Sometimes we're all guilty of thinking too small and missing out on the world of opportunity out there. Nowhere is this more important than in the world of business. The theme of the recent WeDo event was 'Finding Funding' and what was particularly useful was that Russell gave details of a whole range of sources of Scottish funding sources that many in the audience had never heard of before. For example, have you looked at www.business.scotland.gov.uk? It sets out most of the grants that are available to businesses in Scotland or to Scottish businesses looking to operate abroad.
I have always found it really useful and often inspiring to hear from those who have been there and done it. People who have a proven track record of success. Russell certainly falls into that category.
People Don’t Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It
Russell also gave some useful tips on winning funding and how to pitch successfully. What he said was relevant to all businesses, not only those seeking funding. I especially liked the quote from Simon Sinek at TED that people don’t buy what you do, they buy how you do it and why you do it. This is true for all businesses (even lawyers!). We all have to get out there and explain to people not just what we do but more importantly how we do and why we do it! If you’re interested, check out Sinek’s talk for yourself below:
Do All Roads Lead To London?
I really liked his focus on London. After all, that’s where most of the money is in the UK. It’s where the biggest deals happen. Russell told the story that he spoke to a Scottish business with an Edinburgh office that recently opened a second office in Glasgow. His comment was “Why Glasgow? Why not London?” Scottish businesses should look big. A lot of MBM’s clients do just that.
Russell’s comments were completely in line with MBM’s experience. Many of our clients are based in London or are branching out there. Over the last five years London has become a familiar and welcoming place for MBM to work. So much so that we have taken desk space and now have a dedicated team servicing the London market.
The Value of the Public Sector
I was really encouraged by his stories of fantastic support from public bodies. Russell gave an example that one of his own companies was looking to employ one member of staff. Thanks to a salary matching scheme from a local authority, half the salary was paid for by the local authority. So he hired not one but two graduates and the local authority paid for half the salary of both. In one of the worst job markets for graduates in living memory, two university leavers will now get fantastic work experience to fire their careers. It’s really heartening to hear that.
Start-up and technology companies are vital to the UK economy. I left the event really encouraged that entrepreneurs and public sector are working together in traditional and innovative ways to drive our economy so we can continue to punch above our weight in the global economy.
Public sector funding initiatives don’t always come in for positive press but are there any measures that you have benefited from that you would like to champion? If so, I’d love to know in the comments below.
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