Russell Dalgleish is serial Scottish Entrepreneur and Investor, Strategist and Innovator. Russell has enjoyed the benefits of a highly successful international career in the technology sector and now focuses his efforts on supporting owners and boards of companies to devise and implement growth strategies to create shareholder value. In his earlier career he has held board leadership positions with International companies achieving turnover more than £200m. Core areas of focus are Leadership, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic thinking. He is a regular speaker at events on Leadership in business and has spoken at conferences from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi. Russell is founding Managing Partner of the advisory group, Exolta Capital Partners, and Founding Chairman Scottish Business Network, the global network supporting Scottish business leaders.

Q1: First of all Russell, tell us a bit about yourself and why you will be on one of the panels at The Edinburgh Business Show.
Well my name is Russell Dalgleish and I am a Scottish serial entrepreneur, investor and passionate supporter of Scottish business. I am the Managing Partner of the advisory group, Exolta Capital Partners, and Chairman of Scottish Business Network.
My core areas of focus is on Leadership, Value Creation and Strategic thinking. I am a regular speaker at events on Entrepreneurship and Leadership in business and have spoken at conferences from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi

Q2. You have had quite an international career, and your work with Scottish Business Network means you are often talking to business leaders in different markets. Do people have any preconceptions about companies in Scotland?
This was actually something that came up during the second annual Scottish International Week that we hosted with IoD Scotland back in September. We had a panel with business leaders from Australia, Dubai and the US and they all identified that Scots are viewed as hardworking with complete integrity, if perhaps not as „risk taking” as some cultures. Overall these are excellent traits when building relationships internationally.
All three speakers emphasised that there were no perceived barriers to international trade for Scottish companies and in fact, potential customers were likely to look at Scottish companies as a cost competitive, „safe” and „different thinking” in comparison to using a local supplier.
However to take advantage more Scottish business leaders had to „buy a plane ticket” and spend more time in the target market. There has never been such an opportunity for Scottish companies to access customers in new global markets.

Q3. Along with events like Scottish International Week, you have also been involved Trade Mission and Accelerators in other countries, what has your experience been with them?
Well there are two that stand out, my multiple trips to Silicon Valley with WeAreTheFuture and the inaugural EiE Asia which was held In Hong Kong in 2016.
The EiE Asia trip in particular was a great example of the collaboration between organisations in Scotland, I must commend all for their incredible efforts to deliver the unique trip and in particular Gordon Stuart & Danny Helson of Informatic Ventures, and City of Edinburgh Council who maintain a JV and incubator space with the Shenzhen Creative Investment Group.
My lasting impression of the day was one simply of pride.
– Pride in the presenters to deliver so eloquently the vision for their businesses.
– Pride to be part of the diverse range of Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem organisations combing to deliver this event.
– Pride in the local and international business community, many with Scottish accents, coming out on such a “break” day to support this event.
In regards to the WeAreTheFuture Accelerator trips to Silicon Valley, there was always something new, but what I took from it the most is that Scottish tech can be as good as anything in the Valley; but if you need to raise money, you have to buy a plane ticket and if you are in tech you must find a way to spend some time here.

Q5. We’ve spoken a lot about what Scottish companies can do internationally, what about back here in Edinburgh. Is there any support for up and coming Tech Startups here in Scotland that can help take them to the next level?
There are a lot of support networks out there but, for tech companies in particular, they should really look to ScotlandIS. They are the trade body which represents the interests of those working in the IT and Digital sectors here in Scotland, they are working towards educating fellow Scots to the opportunities that will be 30 presented as technologies from AI to IoT disrupt and transform our world.