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:

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.

“Since 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.”

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: “Getting onto LaunchMe will help us achieve our ambition by giving us access to excellent business and peer support”

“This 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.”

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:

Apply here:

Good luck!



Aberdeen: Scotland’s Start-Up City and Global Entrepreneurship Week ’15

This week has seen the publication of a study that declares Aberdeen as the best city in Scotland for start-up companies.

[Click here to read Aberdeen City Council’s press release]

What do you think about that! Personally, we agree wholeheartedly. ABVenture Zone came about thanks to funding from Aberdeen City Council, who also gave funding to Robert Gordon University and Elevator UK to set up their own incubation hubs. Now that we are all open for business, there certainly seems to be a flurry of enterprise related activity and interest in entrepreneurship. We’re mightily proud of our wee city and can’t wait to see what new businesses take off thanks to the support available here in the Granite City.

In other news, next month sees the enterprise and entrepreneurship activities turn up a notch with the arrival of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015. Our own Enterprise Thursday is during this activity-packed week and our friends at Elevator are also holding their annual Elevator Conference at the AECC on Friday 20th November. Make sure to add these dates to the diary, register for them online and we’ll see you there!

EuroBiotix at University StartUp World Cup Finals in Copenhagen

We at EuroBiotix, first tenants of ABVenture Zone Aberdeen, have just finished our week in Copenhagen taking part in the in Copenhagen taking part in the University Startup World Cup.

Eurobiotix world cup.jpeg

There was a fantastic buzz around the city and throughout the World Cup cohort. It was awesome being part of such a large-scale high profile competition, and to be around inspiring individuals from all over the world. There really were some fantastic teams with great ideas, and we did our best to network at every possible opportunity.

On our first day we met our fellow competitors and the staff team. Throughout the day we had a number of talks from successful entrepreneurs from which we learned a lot.

On Wednesday, we had the privilege of spending the day at Novo Nordisk’s (the biggest pharmaceutical company in Denmark) training centre. Over the course of the day, we had the chance to meet with staff and pitch our ideas to senior staff. We also had the pleasure of experiencing the famous buffet they put on for their staff at lunch.

On Thursday we pitched to a panel of judges in the ‘life science and med tech’ category. The pressure was on, as there were ten teams competing for three places in Fridays final. We kept cool and delivered a what we thought was a strong pitch. Afterwards, we were fairly sure that would be pitching again on Friday in the final.

Fridays finale was hosted at the Confederation of Danish Industry. We were ecstatic when our names were announced as category finalists, and we rushed to get some last minute preparation in before the next round of pitching.

eurobiotix pitch world cup

We delivered another strong pitch in front of a panel of ten judges and were then subjected to a 15 minute question session. During the Q&A, it became apparent that our not-for-profit and community interest intentions were not what the judges were looking for. Some of the venture capitalists in the panel also asked some really difficult questions.  Unfortunately, we didn’t win our category. On the bright side, the team that beat us ended up winning first prize, and had a very strong idea.

The whole week was a fantastic experience and opportunity for us at the EuroBiotix team! We would like to thank ABVenture zone for their support throughout our journey so far.

Written by James & Matthew

Enterprise Campus hosts first event in ABVenture Zone

ABVenture Zone had it’s very first event post-launch last week. Enterprise Campus North hub, with help from colleagues from the East hub, hosted a two day business bootcamp for students who had business ideas they wanted to develop. The event was open to students from all of the North hub’s five partner universities and the range of ideas the students brought with them was incredible. Feedback has been very positive and we can’t wait to start planning for the next bootcamp! Enterprise Campus will be hosting many more events in this excellent space over the coming months so watch this space…

Lucy from Enterprise Campus East hub talking about competition and drivers
Lucy from Enterprise Campus East hub talking about competition and drivers
Mapping out the tea industry with different drivers
Mapping out the tea industry with different drivers
Enterprise Campus feeling quite at home in ABVenture Zone
Enterprise Campus feeling quite at home in ABVenture Zone

An Interview with Dr Liz Rattray

Our brand new mascot (still yet to be officially named) sent some questions to Dr Liz Rattray from the University of Aberdeen’s Research and Innovation Department to find out a little bit more about ABVenture Zone.

  1. Tell us a bit more about the purpose of the ABVenture Zone and how it’s come about?

The ABVenture Zone has been set up to support start up businesses and encourage entrepreneurs to develop new products and services. Using design ideas, it is hoped that the Zone will be an  inspiring place for students, staff, alumni and local start-up companies to plan and develop their business ideas. It also provides a focus within the University of Aberdeen for events, teaching and training in entrepreneurship.  It came about as part of a wider initiative – the Accelerate Aberdeen programme, funded through Aberdeen City Council under the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport Superconnected Cities initiative.

  1. What is your role in relation to ABVenture Zone?

I have been the overall nominated project lead for the University as supporting start ups and spin-outs is one of the roles for Research Innovation.  The day to day project management is primarily down to Ian Garioch from our IT Services department, with significant input from my colleague Ann Lewendon  and the Enterprise Campus team in Aberdeen.

  1. Which piece of kit are you most excited about and why?

I have to say, I am looking forward to trying out the 3D printers, and seeing how the tenants might prototype some of their ideas.

  1. What would you like to see come out of the project?

I would like to see a vibrant and entrepreneurial culture of creativity which encourages students and researchers to take that next step.  I’d like to see the Zone being the place on campus.

  1. What would your best piece of advice be to those wanting to start their own business?

Quoting Andy – our interior designer “If at first you don’t succeed, call it version 1.0”