For existing small retail businesses and tech startups, or entrepreneurs thinking of taking the plunge and starting their own business, using a global digital and physical infrastructure like Amazon’s is a quick way to grow and succeed.
With the rise of the on-demand economy, convenience and speed are a must for targeting the modern customer. Expert speakers, including Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, will be on hand at the Amazon Academy on 23rd May at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, to offer hundreds of Scottish businesses and entrepreneurs advice on how they can reach a domestic and international customer base without compromising on quality or incurring high costs.
Ahead of the Amazon Academy, Real Business has been given a preview of some of the key speakers who will discuss how small businesses can tap into Scotland’s digital economy.
Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy
Paul Wheelhouse has been Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy since May 2016. He is a qualified economist with a degree in Economics from the University of Aberdeen and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. His specialism is in higher and further education markets, policy evaluation and impact assessment of capital projects. In his current role he is responsible for areas including business, industry and manufacturing, energy, financial services and innovation. The minister will address the hundreds of businesses attending the Amazon Academy before taking part in a Q&A session.
Gayle Mann, Entrepreneurial Spark
Gayle has worked for 17 years supporting some of Scotland’s most exciting businesses, inventors, innovators and leaders in technology. With Entrepreneurial Spark, Gayle has worked with more than 150 entrepreneurs across the UK and now leads an Enablement Team which has helped companies achieve £85m worth of turnover, £45m of investment and more than one thousand jobs. Gayle will be speaking to some home-grown entrepreneurial talent and discuss how they succeeded in growing their business.
Katie Dash, CBI Scotland
Katie has worked for the CBI since 2013 and has experience across roles in policy work on pensions, pay and international employment as well as political affairs. Katie’s work with the CBI focuses on UK-wide issues which relate to Scottish businesses such as tax and fiscal matters and the impact of the EU referendum. Her insight into the rapidly changing economic and political landscape of the UK, and Scotland’s place in it, is sure to be of interest to the hundreds of businesses attending the Amazon Academy.
Ian Blewett, Scottish Enterprise
Ian Blewett is an expert in the digital economy and its impact on Scottish businesses. He has worked at Scottish Enterprise for well over a decade, leading economic development policy. He is Head of Technology Sector & the Digital Economy and is ideally placed to offer advice on how Scottish businesses, particularly those in the technology industry, can make the most of e-commerce.
Frances Sneddon, ScotlandIS
ScotlandIS represents and supports businesses and organisations creating and delivering digital products. Frances is Deputy Chair on the board thanks to her two decades of work at the SIMUL8 Corporation. She is Chief Technology Officer and has a keen interest in R&D and software development. She is passionate about helping develop the next generation of technology leaders, many of whom will be attending the Amazon Academy in Edinburgh.
The quartet of business leaders will be taking part in a group discussion chaired by Emma Jones, MBE, from Enterprise Nation. Emma launched Enterprise Nation in 2006 as the home business website, and has since expanded to become a small business community of over 75,000 people who benefit from business books, events and funding: online, in print and in person. Enterprise Nation also presents a campaigning voice to government and the media on behalf of its members.
The Amazon Academy is a free one-day event featuring presentations and workshops from experts and entrepreneurs, focusing on providing small and medium