Media Release: Microsoft VP inspires Scotland’s aspiring entrepreneurs

YOUNG, aspiring entrepreneurs gathered in Glasgow last night to hear what it takes to be successful in business from the vice-president at the helm of one of the world’s leading IT services organisations.

Speaking at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Bob McDowell, vice president for Microsoft Corporation in Seattle urged Scotland’s budding entrepreneurs to seize opportunities for enterprise and innovation and not to be deterred from realising their future career ambitions.

The audience, which comprised Strathclyde University enterprise students and some young entrepreneurs who have been assisted by The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) to set up their own business, heard that maintaining excellent customer relationships and taking bold decisions, are key ingredients to success in business.

McDowell, who has spent the last 20 years working for Microsoft, latterly as vice-president responsible for helping Microsoft’s largest customers maximise their use of current Microsoft Office technologies to add business value to their organisations, went on to explain how these key ingredients contribute to business survival and long-term success.

“There has never been a better opportunity for an organisation to leverage the advances in IT for competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.”

McDowell was also joined on stage by Paula Russell, co-founder of Strung Out Guitars and Andrew Stevenson of Tangent Graphic, who spoke of the challenges and the achievements they have experienced since starting their own businesses.

Qualified guitar makers Paula Russell and Louise Carruthers launched Strung Out Guitars in 2003.

They have a shop and workshop in Glasgow’s Merchant City where they sell, repair guitars and frequently carry out work for well known UK and international musicians.

Since starting their business with funding and support from PSYBT, Russell and Carruthers have gone on to win some prominent awards, including the PSYBT Young Entrepreneurs award in 2005.

Tangent Graphic was launched in 2007 by Andrew Stevenson, Steven Waldron and David Whyte who met while studying Graphic Design in Glasgow.

On graduating, they were offered the opportunity of a freelance project for a client in Princes Square.

This led to further work and the opening of a full-time design studio in the Kelvingrove Park area of Glasgow.

The company has recently expanded with the opening of an office in New York and has an impressive portfolio of clients.

These include Diageo, Heineken, The Edinburgh International Book Festival, and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, for whom they have recently secured the contract as lead design agency.

Since its inception in 1989, PSYBT has supported over 10,000 businesses with over £35m in grant and loan funding, a proportion of which is gifted by individuals and organisations.

Thanking Microsoft for their support of young entrepreneurs over the years, which includes donations from a variety of fundraising events, PSYBT chief executive, Mark Strudwick, said: “We need to act now to help Scotland’s next generation of entrepreneurs seize opportunities for enterprise and innovation.

“These are tough economic times but they can also be a catalyst for change and an opportunity to draw inspiration from other successful entrepreneurs and pace setting organisations and there are few better examples around than Microsoft.”


Issued on behalf of PSYBT by Jen Nash, Panache Communications on t. 07971 466 220 e. For further information please contact Jen Nash, or Margaret Gibson / Emma Fitzpatrick of PSYBT on 0141 248 4999.

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