IDEAScotland: New Innovation Centre Opens In Dundee

PrintIDEAScotland (Innovation and Digital Enterprise Alliance Scotland) is a new innovation centre located in Dundee’s University of Abertay.  The centre will support start-ups in the digital, technology and creative sectors.

IDEAScotland has been created by Scottish internet giant brightsolid, along with DC Thomson, the university of Dundee and the university of Abertay.  It will offer successful applicants free workspace, virtual networking, equipment, business mentoring and introductions to potential clients, customers, partners and investors.

IDEAScotland represents an initial investment of £250,000 by the founding partners, with potential additional investment available for individual businesses which meet commercial criteria.  The centre is looking for up to 10 start-up businesses in the first year, to help them grow, develop and create sustainable businesses.

The centre will work closely with the IDEALondon centre, announced in Shoreditch at the end of 2012, announced by prime minister David Cameron and established by DC Thomson, Cisco and University College London.  IDEAScotland and IDEALondon will share investor links, business opportunities and customer testing.

According to the centre’s press release:

IDEAScotland will support the applicants by combining the strengths of the partner organisations; their international expertise in publishing, technology and computer games.  Through Cisco’s National Virtual Incubator network, IDEAScotland can reach out to leading innovation centres across the UK.

The programme will run two cycles, each with three phases – the initial call for applications, an accelerator phase and a prototyping period.  The accelerator phase lasts eight weeks and focuses on team development and customer discovery.  IDEAScotland will add value to fledgling start-ups by combining online learning modules, practical tool sets, business advice, input from expert mentors and tailored workshops to help innovators achieve their potential.

At the conclusion of the accelerator phase every company will pitch to enter a 12-week prototyping phase.  The successful companies will receive up to £25,000 of funding from Abertay University’s Prototype Fund to develop a working prototype and demonstrate their viability by acquiring customers.  Companies will then participate in roadshows to pitch their product and organisation to potential investors.

Each cycle is underpinned by a team development programme, delivered by Insights, a global people development company with over 20 years’ experience in maximizing individual, team and leadership potential.

 

Time for some quotes:

Kenny Lowe, Head of Emerging Technologies at brightsolid, said: “Dundee has a long and vibrant history of innovation in the technology and digital media sectors that brightsolid is very proud to be a part of.  Through the IDEAScotland centre we are looking forward to helping jump start a new wave of exciting business ventures, leveraging support and information channels that wouldn’t traditionally be available to start-ups.”

Richard Hall, Director of DC Thomson, said: “DC Thomson has a long and successful history of supporting small businesses in reaching their potential.  IDEAScotland represents an exciting opportunity to further promote digital entrepreneurs in the UK, in particular in Dundee.”

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said: “IDEAScotland builds on our successful UK Prototype Fund in investing in digital start-ups, and we look forward to supporting exciting new companies that have the potential for rapid growth with the support of the partners and investors.”

Professor Tom Inns, Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) at University of Dundee, said: “IDEAScotland will form a key programme for our graduate and research talent.  Opportunities for new digital businesses are emerging from all the discipline areas within DJCAD.  Building future business opportunities in Dundee in collaboration with international networks can only be good news for all stakeholders in the region.”

We’re thrilled to hear that there’s a new organisation in Scotland which will help new companies in the digital, creative and interactive industries.  This is a good thing.

It addresses a major skills gap in the Scottish games sector – a lack of business understanding and the establishment of companies with real, long-term sustainability.  Again, this can only be a good thing.  Too few games companies see themselves as businesses.  The games sector can be extremely insular and very isolated from the rest of the digital and high tech sectors.

Exposure to investors and the realities of running a digital business, is something which we as a country, desperately need.  Convergence with the rest of the creative industries represents an opportunity we have be aware and take advantage of in the very near future, if Scotland’s creative economy is to achieve anything like its full potential.

On the flip side, the wider creative sector has had little or no exposure to the interactive and digital world and in many cases either dismiss, or don’t appreciate how fundamentally digital media is changing every aspect of the creative process, from creation, to distribution, monetisation and even consumption.

Anything which can bring the two sectors closer together is to be applauded.

We’re looking forward to finding out more about IDEAScotland and will be subjecting it to scrutiny bringing you all the information we can as the centre grows and evolves.

Congratulations to brightsolid, DC Thomson, Dundee university and the university of Abertay on what looks like an exceptionally useful and interesting new project for Scotland’s creative and digital future.

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