Delegation confirmed of 48 Scots undertaking Foras visit to Lisbon to catalyse entrepreneurial ecosystem
The visit is the work of Foras, which specialises in “immersive international experiences fuelling entrepreneurial ecosystem development for Scotland”, and is supported by the Scottish Government, enterprise agency Scottish Development International, and Techscaler, the start-up support programme run by CodeBase.
The Foras cohort comprises 34 founders and start-up leaders including Damla Khan of Selfily, Hamish Livingston of Willo, and Jo Halliday of Talking Medicines, and they will visit the Portuguese capital’s annual Web Summit tech conference, which takes place between 13 and 16 November, with more than 2,300 start-ups and at least 1,000 investors set to attend.
The Lisbon 2023 programme was designed by Foras co-founders Dec McLaughlin, Nick Murray, and Caro Melendez, and is aimed at making connections with the international start-up community, peer-to-peer learning, investor engagement, and learning best practices from the Web Summit conference and local start-up success stories such as Unbabel.
The Foras cohort is scheduled to have time with start-up success stories and be able to network with entrepreneurial representatives and investors from around the world, while the week will end with the chance to pitch their businesses at an exclusive investor showcase event.
Accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael and law firm Thorntons have joined as sponsors of the trip, which follows similar visits to Silicon Valley and Helsinki in 2022, and New York in April of this year.
Caro Melendez said: “We’re excited to bring together a richly diverse cohort, not only in the focus and stage of business growth, but also in age, ethnicity, gender and lived experience. Selected from 106 applications... our delegates are a true illustration of Scotland’s eclectic entrepreneurial ecosystem. The cohort will return with invaluable experiences, new connections, and a global mindset that we hope will benefit the Scottish start-up ecosystem as a whole.”
Kelly Gardner, head of national community at CodeBase, said: “We’re excited to be able to amplify and support this delegation, and expose our members to new opportunities through our collaboration with Foras.” CodeBase is supporting seven female start-up and ecosystem leaders from its Techscaler membership community to join the Foras cohort. They include Elizabeth Pirrie of AccelerateHER and Roisin McClory of ScribePro
In line with the Pathways report published earlier this year, the programme will strongly focus on addressing the barriers women face in entrepreneurship. Women comprise 70 per cent of this year’s delegation members.
Damla Khan, co-chief executive of healthtech start-up Selfily, said: ”As a first-time female founder, this opportunity is invaluable. Exposure to a diverse international audience presents the potential for forging strategic partnerships, exploring new markets, and seizing investment opportunities for Selfily”
Jo Halliday, founder and chief executive of Talking Medicines, said: "I am delighted to be joining the Foras Lisbon cohort. I see Web Summit as the place 'where the future goes to be born', and I relish the opportunity to not just attend, but to actively represent Scotland's innovative start-up ecosystem, sharing our knowledge and insights around our capabilities, and showcasing our company, culture, and country to the international community."
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