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Escaping Lockdown with Professor J. Ignacio Canales
10 minutes | Jul 8, 2020
Escaping Lockdown Episode 7: Gary McEwan
In the seventh and final episode of Escaping Lockdown, Professor J. Ignacio Canales interviews Chief Executive for Elevator, Gary McEwan. With extensive experience in the forming and scaling of businesses, Gary is an ambassador for developing entrepreneurs in Scotland.Gary discusses how initially lockdown was a struggle for him and his colleagues at Elevator with many of their clients trying to transition to remote working and changing models of thinking.Since lockdown Gary has seen the focus for entrepreneurs shift from upscaling their businesses to trying to stay afloat during the economic downturn that has occurred as a result of the pandemic.Gary commends the work of his colleagues, as Business Advisors they have been a much-needed support system to their clients, keeping the business community in Scotland motivated and energised.Both Ignacio and Gary also discuss Elevators Accelerate Programme and how they have been still offering this during lockdown to student entrepreneurs across Scotland and with many of them being from the University of Aberdeen.Student entrepreneurs as Gary explains have taken lockdown as an opportunity to collaborate and work together with 36 of them currently on the programme, with many struggling to find jobs in the current market, students are using this as learning experience and incentive to develop their own businesses.
9 minutes | Jul 8, 2020
Escaping Lockdown Episode 6: Emilia Davie
In the sixth episode of Escaping Lockdown, Professor J. Ignacio Canales interviews recent Business School graduate Emilia Davie.Initially planning to go travelling after graduation, once lockdown began Emilia took this as an opportunity to upskill and develop professionally.Emilia began lockdown taking free online courses and began to reflect on the value of education, feeling incredibly grateful to have access to free educations whilst many others across the world don’t have this luxury.That is when she began volunteering for “Code Your Future” as an ambassador, helping refugees, asylum seekers and underprivileged groups gain access to a full-stack web development 8-month course and helping others gain an education.As an ambassador Emilia has now developed into the role of a personal development mentor for students on the course across England and Scotland, helping students learn soft skills, build confidence and spread awareness of the organisation.Since volunteering Emilia has recognised the importance and need for soft skills to kickstart your career and balancing these between learning technical skills.Emilia finishes the interview discussing how rewarding the opportunity has been with recent graduates from the course already finding great roles this gives her hope looking towards her own future and job search.
10 minutes | Jul 8, 2020
Escaping Lockdown Episode 5: Ben Lenoard
In the fifth episode of Escaping Lockdown, Professor J. Ignacio Canales interviews ABDN alumni and business entrepreneur, Ben Leonard.Ben founded his own brand of fitness equipment/e-commerce business - Beast Gear from 2016 and recently sold the successful venture at the end of last yearHe says lockdown has come at an interesting time of transition as he leaves the day to day responsibilities of owning and running a business to setting up his own e-commerce consultancy.Although an incredibly difficult time for many, Ben recognises the opportunities lockdown has provided, causing us to learn about life and reflect. With many taking the time to learn new skills, start a new business and acquire more knowledge.Ben continues and says lockdown has allowed people to slow down their pace of life and hopes once we return to some form of normality these new attitudes towards working will stay to a certain extent. Ben wants to take things from lockdown he has learned and put them towards his new business such as a better work-life balance.Beast Gear sold on their own site and Amazon across Europe, the Middle East and Australia with a 7-figure income. With his new business, Ben is looking to help people forced into e-commerce from traditional face to face business that needed to go online due to changing customers’ needs and the pandemic as one example.Within a week of lockdown, Ben was offering free consulting calls for those with new business ventures or struggling during the pandemic, this has also helped him develop his own consultancy skills.
10 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
Escaping Lockdown Episode 4: Hugo Ovando
In the fourth episode of Escaping Lockdown, Professor J. Ignacio Canales interviews former business executive turned entrepreneur, Hugo Ovando.Currently participating as a board member and entrepreneur in a variety of businesses, in this episode, Ignacio and Hugo discuss the impact lockdown has had on the hospitality industry.Toteat, a Point of Sale software operating in the cloud and servicing a number of restaurants in Latin America, which Hugo is a board member for has seen significant challenges to the business since lockdown was introduced. With a customer base of over 1,200 restaurants, the business saw a detrimental impact to its clients at the beginning of lockdown and feared they would soon face closing.However, over recent weeks Hugo and the team Toteat have been reframing their thinking and the way they run their business with launching for their full base of current clients the opportunity to immediately open their menus to all the last mile delivery apps such as Uber Eats. Since adding the additional functionality to their software, the business has seen significant growth and customer demand, from being on the verge of closing they are now thriving.To conclude the episode Hugo reiterates the need for businesses to reframe their way of thinking and to use lockdown as an opportunity to become more innovative, stating the hospitality industry will not disappear post lockdown but will work in a different and more efficient way.
9 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
Escaping Lockdown Episode 3: David Timis
In the third episode of Escaping Lockdown, Professor J. Ignacio Canales interviews one of his former students at the Adam Smith Business School in the University of Glasgow, David Timis.In this episode, Ignacio and David discuss the opportunities lockdown has provided to fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders to take a step back and take this time as an opportunity to self-reflect and realise the growing importance of soft skills.Being a researcher on AI and the future of work and currently studying a Master’s in Public Policy at the College of Europe, David discusses how Covid-19 has and will continue to push the digital revolution and virtual working as part of the new normal for businesses.Finally, Ignacio and David look at the higher education system and the impact lockdown has had on Universities around the globe and the opportunity this has provided to make blended learning more mainstream. They also discuss the need for businesses to connect with education more post lockdown, particularly at secondary level education in high schools to help empower students to think more critically from a younger age and prepare them for the challenging job market.
8 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
Escaping Lockdown Episode 2: Elizabeth Pirrie
In this episode, Elizabeth discusses the biggest challenge she and her colleagues at Investing Women have faced since lockdown which was organising a virtual event to celebrate the AccelerateHER Awards finals.Initially, the awards were to take place on March 26th in Edinburgh with an estimated 100 guests and 12 finalists to pitch their business ideas to 3 judges. However, 10 days before the event the decision was made from the venue hosting the awards to cancel due to lockdown. Due to the amount of work and dedication that went into planning the awards from both the organisers and the finalists, in a small team of 4, Elizabeth and her colleagues decided to change the event to a virtual one.In a very short time frame and with no previous experience in live-streaming events, Elizabeth and the team at Investing Women ran the awards ceremony live via Youtube with over 500 viewers joining in.The event was incredibly successful with the finalists pitching to the judges virtually and 4 winners being chosen on the day. After the event, some of the finalists have since had enquiries from investors from London who normally wouldn’t have been able to attend the event in person but had the opportunity to watch virtually.Four of the finalists have also since the event in March been awarded additional funding from Innovate UK for Covid-19 related projects.
10 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
Escaping Lockdown Episode 1: Rebecca Vickery
In the first episode of Escaping Lockdown, Rebecca discusses how she took on her new role at Brave Spark just 4 days before lockdown measures were introduced and how she has coped working from home for the past 3 months.Rebecca describes how working from home has made herself and her colleagues review their business model and fully realise the power technology has brought to the business and helped keep relationships with their clients alive.Looking towards the future post lockdown Rebecca and the team at Brave Spark have taken this time as a production company to review their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment and are looking for ways to collaborate with other businesses for global projects to help reduce this.To conclude Ignacio asks Rebecca what advice she may have for others in the business community and what she hopes will change for the better once lockdown measures are lifted. Rebecca hopes to make the most of physical meetings, being more present and looking further into how businesses can continue to adapt and change to new working patterns post lockdown.
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