Ewan Anderson

Ewan Anderson is Associate Marketing Director for Eden Scott and TalentSpark. He has a wealth of marketing experience delivering successful strategies for both B2B and B2C businesses.

Ewan is also the Vice Chair of Communications for CIM Scotland and a Non-Exec Board Member for Marketing for Snowsport Scotland.


Mark Logan’s recently published, Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review, raised excitement levels and inspired some healthy debate amongst the sector’s many protagonists.

According to the review, Scotland has many of the right elements within the tech sector to establish itself on the global stage. However, there are lessons to be learnt from some of the more established ecosystems such as London and San Francisco to help get to the next stage, or beyond ‘the tipping point’ as Mark put it.

Government backing

The fact this was commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes, is critical, as the support required goes far beyond the front door of Codebase or The Bayes Centre. Driving the change Mark outlines needs coordination from the government to bring several different interests together, going in the same direction.

Education

Establishing an end to end approach to tech education, and producing the next generation of home-grown, commercially minded, coders and engineers is critical to long term success. However, ensuring the right support is in place, and the right skills are developed at every stage of the process from primary through to university is going to take a dedicated effort.

Infrastructure

Supporting the growth of a Scottish-wide infrastructure and establishing a more evenly spread distribution of market-squares with support and incubation will also take collaboration and for many, perhaps a change in mindset.

According to Mark’s findings, while there is a strong community feeling amongst ecosystem in some regions of the country, there needs to be a more concerted effort to adopt a holistic view, where if one wins, we all win. Focusing on the growth of the sector while at the same time working to grow your own business will help everyone to reap the rewards.

Attracting the Best Talent

One of the centrepieces of Mark’s findings, however, is the growth and attraction of the very best talent. The development of any sector, Tech or otherwise, requires great people. While Scotland certainly enjoys an abundance of talent, it is fair to say that many haven’t produced quite so many companies of scale that those from London or further afield have. This level of experience is crucial to taking the next step and attracting the investment we require.

So How Can Talent Agencies Help?

At TalentSpark, we have long espoused the need for businesses to assess the talent available beyond our current market to offer perspective. It is not to downplay our home-grown workforce. However, as Mark points out, the experience in our market just hasn’t had the level of exposure to the size and scale of businesses established in other markets.

The change in working patterns and the increase of remote working as a result of COVID has made this a more realistic opportunity.

Sell the Scottish Tech Ecosystem

Our job, when working in partnership with these fantastic companies, is to really understand and sell the opportunities here in Scotland. On many occasions, we are the first experience a candidate might have of the Scottish tech scene. It is incumbent on us to make sure we promote the virtues and sell the opportunity, not just of the business but of the broader ecosystem.

To help achieve the lofty ambitions of the Scottish tech sector, we need to know the key players in other markets and understand their motivations. As the people business, we pride ourselves in knowing and understanding the key players are in different markets. It is not enough to dominate your ecosystem. As Mark pointed out, we need to attract and inspire, moves from other big tech hubs to Scotland.

Capitalising on Experience

And finally, again, as laid out in Mark’s report, the reassignment of the talent who have been through a scale-up experience is vital. Fail or exit, the expertise these people will have garnered will be invaluable to their next company. But there is no point placing someone who will leave or be fired in two months. So, dedication to the right hires is essential.

The next steps

Mark’s report makes it clear that we have some fantastic businesses here in Scotland, and there are opportunities to scale what we have now, but it will take some joined-up thinking and investment in great people.