Supporting Edinburgh’s tech ecosystem

By Huw Martin

This was originally going to be an internal communication within our company, but on second thought, the more people talking about it the better!

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Over the last decade Edinburgh has become one of the most prominent locations in Europe for technology companies to set up shop. The growth of Scotland’s IT sector is tremendously exciting, and offers a wealth of opportunities for our economy, but it’s also not without its challenges.

This exponential growth has led to a rising demand for skilled technology people – we’ve all heard about the skills shortages – as well as the requirement for investment and buy-in from companies to support Edinburgh’s tech ecosystem.  The city offers opportunities for entrepreneurs, tech talent, and companies of all sizes and stages. It has a great story to tell.

This is where the StartEDIN collective comes in.

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The StartEDIN initiative was started by Edinburgh City Council, along with the massive Scottish success story that is Skyscanner; the online identity validation company Miicard; IT trade body ScotlandIS; and us, Head Resourcing. The initiative’s aim is to promote Edinburgh’s thriving and vibrant tech community on a national and international stage, raising awareness of the city’s dynamic and successful tech scene.

This is a big ask, and a big task, but as with most collectives it requires harmonious working for a common cause to help the greater good. These types of initiatives will always have people involved with a vested interest, and there will always be louder voices than others, but I’m so happy and proud to say that all involved in the set-up of this collective have the best interests of the people, city and tech scene at heart.

Why did we get involved?

Simply put, we got involved because its the right thing to do. The more people helping the city, and in turn the country, the better. There of course will be (and are) cynics who suggest we’re involved purely for our own personal gain, but I’d suggest those people don’t know me or indeed Head Resourcing very well.

We are involved in a number of initiatives helping support (financially and with manpower) different groups of people involved in the development of skills across Scotland, including:

  • Hosting an IT skills panel for financial services companies which gets them working together on initiatives to help tackle skills gaps
  • Organising a tech showcase for SMEs to present to our large FS clients who normally wouldn’t get the opportunity
  • Speaking at numerous universities/colleges helping students and lecturers understand the landscape from a commercial perspective
  • Sponsoring and judging student hackathon events
  • Supporting The Prince’s Trust Get Into programme

We do these things not for commercial gain, but because they are the right things to do for our organisation. With this in mind, and on a personal level, I am seriously excited about what is to come from the StartEDIN team.

What has StartEDIN been doing so far?

StartEDIN was launched towards the end of 2014. Membership is growing, and tangible outputs from various meetings are starting to bear fruit. The creative people at Whitespace have devised a brilliant campaign highlighting some of the unique features of our fantastic city as a place to live and work, which is beginning to be rolled out now.

The promotion of the city is being pushed across the world – from Europe to the US – to get the message out there that there are huge opportunities in Edinburgh, not only for the lifestyle it can offer but the range of opportunities within fantastic companies doing cutting edge things within technology, such as Skyscanner, Fanduel and Craneware (to name a few).

There is also an Edinburgh Tech Talks event in London on the 26th of March where Amazon and Skyscanner will be speaking about the opportunities and quality of life that Edinburgh can offer – if you can make it along check it out here.

If you happen to go through Terminal 5 in Heathrow you can also see this – keep your eyes peeled!

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