Leaders from the digital sector have joined the ONE Digital Board, which is working within private sector economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE), to catalyse the creation of digital businesses in North East Scotland and help the region’s key industries embrace digital solutions to achieve growth.
ONE aims to accelerate the development of the digital economy in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire via ONE Digital, its fifth sector board, with £4 million of initial funding over four years from The Wood Foundation.
The ONE Digital Board is being chaired by Sir Ian Wood with Bob Keiller as lead director for entrepreneurship and mentoring and Graeme Gordon of IFB, Neil Logan of Incremental Group and Phil Murray, Petrotechnics, as vice-chairmen.
The rest of the Board comprises Andy Bird, Innoapps; Sarah Forbes, Core 29/Peterson; Christian Arno, Lingo 24; Gary McEwan, Elevator; Adrian Gillespie, Scottish Enterprise; Susan Craw, Robert Gordon University; Bruce Scharlau, University of Aberdeen; Gillian Docherty, DataLab; Polly Purvis, ScotlandIS; Stephen Ashley, The Oil & Gas Technology Centre; and Jennifer Craw, ONE. A joint representative for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils is still to be confirmed.
ONE’s research into the digital economy has identified opportunities to grow the sector within the region based upon existing technical capabilities, opportunities for new business creation in industrial digital, significant scope for uptake of digital across key sectors and supply chains to enhance the development and delivery of products and services, and a relatively low level of digital entrepreneurs and support systems compared to other major UK cities.
The ONE Digital Board will work with the other ONE sector boards on action and investment to realise digital opportunities across the region’s key business sectors.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of ONE, who is also chairing ONE Digital in its introductory phase, said: “We have a real opportunity to develop a strong cluster of digital businesses in the region, building on existing and new capabilities and targeting areas where the right action can stimulate and accelerate growth.
“There’s huge potential to develop a number of digital product companies and this will be a prime focus. However, there’s also great potential to develop and apply digital technology across all our key sectors in the North East of Scotland. Right now, our major oil and gas operators and tier one contractors are heavily investing in digital process improvement and automation which will greatly enhance their efficiency to recover more from the North Sea. But all our other sectors are increasingly looking for digital solutions to make them more competitive, both nationally and internationally.
“Maggie McGinlay, who will join us as Senior Development Director and Deputy Chief Executive in the autumn, will play a leading strategic role in our digital work, as well as in major projects across ONE. Her extensive experience in economic development will be of enormous benefit, and Jackie Doyle will fill the role of Development Director Digital as well as continuing his support for ONE Oil & Gas,” said Sir Ian.