• Speakers

  • 2018 Speakers

    Nicola Sturgeon

    First Minister of Scotland

    Scottish Government

    Leah Hutcheon - Founder and CEO - Appointedd

    Leah Hutcheon

    Founder and CEO


    Steve Dunlop - CEO - Scottish Canals

    Steve Dunlop


    Scottish Canals

    Adam Purvis - Cofounder - FutureX - Adam Purvis Cofounder of FutureX, his latest venture, has had one of the most significant impacts as an individual on how the Scottish Government supports entrepreneurship, startups and innovation over the last 5 years. Wired into the Scottish entrepreneurial scene, Adam serves on the MSc E&I Innovation Board of University of Edinburgh Business School, the Advisory Board of Napier University Business School and is a passionate and vocal advocate of the business for good movement.

    Darren McGarvey aka Loki

    Artist, Author, Columnist

    Indy Johar - Cofounder - Dark Matter Laboratories

    Indy Johar


    Dark Matter Laboratories

    Rachael Brown - CEO - Cultural Enterprise Office

    Rachael Brown


    Cultural Enterprise Office

    Mel Young is a leading social entrepreneur and passionate changemaker, and has spent his career fighting exclusion and inequality.   With a background in journalism, he has founded several initiatives, including The Big Issue in Scotland, a street paper sold by homeless people and he co-founded International Network of Street Papers. He is best known, however, for establishing the Homeless World Cup: under his leadership, it has grown into a globally recognised brand that has touched the lives of over a million homeless people around the world.   He is continually creating and evolving new social initiatives. He has recently helped establish the Million Seater Stadium, an online fundraising platform. He has also established a new discussion forum called the New Ism which aims to create a new, more inclusive economic system that brings together the efforts of social innovators across the world. The New ism will invite these trailblazers to debate across several formats how to create sustainable and widespread change.   Mel also has several other roles. He is Chairman of Sport Scotland and on the board of UK Sport, promoting the role of sport in transforming society. He speaks at events around the world and continues to write – he has a regular blog and recently released his first book, Home Game. He is a Senior Ashoka Fellow and a Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum, and was awarded an MBE in 2017.

    Mel Young


    Homeless World Cup

    Homeless World Cup

    Zoi Kantounatou - Cofounder - FutureX

    Zoi Kantounatou



    Bruce - Cofounder - FutureX - Bruce is the Cofounder and Managing Director of FutureX, an organisation that believes that every business can contribute to the betterment of society. We connect, educate and inspire people to build a better world through business by creating unique and worthwhile events, programmes and partnerships.  Bruce founded his first business WeAreTheFuture aged 17 and over the following years built entrepreneurship focused programmes and summits that ran across Europe, US, Middle East and Asia, partnering with some of the world most successful companies and founders. In 2017 we merged WeAreTheFuture with Power of Youth, an international community of purpose led entrepreneurs, creating FutureX.

    Bruce Walker



    Adam Purvis - Cofounder - FutureX - Adam Purvis Cofounder of FutureX, his latest venture, has had one of the most significant impacts as an individual on how the Scottish Government supports entrepreneurship, startups and innovation over the last 5 years. Wired into the Scottish entrepreneurial scene, Adam serves on the MSc E&I Innovation Board of University of Edinburgh Business School, the Advisory Board of Napier University Business School and is a passionate and vocal advocate of the business for good movement.

    Adam Purvis



    Josiah Lockhart - CEO - Firstport - Josiah is a serial social entrepreneur with over 10 years senior management experience helping oversee organisations through intense transition, start-up, and restructuring, including leading the development at some of Scotland’s top performing social enterprises. Currently Chief Executive at Firstport, Josiah leads a team that supports over 1100 new entrepreneurs a year to take their first steps towards setting up and accelerating businesses with social impact at their core. Josiah also sits on the Scottish Land Fund committee, a £10mil fund that helps communities acquire and manage community assets and businesses.

    Josiah Lockhart



    Dr Olga Kozlova is the Founder and Director of Converge Challenge - the leading company creation creation programme aimed at students, graduates and staff of all nineteen Scottish Universities.  Olga started her career as a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow. She then moved on to become a founder and a CEO in a biotechnology start-up company and afterwards worked in business development and knowledge exchange in life sciences sector.  She is experienced mentor and non-executive director. Her current focus is on delivery of entrepreneurship education and support to early stage companies. Her background includes business development, technology start-ups and investment.  Olga is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Business Innovation Forum and a Trustee of Young Enterprise Scotland.  Olga holds a PhD in Fungal Cell Biology from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in New Venture Creation from Glasgow Caledonian University.

    Dr Olga Kozlova

    Founder and Director

    Converge Challenge

  • 2019 Speakers

    Be the first to know who's speaking at Impact Summit 2019

  • Roundtable Hosts 2018

    Every delegate had the opportunity to raise their views at roundtable discussions led by our welcoming hosts

    Callum Murray - Founder and CEO - Amiqus - Callum is Entrepreneurial Scotland's Rising Star 2017 and founding CEO of Amiqus, an award-winning tech startup based in Edinburgh and Cambridge with a mission to make civil justice accessible to everyone.

    Callum Murray

    Founder / CEO


    Margaret Gibson OBE - Head of Social Enterprise - EY Foundation - Margaret currently leads the EY Foundation in Scotland, working with young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, finding alternative routes into employment and education, or in setting up a business. Prior to her current role, she was the Chief Executive of Women's Enterprise Scotland, a community interest company involved in raising the profile of women seeking to establish and grow businesses, and recognising the impact that more women led businesses have on Scotland’s economy.  She has supported youth entrepreneurship for almost 30 years, as Deputy Chief Executive of The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust and as a volunteer with Young Enterprise Scotland. Margaret is also a Governor with the University of the West of Scotland and a Trustee of the charity The Lens, working with Public Sector and Third sector organisations to examine intrapreneurship and innovation in their processes. She is a founding trustee of award winning charity smartSTEMS, inspiring young women into STEM careers.  Margaret provided consultancy support to Youth Business International and has hosted visits to Scotland from a variety of YBI charities from Russia, Spain, Ukraine, Argentina, Uganda, Sri Lanka and Singapore.  She has worked extensively in the Eastern Caribbean with five youth charities.  She was the first woman in Scotland to receive the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2015 and was awarded an OBE in the 2017 New Year's Honours List.  Her work has also been recognised by the Institute of Directors and the Charities Aid Foundation.  Margaret is passionate about helping others (particularly young people and women) to develop entrepreneurial skills and works closely with business networks across the globe.

    Margaret Gibson OBE

    Head of Social Enterprise

    EY Foundation

    Josiah Lockhart - CEO - Firstport - Josiah is a serial social entrepreneur with over 10 years senior management experience helping oversee organisations through intense transition, start-up, and restructuring, including leading the development at some of Scotland’s top performing social enterprises. Currently Chief Executive at Firstport, Josiah leads a team that supports over 1100 new entrepreneurs a year to take their first steps towards setting up and accelerating businesses with social impact at their core. Josiah also sits on the Scottish Land Fund committee, a £10mil fund that helps communities acquire and manage community assets and businesses.

    Josiah Lockhart



    Colin started his first company straight out of university, and launched Float in 2012, which has now grown to 18 people.  Interested in all things FinTech, startups, leadership and family life.  Colin was one of the first tenants to move into CodeBase in Edinburgh, and has been part of helping build a community of entrepreneurs there for the past 4 years.  Float’s mission is to help businesses understand their numbers better and build forecasts they can rely on.

    Colin Hewitt



    Melanie van de Velde - Founder - Big Tree Global - Founder of Big Tree Global, and hugely passionate about helping business to develop creative and effective strategies to strengthen their core business model to make a real difference to some of the globe's most pressing issues. With humanity using the resources of 1.6 planets, and 1 billion people living on less than $2 a day there are some amazing things we can do. We just need to find the right solutions.  Melanie is just completing her PhD research project and a series of documentary films sharing insights from inspirational pioneers in 'profits for purpose' that can be viewed at: http://www.fishclimbingtrees.global/  Prior to founding Big Tree Global Melanie has 17 years experience in different senior management roles from running global improvement projects, to strategic management consultancy and looking after markets in Asia Pacific. She has an MSc in Industrial Engineering and graduated first in class when gaining an MBA with distinction at Glasgow University.

    Melanie van de Velde


    Big Tree Global

    Thomas Gillan - Chief Financial and Strategy Officer - Social Investment Scotland - Thomas is responsible for the financial management and strategic planning within SIS; supporting the delivery of the overall vision and mission of the organisation. In 2015, he led the development of SIS Community Capital, the UK’s first social co-investment fund raising investment using Social Investment Tax Relief. With a background in corporate finance, he is passionate about social entrepreneurship, connecting organisations with mission-aligned investors to support inclusive growth and social impact.   In 2016 Thomas was named the sustainability winner in the top 35 CAs under 35 by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland.

    Thomas Gillan

    Chief Financial & Strategy Officer

    Social Investment Scotland

    Susan Aktemel is Director of Homes for Good (Scotland) CIC, and Homes for Good Investments Ltd. An experienced property developer, she has  combined these skills with her commitment to improving people’s lives to create Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency and social landlord in the private rented sector. From 1994-2012 she created and grew Impact Arts, now a leading Scottish charity. Since 2014 she has raised over £9.5million in social investment for Homes for Good, which was named Social Enterprise of the Year 2016 in the Scottish Business and Social Enterprise Scotland Awards. In November 2017 she received an Honorary Doctorate from Strathclyde Business School for achievements in Social Enterprise. Susan is also a co-opted committee member of Blochairn Housing Co-operative, and a mentor for The Young Foundation.

    Susan Aktemel


    Homes for Good

    Nick Freer is a founding director of PR agency, the Freer Consultancy and investment advisory firm, Full Circle Partners.  Nick learned his trade in London with Europe's top financial and corporate communications firm, Maitland, where clients included Deloitte, Westfield, BBC and J Sainsbury.  He relocated to Scotland in the early 2000s and has established himself as the leading PR adviser to the tech, entrepreneurial and high growth startup scene specialising in strategic PR based on a PR path aligned with business objectives.    Recent experience includes working closely with founders like Mike Welch at Blackcircles.com and Gareth Williams at Skyscanner around profile raising in the press in the run up to major transactions - including Michelin's acquisition of Blackcircles in 2015 and Sequoia Capital's investment in Skyscanner in 2013.  Nick also counts incubator CodeBase, the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics, Informatics Ventures, pureLiFi, Administrate, Care Sourcer, MindMate and Amiqus as clients.

    Nick Freer

    Founding Director

    Full Circle Partners

    Lynne Cadenhead - CEO - Woman's Enterprise Scotland - A serial entrepreneur, Lynne has over 20 years' investment experience, investing in, mentoring and nurturing a range of early stage technology and retail companies throughout the UK. She has worked with a wide portfolio of technology companies - from pharmaceuticals and polymers, to prosthetics and optics - and has also managed two early stage technology venture capital funds, served on over 30 boards and started up her own games company.

    Lynne Cadenhead


    Women's Enterprise Scotland

    Gary has 23 years experience in Financial Services, 12 of those working as a strategic business change (project / programme) manager, leading, planning, managing, and implementing the delivery of large, complex projects in the banking sector.  in 2016, he left financial services to launch The Mindful Enterprise C.I.C., a social enterprise with a mission to inspire existing and future generations from all backgrounds to live a conscious, peaceful and fulfilling life using the power of mindfulness and meditation.  Gary has a vision to help change education, organisations, communities and workplaces in Scotland to ensure they are better equipped for life in a fast moving, modern world and can support the future prosperity and healing of our planet and its inhabitants through innovation, conscious decision making, collaboration and compassion.

    Gary Young

    Founder CEO

    The Mindful Enterprise C.I.C

    Rob is the CEO and founder of Kindaba (https://kindaba.com), the private gathering place for families. Before Kindaba, Rob was responsible for developing and leading Bus 52 (http://bus52.com), a 501(c3) nonprofit project that featured the production of 100 documentary-style video pieces highlighting people and organisations who were doing inspiring things across America but lacked recognition. He’s appeared on numerous local print, TV, and radio stations in the US (ABC, NBC, FOX, NPR) and nationally (CBS). Aside from his work with Kindaba, he helped start the CodeYourFuture coding school for refugees in Glasgow and cooks Doro Wot for the weekly classes as often as he can. You can reach him on rob@kindaba.com to talk impact, startups, school buses, or anything Star Trek related.

    Robert Gelb

    Founder and CEO


    Kallum “with a K” Russell is co-founder and Chief Enterprise Officer (CEO) of Acorn Enterprise, an organisation on a MISSION to grow the UK’s start-up culture.  It educates and accelerates new businesses and Student entrepreneurs!  Launched over 4 years ago, Acorn Enterprise runs entrepreneurial training programmes and events for new and growing businesses, Colleges and Universities, and other organisations that want to put entrepreneurship at the heart of what they do. They also offer rapid prototyping through their Acorn 3D Printing services.  Born and bred in Fife, Scotland, he has been working with the Scottish entrepreneurial community for a number of years. Before co-founding Acorn Enterprise, Kallum also successfully launched a networking group, Dunfermline Talks Business, and ran a marketing consultancy for small businesses, Audacious Marketing.  Kallum is regularly invited to speak at events and conferences, sharing his experience of co-founding and running a Business Accelerator and talking about student enterprise and wider topics on entrepreneurship.

    Kallum Russell


    Acorn Enterprise

    Jen is and Educational Entrepreneur and international speaker. Jen is the founder and Managing Director of ISSOS International, a company that’s designs, creates and operates international summer programs for 13-18 year olds from over 70 nationalities based at St Andrews, Cambridge and Yale Universities. ISSOS was launched in 2006 and catered to 51 students and now operates over three campuses catering to over 600 students every summer and known as a leading name in summer school education.    Jen is an award winning Entrepreneur and was recently a finalist in prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the year awards, in addition Jen is a popular speaker and has been recognized as one of the top Business and Marketing speakers in the UK. Jen has done a TedX Talk in the US on the on the principles behind what makes ISSOS so different, this has lead to Jen giving a number of talks on “Values Led business and Values Led education.

    Jen Munro

    Founder and Director

    ISSOS International

    Glasgow born entrepreneur and philanthropist, Iain’s career has taken him internationally in the turnaround and transformation of 18 companies as Chairman or CEO and a trusted adviser to over 100 others. Experienced in leading change in organisations from 50 to 5000 employees and also having led 3 successful new business start-ups, Iain has a particular track record in helping develop successful teams and individuals to realise their full potential. Setting up his Charitable Foundation in Glasgow in 2006, Iain has dedicated 5 years as a fulltime volunteer to lead and develop the transformational MCR Pathways mentoring and talent development programme. With staff now in every secondary school in Glasgow supporting over 1000 of the most disadvantaged young people, the programme is now being embedded within the education system across the country. The plan is ultimately to establish MCR as a national model to ensure that the young people are defined by the talents and potential and never their circumstances.

    Iain MacRitchie

    Founder, Chair & CEO

    MCR Holdings

    Nicola Douglas, Regional Head of Business Growth, Entrepreneurship and Programmes Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)  As HIE’s Regional Head of Business Growth, Entrepreneurship and Programmes, Nicola leads a broad range of activities to accelerate businesses growth in every part of the Highlands and Islands.    Working across a diverse region that covers half of Scotland, her responsibilities include developing and running programmes to strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation for business leaders. She also oversees the work of the agency’s business account managers – locally-based, front line staff who work directly with hundreds of client companies every day.  At national level, Nicola has forged strong connections with partner agencies, government departments, business organisations, banks and others who support the growth of individual businesses, sectors and clusters.    Nicola joined HIE in August 2014, and has a background in commercial business banking with the Royal Bank of Scotland.  This has proven invaluable in her current role, where she is involved in access to finance support, with a particular focus on investment.  She is a graduate of the University of the Highlands and Islands, where she studied Business Management and Finance.  She holds further qualifications in Entrepreneurship and Economic Development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard Business School.

    Nicola Douglas

    Regional Head of Business Growth

    Highlands and Islands Enterprise

    Geoff Leask - CEO - Young Enterprise Scotland - Geoff has over 17 years’ experience of working in the Youth Enterprise arena. Before joining Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) he spent 14 years with the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT). This included 8 years of regional responsibility before joining the senior management team and going on to serve as Director. One of his key objectives since joining YES was to develop a new Programme to develop entrepreneurship activity across the Further Education sector – Bridge 2 Business.

    Geoff Leask


    Young Enteprise Scotland

    Alan Donal - Area Manager - Linc Scotland - Alan worked for Lloyds TSB for 23 years, having joined as a Management Trainee. Most of his career was spent on the commercial side of the bank, where he developed an interest in entrepreneurs. He was an early supporter of Business Forum, one of the very first support groups for entrepreneurial businesses. He is now the Area Manager for LINC Scotland, the trade association for business angels. As well as supporting the existing investment syndicates and promoting angel investment in Scotland, part of the role involves advising potential start-ups about the investment scene & how to attract interest from investors.

    Alan Donald

    Area Manager

    Linc Scotland

    Fiona Godsman - CEO - Scottish Institute for Enterprise - Fiona Godsman is Chief Executive of the Scottish Institute of Enterprise (SIE), she also serves on serves on a number of advisory groups related to enterprise and entrepreneurship education, sits on the board of trustees of Glasgow Clyde College and is a member of Entrepreneurial Scotland. Prior to leading SIE, Fiona founded a specialist marketing consultancy, utilising her experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

    Fiona Godsman


    Scottish Institute for Enterprise

    Alex is the Acting Chief Executive at Social Enterprise Scotland, Scotland’s national membership body and network for social enterprises. Alex joined SES in 2017 as Strategy and Projects Manager after deciding to make a career change from policy and strategy consulting. Before SES, Alex worked for PwC in London, Melbourne and Edinburgh. She supported government policy teams, third sector organisations and social enterprises in a range of different sectors including early education, social care and justice, helping them with strategy and policy development, research and analysis, evaluation and stakeholder engagement.

    Alex Baker

    Acting Chief Executive

    Social Enterprise Scotland

    Dr Steve Ewing is Director of Operations at Informatics Ventures (IV), a pan- Scotland programme based in the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, which connects, educates and supports globally ambitious technology entrepreneurs in Scotland. In this role, Steve directs the leading technology investor showcase Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) Scotland. Since its inception in 2008, EIE Scotland has enabled over £400m of investment in early-stage Scottish technology companies. It is now firmly established as Scotland’s premier technology investor showcase featuring the most promising high growth companies from life sciences, ICT and energy sectors, seeking funding from seed to series A. Other activities include initiatives like iVTuesday, a networking series which brings the best entrepreneur speakers to Scotland.

    Steve Ewing

    Director of Operations

    Informatics Ventures

    Paul has a proven track record of building and leading teams that create market-leading software products.   Known as a passionate and enthusiastic leader, Paul encourages his teams to innovate in the delivery of the company vision. Simplicity, first-class customer service, and agility are attributes that he aims to root within the businesses that he leads or operates within.  Paul has recently launched Trickle, providing SaaS tools which encourage organisations to be more inclusive, agile and transparent in the way that they run their day to day operations.  Using the experience gained in the establishment, growth and exit of his first business, Sigma Seven, Paul also works as an adviser and NXD to a number of technology start-up businesses in Scotland - a role in which he has genuine passion for helping teams scale.  Paul is currently performing the following roles: •	Founder and CEO at Trickle; •	Chair at Coach Logic; •	Non-Executive Director at Appointedd; •	Adviser to technology start-ups.

    Paul Reid

    Founder and CEO


    Cofounder Highland Leadership Project  Simon uses adventurous experiential learning to develop leadership with people from across the globe.  Drawing on experience gained coaching and leading in the outdoors and mountain rescue, Simon is about helping people to develop their ability to provide meaninginful leadership to built better, purposeful organisations around them.    Hope that's all good,

    Simon Coker


    Highland Leadership Project

    Andrew Dobbie is the Founding Director of MadeBrave - an award-winning brand-led creative agency based in Glasgow & London with services including branding, design, digital development, social media, photography and video, to name a few. Launched in 2012, Andrew left his previous job with a newborn baby at home and just £1000 of personal savings in the bank. Fast-forward a few years, MadeBrave has grown to have a team of over 20 people and a client roster including the likes of BrewDog, Müller and IBM.

    Andrew Dobbie

    Founding Director


    James Montgomery​

    Equalities Programme Executive

    Bridge 2 Business

    Tim is a Senior Partner at ImpactReady, a professional partnership with a global footprint that helps purpose-led organisations to maximise their social value. With Tim’s help, through coaching, reflection, systems thinking and facilitation, organisations become living examples of the values they promote. In the past decade Tim has contributed to a wide-ranging set of constituents, including an ever-growing network of social entrepreneurs and private enterprises; the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford Said Business School; the global B Corporation movement; civil society in the UK, South Africa, India and the USA - and the United Nations system.

    Tim Hartley

    Senior Partner at


    With 30 years in the business working across all sectors, for product and service based companies globally, my mission remains fundamentally the same: to inspire clients to grow and build inspiring brands

    George McRae​

    Brand Strategy Director

    Ignite Your Brand

    Delfina is Co-Founder and Global Manager of Innodriven, creative firm co-designing and co-leading impact business models and projects for a more inclusive and regenerative economy. With experiences in Europe and Latin America, she has participated as Co-Organizer of the First Circular Economy Forum in Latin America and is a current advisor to University of Exeter's Circular Economy Center. Previously she worked as Director of Sistema B in Uruguay building the ecosystem for B Corp entrepreneurs and consultants.

    Delfina Zagarzazú



All Posts