Navigating the digiverse, innovating in teams

Today we hosted the first in our series of themed interactive workshops and it was great to see some of you there. The theme of this event was digital enterprise and software development. We wanted to meander through the sometimes tricky paths of the digiverse and gain knowledge about the strategies, design, and processes involved.

fullsizerenderWe kicked off with a great talk by Dr Ernesto Compatangelo, coordinator of the MSc IT course and managing director of a software development spinout. His insights were helpful to those who would like to digitalise their start-ups or create new software from scratch. Dr Compatangelo emphasised the importance of meticulous testing and the need for a comprehensively planned design which is also realistic to implement.

The second part of the workshop was the informal, interactive element. We engaged the participants in a ‘speed innovating’ session, where we identified recent trends, emerging markets, and linked them to the local challenges in Aberdeen. The teams noticed the emergence of demand for local, ethically sourced produce and sustainable businesses. We also agreed that there’s a growing appetite to ‘make a difference’ and to put people in charge of their local decision-making.

This, we found, is at least partly linked to the rise in digital communication, which allows like-minded people to group together, find out more about products they consume and form effective campaigns. One of the main markets for start-ups today are the millennials, the large group of tech-savvy, environmentally-conscious young people who want to see more innovative ways of doing business.

fullsizerender-2At the end of our brainstorming and collective innovating, we came up with the rough idea of introducing ‘smart cycle lanes’ to Aberdeen.
This would tackle many of the local challenges which we identified: overcrowded roads, expensive public transport, perception of Aberdeen as ‘characterless’ and the ‘donut effect’, where large businesses and retailers increasingly move out of the city centre and into the suburbs.

The smart cycle lanes would be digitalised via a bespoke app, which would provide real-time information about cycling conditions, maps, integrate information about the local area and partner with local businesses. Not bad for a quickfire 20-minute speed innovating session!

We have more such events in the pipeline, and we strongly encourage undergraduates and aspiring changemakers to get involved in future workshops! They’re a great opportunity to learn some technical aspects of entrepreneurship, network with start-ups and come up with ideas in a vibrant, informal setting.


Make sure to follow us on Twitter to stay updated with future events, enterprise competitions and latest endeavours of our community of start-ups ūüôā
https://twitter.com/ABVentureZone

And why not ‘like’ our brand new Facebook page as well?
https://www.facebook.com/abventurezone/

The revolution will be digitised. Come to our workshop.

Calling our entrepreneurs, budding entrepreneurs, innovators, problem-solvers, digital geeks!
On Wednesday (30th November) we will be hosting the first in our series of themed workshops, and we are kicking off with an interactive workshop about all things digital.

The event will be split into two parts. The first part will feature a talk by Dr Ernesto Compatangelo, who will bring his expertise in software development and business innovation. The remaining three talks will be given by Aberdeen entrepreneurs who all operate in and around the digital sector. We will hear the business stories of Hamish Blythe (Twigd), Surakat Kudehinbu (E-LIT) and Chris Burnett (SURGE Aberdeen).

The second part of the workshop will be all about innovating. We will split into a few teams (or pairs) on separate tables.
We will start with brainstorming and looking at the pre-prepared ‘inspiration deck’ with recent digital start-ups. The teams will identify elements that they think are inspiring and innovative, and look for opportunities to transfer these insights to a new start-up idea.
After that, we will identify a selection of recent trends and look at how they impact specific markets. Each cross-section between a trend & market will trigger new business ideas or new problems to solve.

The event will conclude with each team presenting their findings and an informal discussion about problems, solutions and business ideas.

Hopefully you can come along so we can innovate together!

Link to the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/938444442966464/

Mapping out the tea industry with different drivers
There will be no shortage of Post-its.

Nibbles and networking

Tomorrow (17/11) ABVenture Zone hosts an informal drop-in lunch session, which brings together enterprise support staff from various backgrounds, as well as some of our vibrant and exciting entrepreneur occupants.
It will take place between 12 and 2 and it will be a great opportunity to develop new connections, gain new information and find out about upcoming competitions and funding opportunities.

We hope you can come along to the 8th floor of Macrobert and take part in our vibrant idea-sharing event, along with lunch and panoramic views of the Granite City.

See you there!

Enterprise Campus feeling quite at home in ABVenture Zone
Enterprise Campus will be here to help. Now all we need is you.

LaunchMe: accelerator with an impact

LaunchMe, a Big Lottery Fund initiative, aims to expand the social investment market in Scotland.


Seven Scottish social enterprises, ranging from a community shop in the Western Isles to soccer training and health education for children, went through a rigorous selection process to join the unique £825,000 business accelerator programme delivered by social enterprise development agency Firstport.

These people-powered social enterprises help to drive real change within their communities. Firstport works with these inspiring enterprises over a long time frame to help them find and secure the right investor to rapidly scale up their social and economic impact.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Social enterprises do tremendous work to help boost skills, confidence and innovation amongst our entrepreneurial businesses.

“The Scottish Government recognises the critical role the third sector plays in addressing issues of inequality and the needs of disadvantaged communities, and the contribution that the sector makes to Scotland’s economy.   We also firmly believe in a values-based approach to business where diverse business models, including co-operatives and social enterprise, contribute to increased productivity and wellbeing.

‚ÄúSince 2014 we have seen LaunchMe encourage and support ambitious early stage social enterprises to attract new investors who will help them rapidly scale and grow their social and economic input.‚ÄĚ

The 2015 LaunchMe businesses received a total of £130,000 in funding, as follows: Sylvia Douglas, MsMissMrs, Glasgow (£20,000); Josee Scott, Freedom Unlimited, Edinburgh (£20,000); Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite, Edinburgh/Glasgow (£20,000); Rachel DuBois, Hostel Hub, Alyth, Perthshire (£18,000); Dominic McNally, Future Soccer Stars, Stirling (£17,500); Reuben Chesters, Locavore, Glasgow (£17,500); Sarah MacLean, Buth Bharraigh, Barra (£17,000). And for many, this is only the beginning.
Firstport’s expertise in social enterprise development, as well as the exposure opportunities¬†from¬†LaunchMe¬†pave the way for¬†further investment.

Social enterprises based in remote locations, such as the Isle of Barra, often find it difficult to gain access to support, training and funding.
Sarah MacLean, director of Buth Bharraigh, said: ‚ÄúGetting onto LaunchMe will help us achieve our ambition by giving us access to excellent business and peer support”

‚ÄúThis opportunity will give us the support and confidence to move forward with our expansion plans. We want to provide our island with opportunities: a local produce hub that will inspire and have a positive effect on island sustainability.‚ÄĚ


LaunchMe is now open for new applications and the deadline to apply is November the 28th. If you are an ambitious, early-stage social enterprise and you want to achieve scale and increase your impact, why not take a chance and apply?
It is the only programme of its kind in Scotland and has already helped dozens of social enterprises drive change in their communities. The programme’s wealth of expertise and access to funding can be the bridge between a great idea and a real success.

Find out more about LaunchMe and the application process:
http://www.firstport.org.uk/programmes/launchme

Apply here:
http://www.firstport.org.uk/programmes/launchme/apply-now

Good luck!