Article

Digital adventures in Scotland Part One

30 Mar 2017

After over 20 years on and off in London, and 4 years under my belt at BIMA, on Boxing Day 2016, my husband Andy and me bundled the kids, our luggage, and a load of Christmas crap into our drearily practical family car and headed for our new home: Glasgow. The move was instigated by my Glaswegian husband, who could ignore the call of the homeland no more.

Lucky for me, BIMA allowed me to bring my job with me, so in addition to being the Business Ops Manager, I now also have responsibility for building and supporting the BIMA Scottish community. BIMA already has a thriving scene in Edinburgh thanks to the efforts of Nadine Pierce and BIMA members volunteering support. I am working with BIMA member, Dog, in Glasgow to build a strong community here.

Glasgow is known for the friendliness of its people and innovation. Since my arrival, I, and the BIMA message, has been met with much warmth. The organisations I have met all have a particular and impressive story to tell laying testament to how a sense of social good and the power to think outside the box is certainly a noticeable trait. No more so than in the case of Rookie Oven.

Founded by Michael Hayes, Rookie Oven, is a purpose built Startup Community in the heart of Govan. Michael founded Rookie Oven as he has been through the pain of starting up a business on his own. He knows the pitfalls and he sees how these can be reduced by working together, sharing contacts, experience and expertise. Rookie Oven proves this to be the case with over 18 startups working at Rookie Oven.

It is fitting that Rookie Oven’s home is in the Fairfield Shipyard Offices – a stunning and majestic building harking back to previous sources of work and commerce for the people of Govan.

Now a modern digital hub - the inside of Fairfield Shipyard Offices today

The icing on the cake is Michael’s Rookie Academy which offers insight into how to create digital products for 16-25 year olds of Glasgow looking to further their abilities in digital and wanting to flex their entrepreneurial muscles. The Academy covers all aspects of successfully launching a tech product. At the end of the process the participants get to pitch to investors.

I had the opportunity to spend the day at Rookie Oven and meet all the innovators there who truly cover a broad range of tech. It was interesting to see them working hard then stopping for a brief game of pool before getting back down to business. Everything about the way Rookie Oven is set up is aimed at ensuring collaboration and profiting from the ethos that we work better together. We also do not need to tether ourselves to working in a specific way and Rookie Oven offers support to meet each person’s preferred working patterns.

I had a quick chat with Michael to ask him why Rookie Oven and why Govan:

Michael - Govan has a long, proud history of being a centre of innovation and engineering excellence. Clyde build ships were sought after around the world - what set them apart? The innovation and quality produced by the engineers in the drawing room which in Rookie Oven is now based.

And what was the biggest challenges to making it happen:

Michael - Fibre. BT nearly killed the idea. It took 11 months for BT to install a fibre line during which time we were left with the infrastructure the Victorians put in.

Rookie Oven also has regular meetups to build, grow and broaden its community. BIMA looks forward to getting to know the Rookie Oven community better and working with Michael to help build our talent for the future.

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