Following the Scottish Business Network’s last in-person event in London in late February 2020, we have hosted over 160 virtual gatherings to keep our global network of members and ambassadors both engaged and supported. On September 7th, however, we were finally able to host our first in-person event in over 18 months with our ‘London Gathering’ hosted at the historic London Scottish House, with representation from; Christine Esson, Scott Dalgleish, Jonny Downie and keynote speaker, Liz Barclay.
The event saw members and friends come together to finally share their trials and tribulations over what has been an extremely challenging time, rekindling old relationships and making new ones, sharing their stories together, both personal and professional alike, and, as ever, the floor was open to attendees to showcase a number of their business “Asks” through our ‘One Minute Wonders’ section prior to the keynote. A key benefit in having a sector agnostic event was once again highlighted at this point of the evening as there are always unique insights and learnings shared between sectors as to how they have overcome challenges as well as optimised on opportunities. These can range from; investment advice, mitigating barriers to entry and new product development.
The evening was then rounded off by an inspiring keynote session with Liz Barclay, UK Small Business Commissioner. It was clear from this that many learnings were drawn from the suite of SME business owners in the room as well as an appreciation that Liz is someone at the helm that will be a true advocate moving forward for the voice of SMEs in government to lobby, advise & support.
SBN virtual gatherings were absolutely essential in order for us to continue to develop tangible opportunities for Scottish businesses during the depths of the lockdown, doing so also led to many more of these being global. One thing was certainly apparent, though, during our London Gathering is that there is nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting to accelerate a business relationship and garner ideas.
Moving forward, the Scottish Business Network aim to continue to host virtual events to keep their ever growing global community of the Scottish diaspora connected as well as running a series of hybrid virtual/in-person sessions.