FS Fives: Thursday, August 25

First up, we bring you an important intervention on the economy from Scotland’s digital tech trade body.
ScotlandIS has called for a greater focus on technology as a driver of growth after the publication of disappointing Scottish Government economic (GERS) figures yesterday, which showed the national deficit had grown to £15bn in the wake of falling North Sea oil revenues.

Polly Purvis, chief executive of the organisation, which represents the digital technologies industry, said: “The economic data released yesterday highlights the need for a major focus on improving productivity across the economy.

“We must take advantage of the process improvement and innovation that digital technologies offer to automate processes, deliver customer solutions faster, more accurately and more cost effectively, and drive smarter decision making through increasingly sophisticated data analytics.”

A report last year from the Scottish Futures Trust indicated that if Scotland became a digitalisation world leader, GDP could increase by over £13bn by 2030 and by £9.5bn in a scenario of world class digitalisation.

Similarly, the Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI) recommended that digital should become integral to overall strategy and delivery in government, business and public services to capture productivity gains.

Scotland’s first digital demonstration centre opens

Scotland’s first ‘digital demonstration centre’ has opened in Inverness.

The #hellodigital facility is aimed at encouraging small businesses to make the most of broadband and digital technology.

It is part of the the new £13m An Lòchran building on Inverness Campus, opened by Deputy First Minister John Swinney today, who said: “I am also pleased to be able to officially launch #hellodigital the new demonstration centre, supported through our Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership, and located in An Lòchran. It aims to promote the benefits of increased digital engagement to help Scotland fulfil its potential in an increasingly digital age and has already seen a fantastic programme of events, exhibitions and talks attracting speakers from Google, Microsoft and IBM.”

A call for the ‘best cyber idea in Scotland’

The Scottish Government’s CivTech pilot – a scheme to encourage digital technologists to design better government services – has put out a call for the ‘best cyber idea in Scotland’.

Developers and entrepreneurs are being asked to come up with ‘new cyber security products and ideas that have a clear application for the public sector and significant commercial potential in the fight against cyber threats and IT disruption.’

One successful applicant will be awarded £15,000 funding and a place on the CivTech® pilot’s dedicated three-month accelerator programme in Edinburgh.

VentureFest Scotland

This year’s Venturefest Scotland innovation summit will host one of the largest collections of innovative companies of any Venturefest event across the UK.

Comprising 33 of Scotland’s most innovative companies, the showcase will help inspire other businesses to put innovation at the heart of their activities.

“Venturefest Scotland is the ideal place for businesses to make all the connections they need to scale up and develop their competitiveness,” said Jim Watson, Director of Innovation and Enterprise Services at Scottish Enterprise.

“Whether it’s finding a collaborative partner, exploring a new export market or honing pitching skills, you can access it all under one roof.”

And finally…Everyone’s ploughing their money into Uber, but might it be a bottomless pit?  All eyes are on the US ride hail giant after some unexpected financials.