What’s in a name? – High Growth Scotland with Kim McAllister

Well, if you want to come up smelling like roses, rather a lot.

It generally comes down to which URL is available – though you should probably consider connotations and the way it trips off the tongue. 

This column began as The Daily Scale Up, became the Weekly Scale Up and now, as I get deeper into the entrepreneurial world it represents, I’m wondering whether I should swap scale up for ‘high growth’.

My editor and publisher collects domains like I collect ladybirds, so we’re thinking for 2018 we’ll give this column a new home on highgrowth.scot. There you’ll find all the stories about the wonderful Scottish entrepreneurial scene – from startup and investment to growth and export.

You can also follow High Growth Scotland on Twitter and Facebook.

Sitting amongst all that news will be my column, attempting to share the behind-the-scenes gossip. You see, as interesting as the financials and appointments are, my favourite part of this job is asking the founders and CEOs: ‘but how?’

Were you on a stag do when you met that key contact, like Lingo24’s Christian Arno?

Did you expect, when you sat at your dining room table with some friends, to have expanded beyond your office space twice in one yearlike Hydrogen’s Mike Scott?

Would you have invented that product if you hadn’t been pregnant and looking for a great tasting soft drink, like Karen Knowles of Bon Accord?

Everyone’s story is so different, but as an aspiring entrepreneur you can learn so much from others’ experiences. As an investor, you can get an insight into where people are in their journey to success. As a professional service, like accountants, lawyers and bankers, you can spot the potential new clients and as a working-age adult you can see for yourself the types of companies out there looking to expand their teams.

 In writing this column each week I hope I’m telling a good story that appeals to a varied audience, not just being nosy and spilling all the secrets.

I think it’s working because people are starting to come to me with their tales, or recommend others to speak to. I’m always happy to have a chat on the phone or a coffee round Edinburgh – it was one such meeting that led to my exclusive last week.

I’m also genuinely excited to hear about new and growing businesses. I have such respect for those who pursue their idea and build the team around it. I know how challenging it can be and I’m aware of the determination and resilience required to keep the faith in your product or service, when it would be so much easier to accept that monthly payslip. 

I think we should be extremely proud of our ecosystem here in Scotland. Jamie Coleman of Codebase pointed out the almost perfect combination of leading universities, inspiring art schools, setting, lifestyle, and population size in this country. It’s a big enough market for many businesses to establish themselves and yet government funding and industry leaders are close enough to access. 

We’re building links and establishing incubators and business support centres so that someone with a great idea is given a decent chance for it to succeed.

I find it all incredibly inspiring, which is why I’ve become involved in some startups myself, GlenWyvis distillery in Dingwall being the one I’ve written about in this column.

So as we all wind down for the festive season and begin to look towards the new year, I just want us to take a minute to be proud.

It may have been a tumultuous year economically and politically – but some amazing things have been happening businesswise. For a country of only 5 million, we are producing some really game-changing companies and can count on serious talent working here. 

I intend to keep telling you all about them.

Kim McAllister is a Journalist & Communications Consultant and director of Impact Online

You can also follow High Growth Scotland on Twitter and Facebook.

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