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DIGIT Movers and Shakers | September 2021

David Paul

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movers and shakers
The September edition of the DIGIT Movers and Shakers column is a bumper month of partnership, recruitment and awards news.

Recruitment

The National Robotarium and Innovate UK

The National Robotarium has marked a major milestone with the appointment of its first chief executive officer.

Stewart Miller, former chief technology officer at Innovate UK, has been confirmed as chief executive and brings with him a wealth of experience in aerospace technology development.

In his new role, Miller will be tasked with building the National Robotarium into a globally recognised centre of excellence for AI and Robotics, working directly with business to accelerate innovation and drive value from the centre’s research.

Commenting on his appointment, Miller said: “It’s a huge honour to take up this role, helping set the direction of the National Robotarium which has enormous potential to transform lives.

“It is clear to me that this role presents an extraordinary opportunity to build productive global partnerships, creating economic, environmental and societal benefits.

“I look forward to working with research teams, students, and partners across industries and governments as we grow the National Robotarium’s influence and impact.”

Professor Richard A Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, commented: “Stewart’s appointment is a significant moment as we drive forward our collective research and education strengths to lead innovation in this area and to ensure, working with partners, we catalyse the talent pipeline needed to serve this fast-growing sector.”

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The Scotland 5G Centre

Two key appointments were made by The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) to strengthen the S5GConnect team tasked to accelerate the adoption of 5G through hubs in major urban and rural locations across the country.

Lara Moloney has been appointed as the Head of the S5GConnect Programme – a Scottish Government funded initiative, supporting the establishment of a network of regional urban and rural hubs across Scotland. Her main role is to oversee the growth and development of the hubs and facilitate effective relationships with key partners and stakeholders.

Commenting on her appointment, Moloney said: “I am thrilled to be joining the fantastic S5GC team and to be supporting Scotland’s ambitions around connectivity, innovation and 5G.

“It is an exciting time for the industry to understand the benefits of 5G and how it can transform their business to support increased cost savings, efficiencies and to be increasingly competitive in the global market.”

Philip Petersen joins the S5GConnect team as Business Engagement Manager for Dundee, heading up the Centre’s Dundee innovation hub. Prior to joining The Scotland 5G Centre, Philip worked with deep tech scaleups across Europe, advising on raising investment and business development, opening doors to new opportunities for them. Philip said:

He said: “Dundee is such a vibrant centre for digital innovation in Scotland and beyond, reaching across multiple sectors. I look forward to working with the innovators in the region to bring projects to life that are made possible only through the adoption of 5G. The S5GConnect Dundee Hub will be a wonderful resource to accelerate that through collaboration.”

The S5GC is also boosting its marketing effort to raise awareness for the hubs. Nicola Graham has been appointed as Marketing Assistant in the Marketing Team.

Nicola joins the Scotland 5G Centre from the Marketing and Communications team in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde.


Chromacity

Laser manufacturer Chromacity announced that laser expert Dr John Lincoln is joining the company’s strategic advisory board.

Lincoln is chief executive of the UK’s Photonics Leadership Group, which provides guidance to the UK government to highlight opportunities for maximising the growth and adoption of lasers and photonic technologies.

Additionally, he also holds roles at a variety of photonics associations, including The Future Photonics Hub and SPIE, where he is strategic advisor for Europe.

Commenting on his role, Lincoln said: “I’ve been in the laser industry for 30 years and was involved in the first wave of pioneering ultrafast lasers.

“It’s now intriguing to be involved in Chromacity, who are taking the next step and enhancing complex systems, such as OPOs, with remote installation capability and plug-and-play functionality.”

Lincoln said that Chromacity, which develops ultrafast lasers for a wide range of academic and industrial applications, is ideally positioned to capitalise on the growing advanced materials market.

“The key to working with these advanced materials – processing them and measuring them – is having agility in the wavelength of your lasers,” he added.

“Chromacity’s nonlinear method of converting laser wavelength provides the agility needed to make tunable laser wavelengths and to adapt to the world of advanced materials.

“I’m interested in companies that are inherently flexible in laser technology, and Chromacity has that at its core.”

Lincoln’s appointment follows Chromacity’s recent growth funding round of £1.2m, most of which was earmarked for team expansion to accelerate the company’s growth.

Shahida Imani, CEO of Chromacity, said: “With his vast depth of knowledge and experience in the development of ultrashort-pulsed lasers, we’re thrilled to welcome John to our advisory board.

“Crucially, John also brings an in-depth understanding of the emerging opportunities for ultrafast lasers and photonics – from government-led policy to shifts in corporate thinking, and how that can establish future direction.”


Inoapps

Oracle partner Inoapps announced the addition of four new leaders as the company executes on a programme to double in size through organic growth and acquisitions in September.

The firm is about to exceed 500 employees across the US, the UK and Asia-Pacific, with a customer-driven goal to rapidly double in size to 1,000 employees, all focused on helping companies realise the value of Oracle software and technologies.

Debra Lilley brings more than 25 years of Oracle consulting leadership to her new role as Inoapps Vice President of Delivery Growth and Excellence. Most recently, she had been the Oracle Human Capital Management Practice Lead for Accenture’s Oracle Business Group Europe.

Greg Guido joins Inoapps as Senior Vice President of Application Sales for North America and is based in the United States. He brings 15 years of software experience and holds a B.S. from Northern Illinois University.

Deborah McFarlane has 20 years of recruiting and business development experience to bring to her new role as Inoapps Head of Talent Acquisition.

Duncan Davies brings two decades of Oracle Cloud Human Capital Management and Peoplesoft experience to his new role as Inoapps Human Capital Management Practice Director.

Inoapps CEO Andy Bird said: “We have the strongest talent in the market—people with great skills and customer focus. To double in size again, we have to attract the best talent so that we can maintain our high level of customer satisfaction.

“This means we must not only attract senior people like these, but pursue multiple channels to attract and win those at different stages of their careers. We have long offered a training program for recent university graduates, giving them a rapid way to ramp up their technical skills.

“We will also continue (and expand) hiring through CodeClan, Scotland’s national digital skills academy. On top of this, we are enjoying an influx of boomerang employees who want to be part of the growth and dynamism we are experiencing.

“We will continue to evolve as an organisation with the specific goal of being the preferred place in the Oracle ecosystem to have a career.”

Even as the company grows, Inoapps’ hiring will stay disciplined, Bird added: “Our plan is to laser-focus on Oracle software and technology. Oracle is in a solid leadership position given its tremendous investments in research and development augmented by acquired technologies.

“We want people to know that if they need help deriving value from their Oracle investments, they can ask Inoapps. While many Oracle partners are starting to promote multi cloud offerings, we are 100% dedicated to our partnership with Oracle.”


Exasol

Exasol has announced that Donald Kaye will join the leadership team as Chief Commercial Officer from 15 October 2021.

In his role as CCO, Donald will be responsible for aligning and optimizing all go-to-market operations to drive Exasol’s global growth strategy.

With over two decades of international experience in the software industry, including leadership roles in the USA with Microsoft and Apple, Donald joins Exasol from Ground Labs, a market leading provider in sensitive data discovery.

Commenting on his new role, Kaye said: “There is no denying that data has become one of the most crucial assets in an organisation’s arsenal. And yet, despite its importance, businesses are still struggling to derive valuable insights from their data. This challenge facing pretty much every organisation in the world means Exasol is uniquely placed to help them solve it.

“It’s exactly for this reason that I am thrilled to be joining the Exasol team. Not only is the technology world-class, but I also admire what the senior leadership team have done so far to get the business to where it is today. I look forward to being a part of the next chapter for Exasol.”

Aaron Auld, Chief Executive Officer, added: “I am very pleased that Donald is joining the executive team of Exasol. Donald brings a clear-minded approach to business and a wealth of international sales experience to the role.

“He understands the key success drivers and knows how to execute. I am confident that Donald is a perfect fit for Exasol and as a key member of the executive team he will be instrumental in helping to shape our future.”


Edinburgh Napier University

Professor Peter Andras has joined the Napier University Senior Leadership Team as Dean of the Schools of Computing, and Engineering & the Built Environment.

Andras takes the reins at the Schools of Computing and Engineering & the Built Environment, and will continue the work of developing stronger ties across the two Schools.

He comes to Edinburgh from Keele University, where he headed up the School of Computing and Mathematics, and has a wealth of experience in leadership, education portfolio development and governance roles.

Commenting on his role, Professor Andras said: “The Schools of Computing, and Engineering and the Built Environment, have an excellent reputation in cyber security, timber research and sustainable construction, social informatics, transport policy research, evolutionary optimisation and renewable energy.

“We have increasingly popular programmes and very active and wide-ranging engagement with industry. These provide a fantastic foundation to grow our research strength, educational portfolio and industry engagement in areas aligned with the Industry 4.0 revolution.”

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal & Vice Chancellor at Edinburgh Napier University, added: “We are delighted to welcome Peter to the Senior Leadership Team at Edinburgh Napier as we look forward with excitement to the new academic year and beyond. He brings a wealth of academic experience to what is a key role, and I know he is very much looking forward to building relationships with our staff, students and external stakeholders.”


FlexMedical Solutions

Scottish diagnostics specialist FlexMedical Solutions aims to double its headcount to more than 30 over the year as part of a major new £1m investment.

In addition, the Livingston-based company will add new equipment and leasehold improvements as it creates five new R&D labs and additional office facilities.

CEO and co-founder Kevin Fallon said: “Human diagnostics is very much in the headlines due to the pandemic, with governments and investors alike having their eyes opened to the power of diagnostics, particularly around point-of-care, and we’ve seen that impact positively on the business.

“If you look at the UK alone, healthcare economics now demand that more people are managed at home to lower the chance of the NHS being overburdened.

“Other than an initial lockdown wobble, we have been very fortunate to see continuing sustained growth since the pandemic started.

“While the manufacture and development of Covid tests is a relatively small part of the business, and in fact we were growing as rapidly pre-pandemic, what we think is more important is that we are definitely seeing an indirect upside in terms of increased investor activity and a greater appetite and take-up of point-of-care technology in general.”

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Amazon

Amazon has announced its intention to hire for 100 tech and corporate jobs locally in Scotland.

Edinburgh was Amazon’s first research and development centre outside of North America and it has a ‘well-earned reputation as a global centre for innovation, software engineering and machine learning.’

Graeme Smith, Managing Director, Amazon Development Centre Scotland (ACDS), said: “These highly skilled jobs join our incredibly talented teams in Scotland and provide exciting opportunities for those who want to be at the cutting edge of global technology.

“Our employees benefit hundreds of millions of customers around the world by focusing on personalised shopping recommendations, digital advertising and research and development.”

Amazon has more than 2,500 employees in Scotland – across the Amazon Development Centre in Edinburgh, fulfilment centres in Dunfermline and Gourock, as well as the Prime Now site in Glasgow, Customer Service Centre in Edinburgh and delivery stations in Edinburgh, Dundee, Bathgate, Aberdeen, Baillieston and Motherwell.

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Hy-Met Limited, Logan Energy and Warwick Uni

Midlands-based SME Hy-Met Limited will work with Logan Energy, and the WMG department at the University of Warwick will deliver the Hydrogen Prototype Equipment for the Refuelling (HyPER) project.

A “next-generation” hydrogen flowmeter will be developed that will be used for refuelling systems. It will be lightweight, smaller, more cost effective and more accurate than current instruments.

The aim is to reduce the cost of hydrogen refuelling and enable the wider adoption of hydrogen by transport fleets and other users.

Commenting on the partnership, Nishal Ramadas, co-founder and CEO of Hy-Met, said: “Since launching Hy-Met in January, we’ve been motoring ahead with our plans to help with the transition to net zero.

“With our innovative measurement platform, Hy-Met is combining our deep hardware and software expertise to tackle some of the complex measurement challenges facing the hydrogen sector.

“When building the consortium, we knew we needed partners with detailed knowledge of the requirements for hydrogen refuelling and advanced manufacturing and prototyping capabilities.

“Our choice of project partners was clear, and we are very happy Logan Energy and WMG have joined us in tackling this refuelling challenge.”

Bill Ireland, Chief Executive at Logan Energy, said: “Using hydrogen to power lorries is one of the key steps towards helping Scotland and the UK tackle the climate emergency.

“Making the switch from burning diesel to using hydrogen will cut the amount of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases being pumped into the atmosphere.

“There are a number of advancements we need to take before hydrogen becomes commonplace on our roads and one of the crucial elements is making it cheap and easy to refuel.”

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Global

30 tech jobs will be created this year across engineering, data, and product with the launch of the Scotland Tech Hub.

Global combines the UK’s leading commercial radio business with one of the UK’s leading outdoor media companies, employing more than 1,200 people at 21 broadcast centres, offices and warehouses across the UK.

Speaking about the company’s further investment in Scotland, David Henderson, Global’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “Glasgow is a city that has built a vibrant and thriving technology economy.

“From leading technological institutions to dot coms, there is an outstanding digital skills set in Scotland, which we recognise as a fantastic opportunity to help us build the future of audio and pioneering ad tech.

“Global’s digital transformation is happening at a colossal rate and our Scotland Tech Hub will be instrumental in building the technologies that transform our industry.”

Mark Hallan, Director of Global Investment, SDI at Scottish Enterprise, added: “Global’s new tech hub in Glasgow looks very exciting and underlines the company’s commitment to Scotland.

“This was a project SDI was pleased to support and will deliver a number of highly-skilled, tech-related job opportunities for our workforce. Scotland is increasingly renowned internationally as a digital tech leader due to its vibrant start-up scene and world-class universities.

“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, promoting our strengths in this sector will be a key priority for SDI as we tell the world that Scotland is very much open for business.”

Earlier this month Global announced Gina Davidson had been appointed Scotland Political Editor as part of its commitment to strengthen LBC’s nationwide political coverage.

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Partnerships and Contracts

Talking Medicines and Socialgist

Data insights firm Talking Medicines has signed a contract with Socialgist to increase its data source coverage and improve health outcomes for patients.

Talking Medicine’s AI platform, PatientMetRx offers a way listening to how patients are experiencing medicines in the real world and expressing the effectiveness of those medicines through a Patient Confidence Score.

Working with Socialgist will allow Talking Medicines to ethically accessed high-quality, patient rich publicly available data sources can then be distilled into actionable insights through PatientMetRx.

Commenting on the move, Talking Medicines Founder and COO, Dr Elizabeth Fairley, said: “For too long, the gap between patients and pharma has been restrictive in letting companies really understand how patients feel about their medicines and where they would like to see products improved.

“We are committed to finding the patient voice, wherever it is, making sure those insights are heard to help drive key decisions within pharmaceutical companies as well as improving outcomes for patients.

“PatientMetRx allows us to understand how patients are feeling about and reacting to launched medicines and this new partnership with Socialgist gives us access to a diverse multitude of sources, in hard-to-reach places, which will add an extra level of insight to our platform for our customers.”

Jay Krall, Chief Product Officer at Socialgist, added: “A decade ago, healthcare providers weren’t among the first industries to derive useful insights from public social media. Now, leading firms like Talking Medicines are helping them achieve a new understanding of the patient experience.

“We’re proud to partner with them to increase signal for analysts and researchers, while ensuring privacy protection.”


Prestwick Airport spaceport and Astraius

Glasgow Prestwick Airport spaceport development project took a giant leap after securing a launch partner last month.

In partnership with South Ayrshire Council, the airport signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UK-based horizontal ‘air launch’ company Astraius.

The agreement will see Astraius deploy its horizontal launch technology as part of Prestwick’s spaceport development. This will allow the spaceport to launch rockets carrying small satellites from high altitude.

Scottish Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee stated: “The MoU with Astraius as a launch partner is great news for the Prestwick Spaceport and signifies a major step towards bringing horizontal launch capability to Scotland.

“Our ambition is for Scotland to be Europe’s leading space nation and to have a £4bn share of the global space market by 2030, whilst developing launch capability – both vertical and horizontal – to serve small satellite producers.

“The announcement today brings us a step closer to achieving our ambition and proves once again the versatility and dynamism of the Scottish space sector.”

Commercial Director at Glasgow Prestwick Airport Zoe Kilpatrick said: “Glasgow Prestwick Airport is perfectly positioned to become a leading provider of space launch services after being at the forefront of aviation and aerospace for almost 100 years.

“In Astraius we have identified a partner with the vision, expertise, and proven technology to help fast-track our ambition to become Europe’s premier launch location, offering spaceflight as part of a proposition that stretches beyond launch, bringing a wide range of space related benefits to the region. This is both commercially exciting for the flagship element of Prestwick’s established aerospace hub and an important strategic step in developing launch capability for the UK.

“Partnering with the right service provider is critical for any launch location and Astraius is best suited to provide the required impetus and momentum to this exciting endeavour.”

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Optiseller

Optiseller, the e-commerce data experts head-quartered in Stirling, have announced a partnership with the University of Stirling for its Graduate Apprentice Programme.

Graduate Apprentices work for their employer whilst studying and developing their skills at university. Two students are currently working with Optiseller and studying for their BSc Graduate Apprenticeship in Data Science, allowing them to benefit from both high-quality teaching and work-based learning: Graeme Lavery and Duncan Hayward, supported by Optiseller’s Head of Data, Jamie McLaughlin.

Mario Kolberg, Senior Lecturer in Computing Science and Course Director at the University of Stirling commented: “We are delighted to partner with Optiseller on our Graduate Apprenticeship in the Data Science programme, and we welcome the students who have joined us.

“University of Stirling graduates will play a key role in supporting the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and this programme provides a route into education for many, while offering employers such as Optiseller opportunities to upskill and develop existing or attract new talent, ready to make a positive impact in their company and the Scottish economy.”

Louise Findlay, Head of HR at Optiseller, explains: “Learning and Development is one of our key focuses, and the Graduate Apprenticeships in Data Science give us the opportunity to provide invaluable work experience whilst supporting our people to achieve additional qualifications.

“We are excited for Graeme and Duncan to expand their knowledge and experience through this course. They will be given the opportunity to learn how to collect, manage and analyse fast-moving data working alongside our experts, and we hope they grow and develop within the company for years to come.”


Bright Purple and Product Forge

Recruiter Bright Purple and tech event firm Product Forge are joining forces to host a climate ‘hackathon’ ahead of COP26.

Products for the Planet is taking place from the 5th-7th November at The Melting Pot in Edinburgh, with teams set to have a blend of in-person and remote participants.

The two firms said the hybrid event will focus on “people power,” with teams tasked to “develop digital innovations” that educate, empower, and inspire the public to act against climate challenges.

Participants with a range of skills are encouraged to “play their part” at the event, forming teams with support from industry experts and mentors to develop real-world solutions to combat the climate crisis.

Commenting on the Hackathon, Allan Lloyds, director of Product Forge, said: “We believe hackathons can directly involve the public in the response to climate change, and we’re actually tasking our teams to develop solutions to further drive public engagement, whether by enabling consumers to make more informed decisions, or assessing whether organisations and governments are meeting their climate targets.”

Co-organiser Abby Scott at Bright Purple added: “COP26 is set to be a pivotal time for the climate crisis, and COP themselves have expressed that public involvement, education and empowerment are central to the climate action process.

“Bright Purple wanted to find a way for our network to make their own impact at this time and as a business in the tech industry, what better way to do it than with a hackathon.

“We are delighted to be working with the experts at Product Forge to make this happen.”

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The University of Edinburgh and Royal Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland and The University of Edinburgh have partnered to help Scottish SMEs prepare for net zero and become climate change leaders.

The new £1-million programme will combine the expertise of the University’s Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) and Royal Bank’s business banking specialists.

Together, they help firms identify the opportunities a net zero economy can create while helping make their operations more sustainable.

Being funded by Royal Bank, the partnership will focus on Small to Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and aims to assist more than 500 businesses.

ECCI Executive Director Professor Dave Reay said: “Our Institute brings together unique partnerships to find the most effective ways to tackle the global challenge of climate change.

“Small businesses have so much to contribute to the transition to a net zero economy, but they need support to understand where they can have most impact and to recognise and respond to the opportunities it presents.

“We’re delighted to be working alongside the Royal Bank to help their small business customers to be climate champions.”

Chair of the Scotland Board at the Royal Bank of Scotland Malcolm Buchanan added: “We are delighted to work with the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Climate Change Institute to deliver a programme which will make a real difference to the country’s SME community.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of the Scottish economy and as the country prepares to host COP26 in November the work that the ECCI and Royal Bank is about to undertake and the insight it can offer becomes more relevant than ever.

“Royal Bank of Scotland’s 300 Fund aims to support projects which drive meaningful and positive change and as a principle partner for COP26, it feels right to work with the University of Edinburgh to help the country and our communities prepare for a greener future.”

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Commsworld and Scotland’s Towns Partnership

Commsworld has announced a new digital partnership with Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP).

The Edinburgh-headquartered firm will work with STP to support its key Digital Towns initiative so organisations in STP’s Scotland Improvement Districts the length and breadth of the country are more tech-focused, bringing new data-driven and sustainable benefits to communities that can be shared widely and more equally among citizens.

Additionally, the partnership underlines the vital importance of reliable connectivity and excellent digital infrastructure to breathe new life into areas hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This will help more businesses and organisations adapt to sell products online, as well as supporting firms which rely on better bandwidth to communicate with customers and suppliers.

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of STP, said: “We are delighted to announce our new partnership with Commsworld, a leading UK Telecommunications Network Provider and ISP. They support their customers in both the public and private sectors with their business-critical voice, data and internet technologies across the UK.

“Commsworld was the first network operator to connect to all of the country’s Internet Exchanges, and linking up major cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London to its network.

“Digital transformation is imperative for public and private sector organisations, and as climate change and net zero commitments are at the centre of policy debate in Scotland and the UK, at STP we recognise the challenges, but the necessity to encourage a more sustainable and efficient future for Scotland’s towns, whilst ensuring a just transition for the communities that live in them.

“As we look towards COP26 in Glasgow in November, we are eager to commit to making real, tenable changes with our partners and members as we work together to a cleaner, greener future for Scotland.”

Bruce Strang, Chief Operating Officer at Commsworld, added: “We are hugely excited to be partnering with STP. Together, we aim to ensure businesses in rural towns and villages through Scotland are fully aware of the massive benefits that high quality and highly resilient connectivity can bring.”


SOSE and CivTech

A MoU between SOSE and the CivTech programme aims to provide innovative solutions and positive.

In a first for a Scottish enterprise agency, the partnership seeks to drive innovation in the public sector by collaboratively solving problems.

Jane Morrison-Ross, SOSE’s Chief Executive, said: “This new partnership with CivTech will aim to provide inclusive opportunities for community groups, third sector and public sector organisations across the South of Scotland to access innovation, or indeed create innovative solutions.

“This agreement reinforces SOSE’s commitment to innovation, NetZero and digital development, all of which are key priorities which we want the South of Scotland to be leading on.”

SOSE is already working with the programme by co-sponsoring two CivTech Challenges, which provides innovators, entrepreneurs, start-ups or established businesses an unprecedented route to develop products the public sector needs.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, added: “As the world’s first Government-run accelerator for digital public services, CivTech works with organisations like SOSE to tackle various challenges faced across Scotland in collaboration with innovative private sector talent, experience and resources.

“As we navigate our new digital landscape, we must drive innovation in the public sector by connecting it to the nation’s tech talent, particularly SMEs and start-ups to deliver achievable and meaningful results.

“This new partnership with SOSE is another powerful example of how Tech for Good can be used in our communities to deliver better public services and improve the lives of citizens.”

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NMIS, North Ayrshire Council and CPI

National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), North Ayrshire Council and the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), are partnering to build a research centre in Ayrshire and launch a series of specialist courses this autumn.

The roll-out of these courses, delivered in conjunction with the NMIS Manufacturing Skills Academy, will help Scottish companies to improve their productivity by upskilling their processes and workforces.

Speaking about the new partnership, NMIS Chief Executive John Reid said: “The industries that make up the process manufacturing sector are of crucial importance to the country’s future prosperity, particularly as we tackle the climate emergency and recover from the pandemic,”

“This partnership is the basis for ensuring that the companies within these industries have readily-available support to help them reap the benefits of data-driven manufacturing such as an increase in productivity and reduction in waste and carbon.

“Starting with offering courses through our Manufacturing Skills Academy, we are aiming to build a solid foundation to help future-proof these key industries.”

The group said it is working to help deliver effective digital transformation strategies to other sectors.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “This new partnership with North Ayrshire Council, CPI and the NMIS will help equip companies and employees to develop the skills they need to fully capitalise on these new complex developments in manufacturing and reap the productivity and economic benefits they can bring.”

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Scottish Enterprise and AccelerateHER

Scottish Enterprise and networking group AccelerateHER have partnered to support and grow female-led companies.

Through the alliance, up to 63 additional female-founded companies across Scotland will benefit from AccelerateHER’s support programme of growth-focused initiatives.

These include a series of business scaling and investment readiness masterclasses, as well as one-to-one coaching sessions with AccelerateHER’s global network of experienced angels and additional places for female company founders on international market-building missions.

Director of Strategic Investments at Scottish Enterprise Victoria Carmichael said: “Helping Scotland’s entrepreneurs build innovative, disruptive and resilient job-creating businesses is critical to economic recovery.

“Bringing gender parity to our entrepreneurial ecosystem is a fundamental part of that process, with representation of women in entrepreneurship remaining an international concern.

“AccelerateHER is well-connected and highly regarded and has a formidable track record in helping female-led companies scale for growth, secure investment, and access international markets. We look forward to working together to help these businesses fulfil their ambitions while inspiring other women on their business development journey.”

CEO of AccelerateHER Jackie Waring said: “We’re delighted to launch this new partnership with Scottish Enterprise. This now means we can support more female founders through our established mentoring programmes and global, market-building missions.

“Growing the number of female founders accessing investment and helping them secure international market opportunities for their businesses is an economic imperative for Scotland – it’s also been our core focus since launching AccelerateHER.

“We’re excited to be extending our services to benefit Scotland’s top female-led businesses to help them maximise their full global potential.”

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Origo and Capgemini

Edinburgh-based fintech Origo has been signed up to deliver several parts of the UK Government’s Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP).

The firm signed a contract with French IT services company Capgemini to deliver the digital architecture for the PDP.

Capgemini will be providing the bulk of the pensions finder service, as well as consent and authorisation services. Additionally, the two companies will deliver a governance register, which will form a key part of the pension’s dashboard.

Commenting on the partnership, Origo CEO Anthony Rafferty said: “Origo has been fully committed to progressing pensions dashboards from the day the project was announced.

“Our 30-year history has been about delivering ground-breaking technology to make financial services more efficient and cost effective and improve outcomes for savers and investors.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Capgemini to build the core architecture of the pensions dashboards and working with PDP to help deliver the service for the benefit of UK pensions holders.”

Richard James, Programme Director of the Pensions Dashboards Programme at MaPS, added: “Today’s announcement of a digital technology supplier marks the moment when dashboards move off the drawing board, and become real.

“I’m delighted to partner with Capgemini and Origo, who really impressed us with the quality of their bid; and whose deep pensions industry expertise coupled with extensive experience of delivering major programmes makes them superb partners for the programme.

“PDP now formally moves into its delivery phase, and I am looking forward to working with our new supplier, and across the industry, to make a success of pensions dashboards, and enable individuals to take control of their retirement planning.”

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Awards and Announcements

SolarisKit

Scottish startup SolarisKit has secured a place on the Amazon Launchpad programme to help push the firm’s product to the global market.

Acceptance onto Amazon Launchpad, an invitation-only programme designed to help small companies accelerate growth, now means that SolarisKit can show its product worldwide.

The company originally found support on RBS’s Climate Entrepreneur Accelerator, a three-month digital programme providing the tools, guidance and contacts to help small firms to grow.

Commenting on the news, Dr Faisal Ghani, founder and CEO of SolarisKit, said: “This exciting next step in our journey is testament to the valuable lessons learned through Royal Bank of Scotland’s Climate Accelerator.

“Amazon Launchpad has a keen focus on supporting sustainable and we caught their eye thanks to the bank’s robust support.

“Through this new partnership, we hope to reach new markets that will enable us to make a real change to rising carbon emissions through the decarbonisation of heat and our reforestation commitment.”

SolarisKit’s previously secured £250,000 of funding from Innovate UK in January last year to help reduce both energy costs and carbon emissions to help low income families in developing countries.

Paula Ritchie, enterprise director at RBS, added: “From trials in Rwanda to the development of a new product combining the thermal collector with a water storage tank, SolarisKit’s journey has been remarkable since graduating from our Climate Accelerator.

“Amazon Launchpad is set to propel the business to further success whilst contributing to climate change in a meaningful way, and we look forward to continuing to follow Dr Ghani’s journey.”

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Filament STAC and the Smart Things Accelerator Centre

Scotland’s first Smart Things Accelerator Centre, Filament STAC, has selected the inaugural cohort of IoT companies for its 18-month accelerator programme.

Companies chosen to participate include a firm developing ‘counter-drones’, a new venture that produces wearable devices to help babies sleep and a solar energy specialist enabling farmers to heat their water supplies for free.

Filament STAC chief executive Paul Wilson said: “We always knew there was great early stage technology talent in Scotland’s IoT space, and that’s been borne out in the companies we’ve been able to select for this first cohort.

“Our aim is quite clear, we want these companies to become globally competitive within two years, capable of exporting across the world and stacking up against the best players in their respective markets.”

Over the next two years, Paul Wilson said Filament STAC plans to open international offices in Singapore and Canada. The international offices will act as ‘launchpads’ into the Asian and North American markets, the company suggested.

“We have secured some really interesting partnerships with more in the pipeline, including with some of the biggest technology companies on the planet, and that’s going to be a big differentiator for Filament STAC going forward.”

Want to read more? Click here for the full piece.


Eureka Solutions

Cloud firm Eureka Solutions recorded one of its best years after demand for its services soared during the pandemic in September.

The East Kilbride-based firm recorded an annual turnover of £4.5m in its latest financial year – a 2% growth on the previous 12-month period. It also saw enquiries double and client numbers increase by 4%.

Increased demand has already seen Eureka Solutions add 12 new staff to its 65-strong team in the past six months. Meanwhile it is drawing up plans to take its proprietary integration technology to the global market.

David Lindores, CEO of the firm, said most of the growth was driven by the firm’s renowned expertise in providing robust cloud business solutions.

“Our team deserve huge credit for this. They have stepped up and made sure that our clients enjoyed exceptional service and creative solutions during one of the most difficult times for business that anyone has ever encountered,” he said.

“Like every other employer, we’ve had to deal with fear and uncertainty, but we have focused on our clients, just as many of them turned to cloud-based software as a work from home solution.

“With our help, clients have been able to carry on delivering their products and services. That’s not just very good for them, it is good for us, as we don’t expect this to stop here.

“The pandemic has accelerated what was already happening in terms of a move towards cloud technology. Some estimate that it has accelerated the change by at least five years and businesses will continue to need expert help to manage these changes.”


Go-centric

Glasgow-based go-centric was awarded a place on a major UK Government procurement framework to deliver contact centre services in September.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) set out to appoint “the very best providers who can bring highly innovative and transformational services to this framework”.

Becoming a supplier to the framework means that go-centric has been recognised as one of the best providers of contact centre services in the UK.

The announcement strengthens go-centric’s commitment to further growth and its aim to generate more jobs for people in Glasgow and across the UK.

David Harper, chairman of go-centric, said: “We’re honoured to have been awarded a place on this framework to deliver vital services to the public.

“This is testament to the hard work and dedication of go-centric’s team in delivering outstanding service to our clients and customers, and our commitment to our people and the communities in which we work.

“Our fresh, energetic approach means that we are constantly seeking new ways to deliver better, customer-centric service.

“We look forward to further growth and generating more local jobs, and we’re excited about working with CCS so that the public sector can benefit from the innovation, talent and fantastic customer support we deliver.”


Stellium Data Centres

Stellium Data Centres has established a new Scotland office in Aberdeen as part of its growth strategy for the north UK to help the firm focus more on development of its Scottish market.

The firm has also announced a sales appointment in line with the company’s ongoing commitment and growth strategy in Scotland this month.

Gerry Murray, chief operating officer at Stellium, commented: “This an exciting time for Stellium as the company continues to experience rapid growth.

“Stellium is committed to being part of the growth of the Scottish ICT sector, the enhancement of the Scottish data centre proposition and national and international connectivity in the region.”

Greig Scott has also been appointed sales executive for Scotland and will be based in Aberdeen. He joins Stellium from the UK telecommunications network provider and ISP Converged Communication Solutions.

With his comprehensive sales experience, Greig “brings the knowledge” to help Stellium develop opportunities that will meet the growing demand for data centre services from Scottish businesses.

Murray, said: “We are delighted to have Greig on board with his proven sales and key account management experience earned at leading companies in the UK.

“He will undoubtedly help us strengthen and further develop our business propositions and complement our growing sales and business development services team.”

Scott commented: “Stellium’s data centre and network services proposition will make a profound impact on the Scottish and UK digital infrastructure landscape.

“I am delighted to have joined the sales team at Stellium and look forward to maximising the major growth opportunities that exist for our data centre and network services in Scotland.

“Bringing services closer to the end user has never been more important now that organisations are looking for increased reliability, better cost optimisation, more autonomy, lower latency, and the ability to innovate.

“Stellium’s data centre suite of co-location and network services will ensure they have the resilient infrastructure and low latency necessary to do this.”


ACT Blade, Earth Blox and ZUoS

Three Scottish climate tech companies have been selected to participate in the second cohort of Tech Nation’s Net Zero growth programme.

ACT Blade, Earth Blox and ZUoS have been chosen to take part in the programme, which is designed to support promising climate tech companies accelerating the UK’s path to net zero.

The participating companies will now be given access to long-term investment opportunities, education, talent, press opportunities and a platform with which to influence green policies, according to Tech Nation.

Commenting on the cohort reveal, Tech Nation’s Net Zero lead, Sammy Fry, said: “Every successful Net Zero scaleup is another leap closer to decarbonising the world.

“I’m proud to say that in the run up to COP26, our pioneering Net Zero growth programme gives these ambitious, high-growth climate tech scaleups the access they need to investors, insights, education, networks, and practical support.”

Gerard Grech, Founding CEO of Tech Nation, added: “Climate tech is playing an enormous role in reducing carbon emissions. Technology that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, either directly or indirectly, across all sectors of society is in hot demand.”

Want to read more? Click here for the full piece.


National Services Scotland

NHS Scotland’s cybersecurity agency is the first tenant confirmed for the new cyberQuarter research and development hub at Abertay University in Dundee.

NHS NSS (National Services Scotland) will take up accommodation in the cyberQuarter when the building opens next year, bringing 30 highly skilled jobs for the city and providing cybersecurity operations to cover Scotland’s health services.

Commenting on the announcement, NHS NSS’ Director of Digital and Security, Deryck Mitchelson, said: “NSS is proud to bring digital and security services to the new hub at cyberQuarter.

“Our work harnesses technology to transform healthcare services, or the way they’re delivered. But in this case, it has the potential to change lives in another way.

“NSS’s base will create 30 new jobs and develop the next generation of digital security specialists, simultaneously supporting their career growth whilst safeguarding NHS data.”

As part of the tenancy, NHS NSS will invite Abertay University cybersecurity students to gain work experience alongside their staff, ensuring valuable hands-on industry experience for students, as well as access to the very best graduate talent for the organisation.

It is expected that other cybersecurity organisations will either locate in the cyberQuarter or take up flexible working spaces in the building as the project rolls out, with some negotiations already underway.

Dr Natalie Coull, Head of the Division of Cybersecurity at Abertay University said: “We are delighted to be making progress on the cyberQuarter building, and to have NHS NSS basing their operations here demonstrates both the calibre of the project and our commitment to creating new, high quality cyber jobs in the Tay Cities region.

“The cyberQuarter will hugely benefit both our existing University community and the wider Scottish cyber sector, and we are now looking forward to progressing towards the next steps of the project and to seeing the fantastic new building designs taking shape.”

Want to read more? Click here for the full piece. https://digit.fyi/dundee-cyberquarter-nhs-nss/


Modulr

Edinburgh-based fintech Modulr has unveiled its new Amsterdam office, acting as a springboard for further expansion into Europe over 2022 and 23.

Modulr is expanding its European team across a number of functions – including product, compliance and business development.

Speaking about the move, Marca Wosoba, General Manager at Modulr Netherlands, said: “We want to enable the global shift towards embedded payments delivered – not by banks – but by API as default.

“The Netherlands was our first choice to establish a presence in continental Europe and gives us a solid foothold to begin eliminating payment inefficiencies for the EU’s many businesses – making payments technology work better for them.

“When it comes to taking advantage of SEPA Instant and a digital instant economy, the real differentiation for European businesses will be how smoothly funds flow at either end of the rail – a proven real-time payments engine can seriously scale potential.”

Modulr’s move comes as the firm looks to expand into other key European markets, including Spain, France and Germany.

Myles Stephenson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Modulr commented: “Across Europe, businesses and their customers are being let down by poor payments processes.

“Our mission is to remove all hidden payments inefficiencies and enable the next generation in global digital transformation – the shift towards embedded payments.”

Want to read more? Click here for the full piece.


Akari Solutions and VKY

Akari Solutions and UI Path Partner VKY Automations moved into a new space on Waterloo Street in Glasgow City Centre in September, which has so far proven to be a great creative space for collaboration and team brainstorms.

The company said that the space has provided a good area for board room for meetings, a break-out room for the techs to “do their magic” and also for any projects that are best served with a collaborative mind set.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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