Startup visit

Scots seek inspiration from Helsinki tech trip

Nick Murray, Janani Prabhakaran, Euan Cameron, Carolina Melendez, and Dec McLaughlin

Ten representatives of Scotland’s startup community will travel to Helsinki this month for a programme of activities including the Finnish capital’s annual Slush tech conference. 

The cohort selected is: Christian Arno of Pawprint; Cally Russell of We Are Unfolded; Ross Toomer of Care Reality; Alex Lu of; Dagmara Aldridge of Zumo; Janani Prabhakaran of Unbaggaged; Pooja Katara of SENSEcity; Duncan Di Biase of Brillband; Euan Cameron of Willo, and Victoria Fullarton of Toto Sleep.

The trip between 12-20 November is supported by the Scottish Government and enterprise agency Scottish Development International (SDI). 

Billed as “The World’s Best Startup Event”, Slush takes place between 17-18 November, with more than 4,000 startups and over 2,000 investors in attendance.  The Slush 2022 Foras Programme was designed by Startup Grind Scotland executives Dec McLaughlin, Nick Murray, and Carolina Melendez. 

The Helsinki trip follows the success of a similar visit to Silicon Valley in April, with both visits stemming from Mark Logan’s Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review in 2020. He said recently, with regard to the Helsinki initiative: “To build world-class companies, startup founders should always be outward-looking, learning from best-practice techniques and frameworks from around the world.”

The cohort will also be visiting Nokia, Maria01, Startup Sauna, and Aalto University with introductions supported by local agent and Startup Grind Helsinki Director, Kelvin Chikezie.

Carolina Melendez, Startup Grind Scotland head of operations, said: “We’re excited to bring together a richly diverse cohort, not only in the focus and stage of businesses growth, but also in age, ethnicity, gender and lived experience. Selected from different locations across this amazing country, our delegates are a true illustration of Scotland’s eclectic entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“We know the trip will bring inspiration and professional opportunities, but the ‘Foras’ model also encourages trust, openness and fostering peer relationships within the group.  The cohort will return with invaluable experiences, new connections and a global mindset that we hope will benefit the Scottish tech ecosystem as a whole.”

Ivan Mckee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise said: “It presents a wonderful opportunity for a diverse cohort of entrepreneurs to access new networks, share ideas and ultimately return with fresh perspectives in guiding them towards scaling their business.

“Fostering growth in our start-up ecosystem can have a truly transformative effect on Scotland’s economy. Ensuring we are outward-facing and exposing founders to new experiences will move us towards becoming a true Start-up Nation where achieving scale is reality for our entrepreneurs.”

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