At Tech Nation we’re creating a national network connecting ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs across the UK.
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 Jane, our Scotland Entrepreneur Engagement Manager based in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m originally from Devon, where I headed up a print magazine and worked as a publisher and copywriter. My love of Scotland and its people brought me north of the border in 2017 and I’ve never looked back. Since arriving in Scotland, I’ve had the opportunity to be immersed in the tech world: first, working for Regtech scale-up, Amiqus, and then for FutureX, a purpose-driven organisation running some of the largest entrepreneur-focused events in the country.
Outside of work, I’m an Interfaith Minister-in-training and a keen yogi and, although I call Glasgow home, I’m obsessed with the Highlands. I’m thrilled to be Scotland’s Entrepreneur Engagement Manager – I love getting to make a difference.
What wins have you had since starting?
I’ve loved connecting with founders right across Scotland and introducing them to the support that Tech Nation offers, whether that is giving them a bit of data for their pitch deck or supporting them with an application for one of our growth programmes.
My biggest win has been seeing all three Scottish Tech Nation Rising Stars 2.0 semi-finalists making it into the final and then going on to watch two of them become overall winners. What a moment that was for Neatebox, Talking Medicines, and Drinkly. I got to witness an audience of 300 appreciate the talented entrepreneurs I’ve been watching for the last couple of years.
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?
Scotland is pioneering in healthtech at the moment. Glasgow-based ClinSpec DX, on Tech Nation’s Applied AI programme, has developed incredible technology for early detection of cancers, and Edinburgh-based Current Health has developed a product that monitors patients from home.
Scots are big on tech for good too, which is the whole reason I work in tech. Companies like Good-Loop, Neatebox, Talking Medicines and KuzaKash are all creating tools for a more socially conscious world.
Every year, Scotland’s calendar is jam-packed with events for entrepreneurs and their teams. I’m always excited for Turing Fest, Scottish EDGE, Startup Summit, Data Fest and EIE amongst many others! 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!