• The Founders

  • The Founders

    Christine Esson

    Co-founder of Scottish Business Network

    “My aim is to make the Scottish Business Network the go-to network for businesses which have the ambition, passion and commitment to grow outside Scotland.”

    In markets where there’s a clear market opportunity, Christine’s mission is to match it with Scottish capability.


    With an emphasis on pragmatic advice, and thirty years of experience in economic development, Christine is uniquely positioned to aid aspirant entrepreneurs.


    An excellent relationship manager, she has utilised her skills at corporate client/relationship management to become a high-profile connector. Christine facilitates conversations and brings the right people together. In her role as co-founder of the Scottish Business network, she is nurturing a community in order to create sustainable market entry for aspiring entrepreneurs.


    One of Christine’s roles is to facilitate entrepreneurial Scots receiving advice from experienced Scottish leaders through events, practical support packages and mentoring. She has not only created an environment where aspiring entrepreneurs can pitch to senior business leaders for specific support at events, but a platform for senior executives to nurture links with up-and-coming businesses. Fostering connections is an important part of any business, and dialogue post-event is actively encouraged.


    Her role with the Scottish Business Network is also to manage the strategic intent and operations, as well as widening the membership in London. Based in capital, she believes that the city is a launch pad and incubator for entrepreneurialism and that once strategy and operations are perfected in London, businesses are ready to take their brand international.


    As an economic development specialist, Christine’s lengthy career has involved eight years at Enterprise Ireland where she led the overseas team in the UK and sixteen years at Scottish Enterprise where she progressed to Senior Director. She has experience in both the government and private sector. Her expertise lies in strategic business planning and board level contribution and she has led and developed large teams, as well as focusing on global export and business growth strategies.


    Christine’s reach even extends to fiction – she’s a character in Ian Rankin’s popular John Rebus novels. DC Christine Esson is a 20-something Audrey Hepburn lookalike, who assists Rebus in four novels with her tech expertise and dislikes tea and coffee. She is based on real-life Christine, who won the amazing opportunity to be immortalised in print in a charity auction.


    LinkedIn | @sbnchristine | christine@sbn.scot

    Russell Dalgleish

    Co-founder of Scottish Business Network

    “My goal is to build the largest network of Scots business leaders in the world. Network members will collaborate and support Scottish based businesses with the goal of creating jobs, generating revenue and delivering opportunities for our fellow citizens.”

    As one of the most connected Scottish businessman, Russell is a high-profile influencer and connector, as well as a serial entrepreneur. He is the founding Managing Partner of the advisory group, Exolta Capital Partners as well as angel investor. In his earlier career he has held board leadership positions with International companies achieving turnover in excess of £200m.


    Russell believes that there is untapped potential within Scottish businesses which can be realised by encouraging an increase in international business and export. His passion for this subject was recognised by the Scottish Government who have appointed him to the Scottish Board of Trade.


    Today Russell sits on the boards on ten companies and organisations including Institute of Directors Scotland, Startedin and ScotlandIS. He is an active member of Merchant Company of Edinburgh , Asia Scotland Institute and supporter of organisations championing female business leaders Changing the Chemistry and the Association of Scottish Business Women.


    Regularly appearing on lists of top 100 most influential entrepreneurs, he was also recently named on the Maserati 100 – a list of Britain’s business leaders doing the most to promote and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.


    An experienced speaker, Russell has delivered entrepreneur focused events in Abu Dhabi, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Shenzhen, China.


    Russell’s success has been commemorated in a number of ways, but most notably by sculptor Anthony Gormley. He was turned into a living statue, fully kilted, on a plinth in Trafalgar Square for charity.


    LinkedIn | @RussellExolta | russell@sbn.scot



    Freer Consultancy

    Laura Hamilton and Nick Freer of strategic corporate communications firm Freer Consultancy - Scotland's foremost PR adviser to the tech and entrepreneurial scene - advise Scottish Business Network on media relations and social media.

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