remarkable partners have displayed a deep commitment to building world-class solutions for customers—from cloud-to-edge—and represent some of the best and brightest our ecosystem has to offer.”


Inspire Launch Grow 2021 Awards

recruitment news

A grip-strengthening robotic glove, an app to better connect restaurants and food suppliers and a system to measure forest health using satellites were named among the winners of the University of Edinburgh’s annual awards for student entrepreneurs.

The three startup businesses were recognised at the Inspire Launch Grow 2021 awards, run by Edinburgh Innovations, and selected by an expert judging panel from a shortlist of 14 finalists.

In the Emerging Enterprise category, the winners were undergraduate student Armin Ghofrani and recent graduates Thomas Billam and Gauthier Collas with their business NextChain.

The team have developed an app to improve the food supply chain process for restaurants, promising chefs they can “say goodbye to phone calls, emails, paperwork and mistakes”.

Commenting on the win, Armin Ghofrani said: “We are so grateful for the support and help we’ve received from EI – particularly the co-working space where we got to interact with so many inspiring people. We really wanted to help businesses adapt to the tough conditions they face and with this boost we hope to continue to grow our user base in Edinburgh.”

Two recent engineering graduates took the Impact Award for social enterprises focused on change for common good.

Rowan Armstrong and Ross O’Hanlon are the founders of Bioliberty, developing a lightweight robotic glove which strengthens grip and a digital therapy platform which helps develop natural hand strength.

O’Hanlon said: “It has been a tough year, but we’ve managed to use that time really productively. We’re thrilled to be recognised. It’s obviously a team effort and I’d really like to thank everyone who’s supported us along the way.”

Finally, Thibault Sorret, a masters student in Ecosystems, Wildlife and Ecosystems Health, took the Innovation Award for technology-based businesses.

His startup, Wildsense, monitors forest health using satellite imagery to help foresters better adapt to climate-change-related risks.

Sorret commented: “I’m really grateful for the university and EI’s support helping me take my academic work and translating it into real world impact. Hopefully we can inspire even more students to take the plunge and develop even more amazing and positive ideas.”

Lorna Baird, Enterprise Development Manager at Edinburgh Innovations said: “It’s been an incredibly hard year for our student startups but throughout they have shown resilience, ambition and determination; showing us all that they can triumph even in a pandemic.

“Our Inspire Launch Grow Awards is our way of celebrating their true grit! Well done to all the finalists and winners. We are incredibly proud of what you have achieved.”


Incremental

Incremental has been honoured by Microsoft for its “outstanding sales achievement, dedication to customers and innovation around the Microsoft Cloud”.

The firm announced it had achieved the prestigious Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle award for the third consecutive year. Membership in this group is based on sales achievements that rank Incremental in the top tier of Microsoft’s Business Applications global network of partners.

Inner Circle members have performed to a high standard of excellence by delivering valuable solutions that help organisations achieve increased success. 2

021/2022 Inner Circle members are invited to the Inner Circle Summit in March 2022 as well as virtual meetings where they have a unique opportunity to share strategy and network with Microsoft senior leaders and fellow partners.

This recognition of Inner Circle for Microsoft Business Applications coincided with Microsoft Inspire, the annual premier partner event, which took place July 14-15, 2021.

Neil Logan, Incremental’s Chief Executive Officer said: “I’m delighted Incremental has achieved Inner Circle for Microsoft Business Applications for the third year running. The last year saw Incremental successfully navigate the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and deliver a remarkably successful year.

“We continued our momentum of securing new clients and continued on our acquisition path welcoming Redspire, an independent Microsoft Dynamics partner to the group. This acquisition brought our current headcount to over 200 Incrementalists and deepened our Microsoft knowledge and capabilities even further.”

“Our performance over the last year has kept us within this elite group of the world’s best Microsoft Business Applications partners. This would not have been possible without the great work all our Incrementalists do for our customers.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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