Businesses told not to fear failure

Van der Kuyl praises Swinney for ‘starting to get it’

Chris van der KuylScottish entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl last night applauded finance secretary John Swinney’s support for enterprise, saying that he was among a number of politicians who were beginning to get a better understanding of the perils of business creation.

The digital pioneer and chairman of Entrepreneurial Scotland told an audience of young technology developers that they “should not be afraid to make mistakes, or to fail” and should see it as a learning process.

“Even the politicians are seeing this. John Swinney is starting to get it now and is no longer afraid to say that we may have got something wrong, but let’s try doing it differently.”

Mr van der Kuyl, speaking at the Converge Challenge Ready, Steady, Pitch event held at the Symposium Hall in Edinburgh, added: “These are very exciting times in Scotland as shown by all of you.”

Pointing to the success of incubators such as Entrepreneurial Spark and Codebase, he said: “One problem is that we do not know we are as good as we are.”

The winning pitch was presented by Daniel Good whose E-Finger company is developing a probe to more accurately test the prostate gland. Mr Good, a urologist, is working on the project with post doctoral researcher Steven Hammer and NHS Lothian. Clinical trials of the device are being run at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

Runner up was Rebecca Pick, a Strathclyde university undergraduate who is about to launch a personal alarm worn on a woman’s bra strap.

Among more than 30 pitches was a project to create bricks made from recycled quarry waste and a company producing doughnut kits which is run by a descendant of the doughnut inventor Elizabeth Dimsdale.

Kerry Sharp, head of the Scottish Investment Bank, also addressed the event and offered guidance on how the government-backed fund can help young growth firms.



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