Scotland’s tech sector continues to show it can punch far above its weight and compete on an international stage, according to Turing Fest founder Brian Corcoran.
Last week saw Turing Fest return, drawing more than 50 internationally-recognised technology speakers, as well as 3,000 attendees from more than 30 countries.
Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag discussed the future of social media and technology while Meri Williams, CTO of Monzo, gave an impassioned talk on boosting diversity and inclusion in the technology sector. Other high-profile tech figures such as Jono Alderson of Yoast and Britney Muller of Moz featured, with an insightful fireside chat with iZettle founder Magnus Nilsson rounding off the event.
If one were to use the two-day conference as a way to measure the growing appeal of the tech sector, then the outlook appears very positive; attracting some of the world’s finest tech pioneers and helping to forge Scotland’s reputation as a technology hub.
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Brian Corcoran, founder of Turing Fest, believes this international variety exemplifies the tech sector’s increasing global appeal and ambition.
“Ambition has raised considerably in the past few years, and founders here are now much better equipped to build companies that can operate on a global scale,” he says. “The pace of iteration has sped up considerably, too – by avoiding the often-fatal drip-funding of the past, founders can attack the problem faster, learn quicker and some are failing faster, which is a good thing.”
Although there’s still work to be done, the nation is becoming an ever-attractive place to do business and its growing profile shows it can go toe-to-toe with global rivals.
“As a tech ecosystem, Scotland has lots more than it can improve, but at least it is now genuinely competing with rival international ecosystems like Portugal, Finland and Ireland,” he insists.
A matter of days before Turing Fest 2019 kicked off, Tech Nation published figures that further highlighted the impact the tech sector has upon Scotland’s economy.
Companies throughout the sector employ some 60,000 people and, so far this year, companies have raised an impressive £43 million in funding. Additional statistics paint an even merrier picture for the sector. Throughout 2018, Edinburgh’s tech scene generated an impressive £4 billion for the economy and within the past three years, at least 200 technology firms have been launched across the country.
Along with other events in the tech scene calendar, Corcoran believes Turing Fest plays a crucial role in raising Scotland’s global profile by bringing together thought leaders, entrepreneurs and investors from far and wide. These interactions during the two-day conference provide an exceptional platform for dynamic, up-and-coming firms to connect and reach out to wider audiences.
“By bringing so many international tech visitors into Scotland we raise the global profile with people of influence as a technology economy and destination,” he asserts.
Raising that global profile is only half of the battle for Scotland’s tech sector, however. Spaces such as these also act as a melting pot for indigenous tech entrepreneurs and firms to collaborate, engage and converse with each other. Scotland’s tech ecosystem is already known for its collaborative and welcoming atmosphere, so additional efforts to boost this culture are a huge positive.
“In bringing people together from all corners of our indigenous tech industry, we can all get to know each other, share our knowledge and help each other. Turing Fest is arguably the only time in the year that this happens,” Corcoran says.
“Secondly, in bringing in some of the most intelligent and successful thinkers and doers from across the global tech industry so that we can learn from them, that raises our understanding, our capacity to compete, and our ambitions.”