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China and America in sights of network

Christine Esson and Russell Dalgleish

Christine Esson and Russell Dalgleish (contributed)

A network designed to build global opportunities for Scottish businesses is looking to its next stage of expansion.

The Scottish Business Network (SBN),  the brainchild of technology entrepreneur Russell Dalgleish and economic development specialist, Christine Esson, wants to take the venture into China and North America.

It was founded a year ago to build networks for Scottish business leaders in London where it has garnered support from 200 senior figures.

Entrepreneurial activity in Scotland has increased markedly in recent years, but research indicates that relatively few Scottish businesses are fully exploiting the opportunities afforded by global markets. 

2014 report  into the Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program found that a lack of “effective connections” is a critical issue for businesses looking to grow beyond indigenous markets.  

While entrepreneurs pitch to senior business leaders for specific support at SBN events, ongoing business acceleration support comprises advice, instructions and guidance and participants are encouraged to continue dialogue post-event.  

Mr Dalgleish, managing partner at Exolta Capital Partners, said: “The traction gained in London last year was incredible and we quickly realised there was a strong demand for similar action-led, collaborative networks via the Scottish diaspora in China and North America. 

“Our primary purpose remains to first strengthen the London Network and then to expand our scope by reaching out onto the global Scottish business diaspora.”

Ms Esson, who previously led Enterprise Ireland’s overseas team in the UK, said “Our USP is to have senior Scots with global experience willing to share their knowledge and expertise to accelerate and support the global ambitions of Scotland-based companies.”

Bob Keiller, chairman of Scottish Enterprise, said: “We have been impressed with what Russell, Christine and the SBN team have managed to achieve in such a short space of time and, partly through our shared belief in the power of international networks and how they translate to business successes.”

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