5 min read
Meet Hazel Gibbens: our Scotland Entrepreneur Engagement Manager
Whether you’re a founder looking for connections or support, a stakeholder embedded in a local community or are simply interested in what’s going on in a region, our Entrepreneur Engagement Managers (or ‘EEMs’ for short) are on the ground in towns and cities and ready to help.
In this series of articles, we’re telling you more about our EEMs’ roles and views about tech in the country. Here we speak to Hazel Gibbens, our Scotland Entrepreneur Engagement Manager based in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hazel Gibbens: I’m originally from Devon, where I headed up a print magazine and worked in publishing and editing. My love of Scotland and its people brought me north in 2017 and I’ve never looked back.
I’ve spent the last couple of years working in communications roles in Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including for FutureX, who run some of the largest entrepreneur-focused events in the country. I am thrilled to now be Scotland’s Entrepreneur Engagement Manager!
What excites you about tech in Scotland?
Scotland is such a fantastic place to start and grow a tech company. The country is incredibly receptive to innovation and has strong support agencies. What excites me the most is that Scotland is a key player in Tech For Good; so many companies here are driven by a purpose rooted in social causes.
Scotland is lifted by a variety of entrepreneurship support agencies who genuinely champion collaboration – I think that’s incredibly unique and I’m proud to get to play a small role in all of that!
What companies in the region have impressed you?
One of the growing companies I’ve got my eye on are Good-Loop, cofounded by Amy Williams and Dan Winterstein, which has revolutionised advertising and uses it as a force for good. I’m also really inspired by Gavin Neate, Founder of Neatebox, whose focus is on inclusivity and accessibility.
Every year, Scotland’s calendar is jam-packed with events for entrepreneurs and their teams. This year, I’m excited for Turing Fest, Scottish EDGE, and Startup Summit, and next year I’m already looking forward to Data Fest, in addition to Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) by Informatics Ventures. I’ve seen world-class speakers and companies showcased at these events and they’re only growing bigger and better each year.
What challenges are founders facing in Scotland?
Scotland’s ecosystem is diverse and comes with a nuanced set of challenges. For founders in Glasgow and Edinburgh, it’s tough to find time and space for meeting, sharing, and collaboration. The problem of siloing goes deeper: despite the incredible talent and potential up here, it can be hard for Scottish companies to break past the border.
For founders outside of the core hubs, there are challenges around understanding and utilising the resources and opportunities that are available to them – but hopefully, that’s where I come in!