Due to its success last year, Glasgow Tech Fest took place on 19 April, and I was fortunate enough to attend the morning session, along with Paula Skinner. This event was hosted by Glasgow City Innovation District and was a fantastic networking opportunity with plenty of insight. Here’s a quick round-up of my experience.
The event was hosted by Gemma Milne, a writer and researcher at the University of Glasgow, and she began with a positive overview of Glasgow's tech scene. She was then joined by Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Strathclyde and Alisdair Gunn, Project Director of the Glasgow City Innovation District. Alisdair revealed exciting plans for the redevelopment of the Met Tower in Glasgow. These proposals are the product of a £60m investment and will see Bruntwood SciTech regenerate the tower which is a famous sight on the city skyline. The redevelopment will add to Glasgow's reputation as a growing centre of excellence for technology.
The first keynote speaker was Spencer Kelly, a technology TV presenter and journalist who has presented the TV show ‘Click’ for more than 20 years. His interactive discussion focussed on impactful innovation and how advancement in technology can help change the world. One interesting point he made was that there will possibly be a point in our lifetimes when there will only be self-driving cars. If this were to happen, this would eliminate the need for every driver to have a car, and it would work more as an Uber service (just without a driver). This would then reduce the need for as many roads and parking facilities. An interesting, yet quite daunting thought, is that we could all be driven around in ‘Robotaxi’, but it could play a massive part in reducing global warming.
Next up was a discussion with Alison Porter, a manager at Janus Henderson Global Investors, led by the Chief Commercial Officer of Strathclyde University, Gillian Docherty. The topic of this discussion was market dynamics, including insightful comments from Alison stating that Scotland would benefit from a more dynamic venture capitalist community. She essentially called for an Amazon-style marketplace which connects entrepreneurs to venture capitalists. She also touched on the recent investment from Microsoft into ChatGPT and stated this was a positive investment in terms of tech trends.
Finally, Bayile Adeoti, President of Scottish Women in Business and founder of social enterprise Dechomai took to the stage to talk about ecosystem development. Bayile’s inspiring presentation called on her journey from school, to university and to where she is now. She raised some significant themes, particularly the struggle of ethnic minority women in business.
Overall, it was a great event with the opportunity to connect with other sector professionals. I also learned a lot regarding the current tech and AI developments and the impact they are having on tech start-ups. Tech is an economically important sector, not just for Glasgow, but for the whole of the UK and there are many prospects for our clients in the tech sector. Attending the event reinforced the important role advisers play in the tech ecosystem and why it’s important to have advisers who are willing to immerse themselves in the sector so they can properly advise businesses.
Glasgow has a bright future ahead when it comes to tech.