Matthew is part of KTN’s Enabling Technologies team, focusing particularly in photonics. As part of this, he helps companies connect and grow, including with support in raising investment through activities like KTN’s investment readiness programmes. Matthew, alongside his colleague Abigail Hird, will run drop-in sessions on writing a good application and preparing an investment pitch at the upcoming CAN DO Innovation Summit on 3rd Feb 2021.
What’s your day job?
I provide support to companies, universities and other organisations across areas of physics and enabling technologies, particularly in photonics. I connect them with the people, organisations and expertise that’ll help fast track their innovative projects, especially across different sectors. I work with companies of all sizes from start-ups to multinationals, with academia, Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) as well as with local and national government stakeholders. Although I cover the whole UK, I live in Scotland so have a particular interest in the innovation ecosystem here.
What’s your role in VentureFest 2021?
We are excited to be supporting the CAN DO Innovation Summit 2021 and connecting with innovators, entrepreneurs, academics and investors who share our passion for innovation.
Why is fostering a culture of discovery, innovation & entrepreneurship so important for Scottish SMEs and for society as a whole – especially now?
Business innovation is a key driver for sustainable economic growth and represents both a challenge and a great opportunity for Scottish business.
What three key assets make Scotland a distinctive and world-class place to invest in innovation?
- World-class universities producing outstanding research and enabling a high-skilled talent pool
- Research Innovation Scotland: a network of Research Pools and Innovation Centres with Interface, working together to benefit research, economy and society
- A togetherness that inherently supports collaboration
What impact does the culture of an SME have on its ability to innovate?
A SME’s culture impacts its scope for innovation in multiple ways. To pick one: learning from, and even celebrating, failure is crucial to innovation.
Looking to the future, what technology challenges and opportunities do SMEs face?
The digitisation and connection of everything – and watch out for quantum technology!
What are the barriers to innovation in SMEs and how can they be overcome?
To pick a few: fear of failure, tunnel vision, lack of market awareness and not considering design aspects. All things that can be addressed by taking advantage of the many options available to connect and learn.
What advice do you have for aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs?
Do go online and see if someone has already gone to market with your idea.
Don’t be put off by that and go ahead anyway. They’ve established a market and you can now find your advantage.
Your dream keynote speaker?I’d ask Jamie Oliver, he’s passionate about what he does, has experienced success and failure, and the buffet would be fantastic.
Who is ‘one to watch’ in innovation in Scotland?
Novosound – it’s been amazing to see this go from an idea to a company and then go from strength-to-strength.
And finally… you’re having a dinner party and you have to invite an entrepreneur, an innovator and a creative, dead or alive. Who are your three guests?
Anita Roddick, James Clerk Maxwell, Douglas Adams