Global Tech Advocates (GTA), a private sector network connecting tech hubs around the world, has announced the launch of Tech Scotland Advocates at Glasgow Caledonian University, in a bid to champion the growth of the Scottish tech sector.
Figures from Tech Nation show digital businesses in Edinburgh and Glasgow have a combined turnover of £1.2bn and employ more than 70,000 people in tech jobs. Scotland is also home to two of the UK’s 26 billion-dollar tech companies.
Tech Scotland Advocates says it will create a support network for the country’s tech leaders, entrepreneurs and experts.
The organisation will also focus on the challenges that are facing the country’s tech industry, such as access to talent, access to capital and the impact of market uncertainty caused by Brexit.
Garry Bernstein and Mia Dowman will co-lead the organisation. Bernstein is an executive director with a portfolio in the UK and international markets, including IPO and trade exits with technology enterprises.
Dowman is an experienced tech entrepreneur and innovation consultant who is also passionate about inclusion and particularly keen to encourage young women into STEM-related careers.
Russ Shaw, founder of Global Tech Advocates, said: “Scotland has already shown it can produce global tech success stories. Across the country there is a critical mass of academic institutions, young and ambitious talent and investors that are accelerating the growth of the Scottish tech sector.
“My ambition for Tech Scotland Advocates is to harness the campaigning power of the private sector to create both a support network for emerging tech entrepreneurs and a unified voice to call on government and industry to make changes that encourage growth.”
Bernstein added: “Scotland’s tech ecosystem punches well above its weight on the world stage. Our universities produce over 60% of the UK’s data science graduates at masters level and Scotland benefits in spades from the innovations they bring to business.
“From FinTech and e-commerce platforms in Edinburgh to satellite technology and personalised medicine in Glasgow, gaming in Dundee to oil and gas innovations on the East coast, there is a rich diversity of talent and expertise here. Tech Scotland Advocates will be a galvanising force for everyone invested in the future success of our tech sector.”
Dowman said Tech Scotland would be a grassroots organisation designed to serve the local tech communities across Scotland.
“I am keen to enable collaborative opportunities to develop across the network and build more connections for fellow entrepreneurs, leaders and investors at the forefront of Scotland’s emergence as one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse centres for tech innovation.
“Additionally, for the sector to survive, we need to attract and retain diverse talent, inspire young people and under-represented groups to enter tech jobs and careers. We will be campaigning to further improve tech education, career awareness, match opportunities with talent and make sure everyone benefits from the growth and success of Scotland’s tech companies,” she concluded.