Wine is a subject close to any Frenchman’s heart. So it was probably unwise to question Xavier Rolet’s choice of tipple when the French-born boss of the London Stock Exchange appeared in Edinburgh last week.
Following an excellent talk on global finance and entrepreneurship to a packed audience at Edinburgh University’s business school, the dapper chief executive and ex-military instructor was spotted clutching a glass of apple juice.
“Of course I drink wine,” Rolet was quick to retort when it was suggested that a Frenchman refusing a glass of white or red was tantamount to sacrilege.
With a winery adjoining his Provence retreat and a range of reds introduced and marketed by Rolet’s American-Italian wife Nicole in recent years, a passion for France’s number one export should come as no surprise.
Finding more bright sparks
Some of Scotland’s budding entrepreneurs are being put through their paces this week at a five-day boot camp run by Entrepreneurial Spark (ESpark) for its latest intake of businesses.
The event, which runs until tomorrow, was kicked off last week by Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael. It is taking place at Glasgow Caledonian University, and is the first step for start-up businesses, also known as “chiclets”, on the ESpark programme and has been tailored to ensure all new entrants are fully prepared and engaged with the process.
Carmichael highlighted the importance of such initiatives to the Scottish and British economy, and participated in a question-and-answer session.
Each entrepreneur and business will attend a number of seminars and workshops covering key areas of the business start-up environment. As well as learning about pitching, selling, customer relations and legal issues, the chiclets will also get to know the mentors they will be working with at ESpark’s three bases – known as “hatcheries” – in Ayrshire, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Animal magic from Wick
Two groups of students from Wick High School made the long journey down to London last week to see the award-winning apps they have created officially launched. The school produced two teams of winners, developing apps called Cattle Manager and Dog Log.
The Cattle Manager app is designed to save farmers from wasting time and energy on paperwork by letting them read and add information about their cows on their mobile phone as they go around the farm. The app also provides alerts of important dates such as when injections are due.
The Dog Log app is designed to shape up pets and make dog-walking fun by tracking the distance covered each day while competing with dog-walking friends or family members.
Since winning the awards in June, the teams have worked with agencies to have their prototype built professionally before being publicly launched at the event hosted by Thomson Reuters.
Working hard to raise cash
Headhunters at Edinburgh-based Advance Global Recruitment must be used to long hours as they deal with oil and gas firms around the world, but their recent 24-hour shift took things further.
The team of ten took on a challenge to work from 8am Friday to 8am Saturday, using the JustGiving website to raise money for local charities and the victims of the recent natural disaster in the Philippines.
Operations director Stuart Hunter said: “Being an international oil and gas recruitment company, we have personnel and clients alike who are based in this area of the world and thought it would be nice to try and help in our own way.
“We have received a lot of support from all over the world and managed to raise in excess of £2,000.”
A little sweetener…
exactly how First Minister Alex Salmond and Bank of England governor Mark Carney got along last week is unknown, but at least the Canadian was made to feel welcome at Bute House when he was served maple syrup with his porridge. “I thought it was a nice touch,” said Carney afterwards.