Urban Foresight Director comes home to Dundee to create new office and expand team

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Urban Foresight, a Newcastle-based smart city consultancy has recently expanded in Dundee and added to its team just over a year since establishing a base in the city with support from Scottish Enterprise.

The firm has appointed Rachel Beeton who is originally from the area as director.

Urban Foresight helps cities deliver environmentally focussed services such as electric vehicle charging and received a Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant of £150,000 from Scottish Enterprise to expand to Dundee creating 11 new jobs.

Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee visited Urban Foresight’s new office space in the Flour Mill, Dundee to learn more about the innovative and eco-friendly projects taking place.

He said: “I am delighted to see a forward-thinking company like Urban Foresight fully engaged in driving forward our Scottish Cities Alliance smart cities ambition. 

“Their presence will help build on Dundee’s reputation as a centre for design and innovation and bring to fruition the wider vision of Scotland’s 8th City, the Smart City.

“Scottish Government and our agencies are supporting businesses like Urban Foresight to take advantage of the opportunities that come from Scotland’s established strengths in innovation and technological change. We look forward to seeing the business grow.”

Scottish Enterprise head of inward investment Graeme White said: “Urban Foresight is at the forefront of smart city projects in Scotland and across the world.

“Scottish Enterprise is proud to support the company’s expansion plans whilst also working with the team on projects delivering sustainable transport solutions in Scotland too.

“The investment has fuelled expansion and in turn highlights Scotland as a place for innovative companies like Urban Foresight to thrive.”

Urban Foresight manage the Mobility Innovation Living Laboratory project (The MILL) a £2million programme running to 2022 on behalf of Dundee City Council to make Dundee a test-bed for transport innovations.

Projects being trialled by The MILL include: the UK’s largest electric bike sharing scheme; Scotland’s largest smart parking project; a fleet vehicle sharing platform for public sector organisations and a car club that allows easier access beyond designated bays.

Deputy convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee Mark Flynn said: “We are proud to say that we have been in the forefront of innovation and investigation of low and zero emission transport solutions for a number of years and The MILL projects form a key part of that.

“Through this type of successful partnership working Dundee remains committed to maintaining and enhancing that position for the benefit of not just the people who live here, but people across the globe.”

Since establishing the team in Dundee Urban Foresight has supported several other public and third sector organisations develop their ambitions for exciting smart city, mobility and innovation projects across Scotland.

This has encompassed a low carbon transport hub project with Perth and Kinross Council and a mountain bike hub in the Scottish Borders with Scottish Enterprise.

The consultancy also supported Tayside’s regional transport body TACTRAN in developing ambitions around mobility as service and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Urban Foresight Director Rachel Beeton said: “We had served clients in Dundee and across Scotland from our base in Newcastle in the past. Following award of the contract to manage The MILL, we were delighted to have the chance to move to a permanent base in Dundee.

“Scottish Enterprise supported us to expand and create a fully-fledged Scottish consultancy team to allow us to work more closely with our customers.

“We forecast to reach 11 employees next year, which is phenomenal considering we’ve grown from a team of one to eight in a year.”

Rachel said the growth of the company makes her particularly proud as she grew up in the area and is delighted to have returned, adding: “I take great pleasure in being able to contribute to the development the local economy.

“We look forward to working on more projects that improve lives, protect the environment and boost local economies, not just in Dundee but across Scotland and globally too.”

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