Business

Johnston Carmichael launches tech advisory board



Accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael has assembled a tech advisory board including some of Scotland’s most senior figures in the sector.

The group – which includes seven external advisers – incorporates entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors to help its clients access advice on achieving growth.

It will provide the existing in-house team with guidance on strategy and delivery, and will also directly connect group members with clients and contacts of the firm.

A key ambition of the panel is encouraging homegrown businesses to expand internationally, according to a statement from the firm.

Among the recruits is Polly Purvis, former director of agritech business Intelligent Growth Solutions and former chief executive of ScotlandIS.

She is an active board member, with roles including director of Edinburgh Science Festival and board member of Converge Challenge, which works with universities to support spin-outs.

Also enlisted is Giles Hamilton, chief executive of Inverness-based life sciences business ODx Innovations, who has served as board member to more than 50 global organisations and held ministerial appointments in the UK and Scottish Governments.

Another appointment is Alisdair Gunn, who heads up Framewire, an advisory practice for tech and digital start-ups, who was also a founder of the Turing Festival and is currently leading the development of Glasgow’s digital sector as part of the Glasgow City Innovation District.

Others in the group include:

  • Hazel McIntyre, a consultant financial director and adviser with a background in fundraising, acquisition and disposals, whose previous roles include chief financial officer at Current Health and Lomond Capital.
  • Grant Smith, board member at The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI, and consultant to third sector organisation ONE Digital & Entrepreneurship.
  • Les Gaw, a non-executive director and early stage adviser, who is also chairman of security business Pick Protection and chief executive of financial software firm Contigens.
  • Brendan Waters, corporate finance advisor to tech businesses including Fan Duel and Dog Digital, as well as being a founder of Cruachan Advisory.

The external experts are joined by Shaun Millican, partner and head of technology and life sciences at Johnston Carmichael, and Andrew Holloway, corporate tax director and the head of the firm’s entrepreneurial taxes team.

The firm already acts for a range of companies in the tech sector, from start-ups to international corporates and is a sponsor of events including Future X’s Start-up Summit and Scottish Edge.

Scotland’s digital economy is estimated to be worth £7.5bn to Scottish GDP annually. Across the country, the tech sector employs 100,000 and according to research conducted by ScotlandIS, one third of firms expect to grow following the pandemic – particularly in cloud services, digital connectivity, remote working and digital health solutions.

Millican said: “From working at home to remote schooling, technology has become a very significant part of all of our lives over the past year and its importance to recovering and growing our economy can’t be over-stated.

“We want to ensure businesses operating in the sector, regardless of their size, have access to the support required to help them grow and contribute to the country’s future success.”

Purvis said: “The past year has demonstrated that many of the traditional barriers to international expansion are now greatly reduced, with an increasing range of reliable technology tools enabling long distance business to be conducted remotely, and enabling teams to work effectively from locations around the globe.

“We look forward to working with companies that have ambitious plans for internationalisation. With more and more Scottish firms looking to dip their toes in global waters it’s a really exciting time for the Scottish tech ecosystem.”

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