Business diary: Inspiring Infomatics

Dame Stephanie Shirley chilled then inspired a gathering of Edinburgh’s top tech talent at Informatics Forum last week, Informatics Ventures’ first iV Tuesday event of 2015.

Chilling and thrilling: Dame Stephanie Shirley
Chilling and thrilling: Dame Stephanie Shirley
Chilling and thrilling: Dame Stephanie Shirley

Arriving in Britain as a child refugee from Germany in the late 1930s, Dame Stephanie went on to found £1.2 billion software company Xansa and famously called herself “Steve” to help her get to the top in the male-dominated business world of the 1960s.

A longtime supporter of women in the workplace, she predominantly employed women programmers until the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 made it illegal.

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Finance secretary John Swinney will be the next speaker of the series.

Prize pot rises at Converge Challenge

The Converge Challenge business competition showed its own growth ambition last week, as it added a new category and upped its prize pot to £100,000. Business minister Fergus Ewing helped launch this year’s competition at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, saying he was “determined to see more young people starting their own businesses.”

The unpleasant taste of taxation

Liberty Wines boss David Gleave summed up a general move upmarket at his tasting event in Edinburgh last week.

“At the cheaper end most of the price is tax, and that has an unpleasant taste,” he said.

Instead, he recommended 2010 Italian reds, a great year that has now matured nicely.