Thursday, December 12, 2019

LEGO and Harvard amongst world-class leaders helping Scottish SMEs to grow through innovation

Jenn Gustetic will be of the events key note speakers

WORLD-CLASS leaders from LEGO and Harvard Kennedy School will join over 700 delegates from the Scottish SME community at Scotland’s CAN DO Innovation Summit at Glasgow Science Centre.

Part of the VentureFest Scotland festival of innovation, the Summit will connect SMEs with leading innovators, academics, entrepreneurs and investors from across the globe to help them to grow, scale and transform their business.

Featuring a raft of Scotland’s most innovative SMEs, the line up for this year’s Summit also includes innovation heavyweights. Jenn Gustetic, 2017-2019 Digital Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, who has also held positions at both the White House and NASA on innovation issues, is one of the keynote speakers.  Speaking ahead of the Innovation Summit, she said:

“I’m delighted to come to Scotland and address such a flagship event. I can see unprecedented opportunities starting to emerge for the country’s SMEs. By combining disruptive new technologies with human problem-solving and creativity, companies can get valuable solutions to grow and scale their businesses amidst the challenges of the 21st century, such as ageing societies, the impacts of AI and big data, chronic disease and the effects of climate change”.

The event will also hear from expat Glaswegian Morgan Walker, who now leads design, experience and innovation in LEGO’s Creative Play Lab in Denmark.

Crucially, the summit will help SMEs to navigate the vast range of support in Scotland (and beyond) available to them along their innovation journey. Innovate UK together with several key investors will share funding and investment opportunities that are available to strengthen and support business innovation. 

Allan Cannon, CEO and Co-Founder of R3-IoT will also be attending the summit.  The company provides advanced satellite communications services for organisations operating in remote locations. He said:

“R3-IoT has developed a product capable of delivering IoT connectivity and services to some of the most remote parts of the world and innovation has been the catalyst for us moving forward as a start-up since we launched last year, helping us to grow and embrace the possibilities that are out there for us. I’m looking forward to sharing our story at the Innovation Summit and hearing how the connectivity landscape is evolving and how SMEs are harnessing the potential of these new technologies for their companies.”

Ivan McKee MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, will also be a keynote speaker at the summit.  Mr McKee said:

“The CAN DO Summit is the perfect platform for Scotland to showcase its thriving Innovation sector. It provides a great opportunity to see world-leaders in business demonstrating how new technologies can be combined with creative cultures to make Scottish businesses more innovative.


“The Scottish Government shares CAN DO’s vision for Scotland to become a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative society, a place where growth and innovation go hand in hand, with wider benefits for all.”

Dr Susie Mitchell, Programme Director at Glasgow City of Science and Innovation – the lead delivery agency for VentureFest Scotland commented:

“Scottish SMEs are the lifeblood of the Scottish economy – accounting for 99% of private-sector enterprises and support around 1.2 million jobs.  However, too few SMEs are active in innovating products or services and for those that do, only a small proportion collaborate with others or focus on the potential of international markets.  By having support mechanisms such as Innovation Summit, we can empower SMEs to drive innovation and reach Scotland’s ambition to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best performing countries, while tackling some of the biggest challenges of our time.”

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