The trip to Finland will see Scottish tech top brass strengthen their ties with the global start-up community


The trip to Helsinki from November 12-20 is supported by the Scottish Government and the business agency Scottish Development International (SDI). The Scottish cohort, which will be joined by the technology incubator CodeBase, will seek to build connections with the global start-up community, peer-to-peer learning, investor engagement and learning best practices for building ecosystems from the Finnish model. The program of activities includes participation in the annual Slush tech conference in the Finnish capital.

The cohort of ten selected includes Christian Arno from Pawprint, Cally Russell from We Are Unfolded, Ross Toomer from Care Reality, Alex Lu from, Dagmara Aldridge from Zumo, Janani Prabhakaran from Unbaggaged, Pooja Katara from SENSEcity, Duncan Di Biase of Brillband, Euan Cameron of Willo and Victoria Fullerton of Toto Sleep.

Considered “the best start-up event in the world”, Slush takes place from November 17 to 18, with more than 4,000 start-ups and some 2,000 investors in attendance. The Foras Slush 2022 program was designed by Start-up Grind Scotland executives Dec McLaughlin, Nick Murray and Carolina Melendez. The Trip to Helsinki follows the success of a similar visit to Silicon Valley in April, with both visits stemming from Mark Logan’s review of Scotland’s tech ecosystem in 2020, Logan having recently said, of the Helsinki initiative , “To build world-class companies, start-up founders must always be outward looking, learning best practice techniques and frameworks from around the world.

Nick Murray, Janani Prabhakaran, Euan Cameron, Carolina Melendez and Dec McLaughlin.

Carolina Melendez, Chief Operating Officer of Start-up Grind Scotland, said: “We are delighted to bring together a very diverse cohort, not only in terms of business direction and stage of growth, but also in terms of age, ethnic origin, gender and lived experience. Selected from different locations across this amazing country, our delegates are a true illustration of Scotland’s eclectic entrepreneurial ecosystem. We know that travel will bring inspiration and professional opportunities, but the Foras model also encourages trust, openness and promotes peer relationships within the group. The cohort will return with invaluable experiences, new connections and a global mindset that we hope will benefit the Scottish tech ecosystem as a whole.

Prabhakaran, founder of travel tech start-up Unbaggaged, said: “As a young, woman of color starting a business, it can sometimes be difficult to have the same edge as local entrepreneurs who have established networks here in Scotland. I am ready to make the most of this opportunity to connect with my fellow Cohort Founders, be inspired by new ideas from a new ecosystem, as well as build international relationships to help grow the company to its full potential.

Scottish Business and Trade Minister Ivan Mckee said: “[This initiative] presents a wonderful opportunity for a diverse cohort of entrepreneurs to access new networks, share ideas, and ultimately come back with new insights to guide them in scaling their business. Fostering the growth of our start-up ecosystem can have a truly transformative effect on the Scottish economy. Ensuring we are outward looking and exposing founders to new experiences will lead us to become a true “startup nation” where reaching scale is a reality for our entrepreneurs. »


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