SIE student interns Mhairi Naismith and Jan Toner were at the conference, a prize for being Interns of the Year. They shared their thoughts about the event in this blog.
Jan and I were lucky enough to be awarded interns of the year for our work as Interns at the Scottish Institute for Enterprise this year. At Edinburgh University, I organised enterprise-related events, promoted SIE to other students and maintained an online presence for the organisation via social media sites. In recognition of our hard work, our reward was to attend the Entrepreneurial Exchange Spring Conference at Gleneagles.
From the moment we arrived in the car park, it was clear that everything about the venue spoke of class, refinement and all things Scottish- at their best. As we entered the reception space of the conference, the grandeur of Gleneagles was complemented by the warm and friendly atmosphere of the delegates- as young newcomers, we were welcomed in wholeheartedly and straight away made to feel at ease talking to anybody in the room.
The conference itself lived up to all expectations. My favourite speaker of the day was Colin Robertson of Alexander Dennis. Although not an immediately glamorous business, designing and building buses, as Colin explained about the company and the industry my interest grew. What struck me more though was Colin’s incredible achievements during his time at the company- truly remarkable. His attitudes to conducting business, customer service and staff satisfaction all came across as exemplary. In all, his down to earth personality coupled with fantastic achievements and drive made his talk genuinely inspirational.
The networking opportunities presented at this event were fantastic for Jan and I. Over dinner, and afterwards drinks at the bar, we met a vast range of people from all backgrounds in business- it was actually quite surreal in many ways. I came away with several contacts which will hopefully be able help me in my start-up venture.
In all, this experience has been wonderful. Immensely useful contacts, interesting speakers and a really good night of food, drink and enterprising banter- what more could we have asked for?
Originally from Leicestershire in England, I am a young designer based in Edinburgh. Soon to be graduating this year from Edinburgh College of Art with a BA Hons in Interior Design, I am interested in starting up freelance as an architectural and scale model maker. I have been shortlisted for the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprises this year, which could prove to be the boost I need to get off to a flying start.