SCOTTISH start-ups and SMEs are being given the chance to reach an international audience and win £2000 of business support by the CAN DO Innovation Summit.

Scotland’s national summit for innovation will be held virtually from next February 23, following some in-person elements in the preceding weeks.

SMEs and fledgling firms will have the opportunity to reach a global audience of more than 800 investors, academics, entrepreneurs and innovators.

The event is designed to help firms explore how adopting technology, combined with inclusive leadership, can boost productivity and drive purposeful change for people and planet.

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SMEs can win one of three slots in the competition on the CAN DO Innovation Summit’s virtual #SMEstage, where the best examples of innovation from across Scotland will be allocated five minutes to showcase their business to an international audience.

Winners will also win two days of support with an innovation specialist from Scottish Enterprise, valued at £2000.

Digital Transformation is the overarching theme for this year’s summit, and to be in with a chance of securing a slot entrants have to submit a film of between 60 and 90 seconds to by midnight on December 21.

Their film must demonstrate how their business is driving innovation through at least one of the following routes: embracing innovation to emerge stronger after recent economic challenges; adopting digital technology to advance social value as well as business growth; overcoming barriers in their digital transformation journey.

Entries will be judged and winners selected by a panel of business innovation leaders in Scotland: Evelyn McDonald, CEO at Scottish Edge, Enoch Adeyemi, CEO at Black Professionals Scotland and the head of business services and advice at Scottish Enterprise, Alison Munro.

Dr Laura Bell from the CAN DO Innovation Summit, said: “We are really excited to hear from SMEs across all sectors, from healthcare and advanced manufacturing to renewables, finance, construction and the creative sectors and see how they are using innovation and adaptation to unlock opportunities – and to help them survive and thrive in this turbulent time.

“The #SMEstage can provide a much-needed boost to small businesses and start-ups by giving them a great platform and profile with innovation leaders across Scotland and the UK.

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“I wish all applicants the best of luck with their entries. For the best chance of success, keep in mind the event’s aim of driving purposeful change as well as this year’s Digital Transformation theme – the more relevant your entry to this the better.”

The winners at the #SMEstage last year were Recycl8, from Aberdeen and Space Intelligence and Scene Connect, both from Edinburgh.

Bell added: “For those of you who aren’t selected, we hope that you will register to join the summit where you can make the right connections and hear from our world-class speakers on how innovation can help you survive and thrive through our current economic challenges.”