Investing in the data revolution for a better world

PUBLISHED ON 15 January 2020

Amelia Beattie - Scottish Enterprise
Amelie Beattie, Senior Project Manager at Scottish Enterprise

EIE provides the opportunity to network with hundreds of entrepreneurs and international investors in the tech start-up space – and the latest event in April this year looks set to be its biggest and best yet.

The companies being showcased at the highly-competitive 2020 event have been pre-selected from the following sectors:
• Creative Design and Media Tech
• Fintech and Cybersecurity
• Satellites and Space Tech
• Robotics and Autonomy
• Energy, Climate and Cleantech
• Smart Cities and Mobility
• Internet of Things
• AI & Data Science
• Digital Health and Med Tech

Quite a list – and evidence that through data and technology, business is now looking to take on some of our planet’s biggest challenges, from tailored and affordable healthcare provision to greater connectivity and mobility, smarter workplaces, fending off cyberattacks and tackling the climate emergency.

Examples of this include EIE alumni Neatebox, which has raised around £300,000 investment with its Welcome app that helps people with disabilities let venues know their requirements in advance; and Topolytics, which beat 250 companies from 50 countries to win the $100,000 Google Cloud and SAP Circular Economy 2030 contest for its WasteMap waste management data platform.

Not only does work in these areas help improve quality of life for all citizens, something Scottish Enterprise is passionate about, it also makes great business sense in a changing world where the next big idea could become the next Unicorn.

Right now we’re seeing a fourth industrial revolution, with fast-paced technological developments fuelling the economy of the future, and Scotland is leading the way with industry and academia collaborating to create new possibilities through data driven innovation.

New ground is continually being broken and our globally-renowned assets like the Bayes Centre for Data Science and Technology at the University of Edinburgh (UoE), the Data Lab innovation centre and a fast-growing industry cluster all give us a competitive advantage. After three years of involvement with the Bayes Centre, it is fantastic to see the aspirations for increased collaboration internally and externally have become a reality, leading to a wide range of industry projects and partnerships and integrated entrepreneurial endeavour.

Edinburgh has the bold ambition of becoming the data capital of Europe supported by the UK and Scottish Governments’ Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. As part of this, the University of Edinburgh and its partners will train 100,000 people in the application of data over a 10-year period.

This environment provides a ripe breeding ground for SMEs to grow through data driven innovation. Disrupting markets and creating new business models which exploit access to information and better understanding of market behaviour is becoming a staple part of doing business in Scotland.

Put simply, investing in and embracing data driven innovation and disruptive technologies is critical to our future. It is estimated that data represents a £20bn opportunity for Scotland. The world is changing at pace and Scotland is in a strong position to capitalise on this.

For your tickets to see first-hand what some of our most innovative start-ups are doing in these areas, go to