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On the 12th Day of SISmas, ScotlandIS gave to me… 12 busy months!

Check out this blog from CEO Karen Meechan, summarising everything that ScotlandIS has been up to this year on behalf of our membership.

At ScotlandIS, our vision is for our membership and the sector to be recognised as innovative, ambitious, competitive and inclusive – not just here in Scotland, but to the rest of the UK and internationally. 

For ScotlandIS and the team, our fantastic members are at the forefront of everything we deliver; our goal is to provide services, benefits and solutions to enable our members to grow their businesses.  We’ve created a network that spans the globe and are recognised as the voice of the industry across these networks and public sector bodies both in Scotland and the wider UK. 

As you’ll see, 2022 has been extremely busy for the team! We’ve tried to highlight a few of the key activities that have taken place over the past 12 months below:

Return to events

It’s been a joy to return to physical events and catch up with everyone in person once again. We’ve delivered an incredible 74 events since January, including our ScotSoft conference, the Digital Tech Awards and our Cluster Ecosystem Conference. We’ve spoken at over 30 events promoting the ScotlandIS members and their capabilities to organisations around the world, including in Dubai, Bahrain, Estonia, across the USA and UK.   

Silver CMO Status Renewal

We successfully renewed our Silver Cluster Management Organisation accreditation through ESCA (European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis) this year. This award (first achieved in 2020) places us at the forefront of cluster management in the UK, and gives us access to the wider European cluster network and the opportunities that accompany this.

Representing our membership

ScotlandIS sit on over 30 advisory groups/boards, from the Migration Advisory Board with the Home Office, to Global Epic. We’re also part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation Delivery Programme advisory board, and the Scottish Export Strategy board. All of these groups give us the opportunity to provide input from the point of view of our members, and promote their organisations, solutions and services.   

We raised concerns with Scottish Government about the unlimited liability clause in their contract T&C’s, which was highlighted to us by members large and small, and this has now been amended. 

Cyber innovation

As a result of our close relationship with DCMS and our partnership with UKC3, this year we delivered the Cyber Showcase programme, the first of its kind in Scotland. We took 12 cyber startups through a programme of coaching and mentoring, culminating in pitching to a room of investors and industry buyers. We’ll have a further update on the outcomes over the coming weeks and months; initial feedback has been overwhelming positive from both the cohort and the investors and buyers that were in the room. 

Building the skills pipeline

Skills is still a big focus for the membership and this year we delivered Digital Critical Friends to 170 high schools across Glasgow, the West and South of Scotland, in a bid to create the future talent pipeline for our members. Our Digital Critical Friends also helped SQA design the New HN Next Gen qualifications in Software Engineering, Computer Science and Networks and Infrastructure.

We created over 200 paid placements for students studying in Scotland, and by the end of the year we will have distributed over £600k funding for cyber upskilling across industry and the public sector, in addition to the £185k we distributed to our Managed Service Provider’s to secure CE/CE+ accreditation.   

We were the first supporters, and continue to support, the now award-winning “Empowering Women to Lead..” Programmes, which look to upskill women currently in tech and cyber leadership roles and those who aspire to be future leaders. Finally, we’re working on an exciting initiative with West Lothian College and will reveal more information on that soon. 

Reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint

Last year, we launched the ScotlandIS Members Grove, a rewilding initiative based on planting trees in the Scottish Highlands on behalf of each of our members every year. In 2021, we started with 450 trees (one for each member company) and this year we were pleased to plant 500 for our renewed and newly joined member companies.

An 11% growth in membership now means we’re supporting just over 1000 companies, between our members and our clusters.  Our retention rate is 93% and its stayed consistently in the high 90’s even throughout COVID; what’s more, we’ve grown our revenue by almost 40% in the last 12 months, meaning we can do more to help our members.

Stay tuned for more

As you can see, the team have been extremely busy supporting the membership in every way we can, but we’re not done yet and we plan to do more to help our members achieve their growth goals. 

Thanks for your support in 2022, now bring on 2023! 

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