Spotlight on Edinburgh: An Interview with Kendra Byers of StartEdin

Category: Blog

By Janice


Hi there, could you tell us a little about StartEdin got started and what your mission is as a company?
StartEDIN is a joint initiative between the city of Edinburgh and its tech community to promote Edinburgh as a great place for tech and connect Edinburgh tech companies to International talent and global opportunities.

The initiative was originally formed by a group of tech leaders in the ecosystem that recognised the need for a greater voice for the tech community in the city. The group included James Varga at The ID co., David Hunter at Skyscanner, Huw Martin at Head resourcing, Invest Edinburgh and Scotland IS, the digital sector trade body.

What would you say is Edinburgh's main selling point as a city for those looking to invest and work in Edinburgh?
Well to start with, our city was recently announced as Entrepreneurial City of the Year.

Edinburgh was judged by the Great British Entrepreneur Awards against four main criteria: quality of life that attracts smart, entrepreneurial people; access to capital and talent; start-up ecosystems and entrepreneurial culture; and access to mentors and support networks.

But those who work in Edinburgh will tell you that there are many selling points, which there are, but if for this occasion I was to build upon one it would be the size of our city and how well connected it is to the rest of the UK and also internationally.
Edinburgh is a fan

astic place to base yourself or a business for its excellent air, rail and road links. Getting around the city is easy, there's a great bus and tram network, and you can drive almost anywhere in the city in under 20 minutes. Many people enjoy a walk or cycle to work every day.

Also, Edinburgh Airport now flies to over 130 destinations with an average up to 53 flights per day in each direction to London.

What sort of activities does StartEdin engage in to help expand and grow Edinburgh's visibility both in the UK and globally?
As we are a membership-led organisation we evolve with the need of companies in our community. We identified that some companies, and particularly start-ups, are facing two main problems. Firstly, they struggle to attract a sufficient amount of talent for them to succeed in growing effectively. And secondly, they don’t have the connections necessary when looking to expand into a global market.

Currently, we are working to solve both these problems by attracting talent to Edinburgh by promoting the city as a great place to live and work. And we are building a global network of tech hubs to connect Edinburgh tech companies to a network across the world allowing them to identify and leverage market opportunities as they expand into a global market.

We also host local events, attend, host and exhibit at international events promoting our collective of members, facilitate useful connections to resources within our city and in March we will begin our monthly Tech Leaders Dinner for our membership companies.

What are the main benefits for a member of StartEdin, and how does this tie into your wider ambition for Edinburgh companies?
To highlight a few:

  • Connection to an ecosystem of resources and collaborative opportunities to help you grow
  • Invitation to our Tech Leaders Dinner featuring reputable guest speakers
  • Connection to a network of tech hubs across the world allowing you to identify and leverage market opportunities as you expand into a global market
  • Attendance of StartEDIN events featuring hot topics and international speakers
  • Inclusion in promotional activity including listing on website, blogs, and social media


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Phone: 0845 643 5375

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First published on Company Connecting Feb 2017
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