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James Watt to headline Edinburgh start-up festival

Posted: 4th February 2016

University of Edinburgh Business School has announced a packed programme of free entrepreneurial events for businesses and students, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its start-up network the E Club.

E Club Start-Up Festival Launch

L-R Businesses Glam Candy, GearedApp, Kilted Lobster and Punjabi Junction


On 2nd March, the School will play host to a day-long festival, including talks from Brewdog ‘Captain’ James Watt and Gav Dutch, founder of Edinburgh tech-success Kotikan.

The E Club Start-up Festival programme features panel talks, a speed-networking breakfast and two pitching competitions sponsored by Grant Property and Santander with a combined prize fund of £8,000.

E Club success stories, entrepreneurial alumni, students and businesses from across Edinburgh including app developers, Gearedapp, make-up school Glam Candy and object tattooists Uncoverlab Co will set up shop in the school, to offer everything from manicures to laptop laser-etching.

Meanwhile social enterprises Punjabi Junction and Kilted Lobster will host The Big Social Lunch, an informal gathering with talks and food from Social Bite.

The festival also features the first E Club awards, recognising outstanding achievement in the Edinburgh business community. Jonathan Moules of the Financial Times will be awarding prizes for Entrepreneurial Spirit, Giving Back, Student Enterprise and Entrepreneur of the Year.

Established in 2006, the E Club is an entrepreneurial network of more than 2,500 entrepreneurs, investors, University of Edinburgh students and alumni.

In the past decade it has been instrumental in the formation of more than 50 successful start-ups including Fan Duel, and has inspired many more. Its regular pitching competitions have leveraged more than £40,000 in seed finance for budding entrepreneurs.

James Watt, Brewdog founder and ‘Captain’, said:

“I’m really excited to be involved with the festival. Not only is it a great opportunity to showcase Scotland’s start-up scene, but more importantly, the programme hasn’t been shy about sharing the warts and all picture of entrepreneurship.

“Business For Punks is a book for people who hate business. It is about adopting a DIY punk approach, and encouraging the next generation to break free from the mundane, risk-averse, colourless template we used to be taught about business.

“The old principles no longer apply so it’s great to see how University of Edinburgh Business School is embracing this change.”

The day will come to a close with entrepreneurs swapping war stories at the F**k up Night, the celebrated global format of late night talks that sees those in the know sharing what they’ve learnt from failing in business

Professor Brad MacKay, Director of Engagement at University of Edinburgh Business School, said:

“Having started with just a few members, during the past decade the E Club has grown to become a key component of the Edinburgh start-up community.

“We want to bring students and alumni together with real Edinburgh start-ups and social enterprises to celebrate the success of the Scottish ecosystem and showcase the achievements of our members. 

“We’re really excited to be able to bring these components together in a fun-filled and inspired festival of start-up achievement.”

For tickets and programme information, visit:

E Club Start-up Festival Programme

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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