As part of our "Meet the Interface team" series, we're heading west to the region where space technology meets creative industries - and every sector in between. We caught up with Jackie Wynne, Interface's Business Engagement Executive for the West of Scotland to talk about COP26, collaborations and Christmas (it isn't too early, right?).
When did you start at Interface and what’s your background?
I started at the end of June this year, taking over the West of Scotland role. I come from an entrepreneurial background having had my own businesses over the last few years. I also helped and supported start-up businesses and freelanced for SME’s. In my spare time, I’m on the Board of the Glasgow Basket Brigade, a female-led initiative who are fully inspired to bringing the magic of Christmas alive through connection, contribution and giving back to the community.
What does your role incorporate?
My role is varied which I love, from meeting businesses across Scotland, building relationships with academia and other support organisations such as Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise. My focus is mainly identifying potential projects with businesses that would benefit from collaborating with Scotland’s academia. I then prepare the tender and send it out to the relevant universities across Scotland. We facilitate the introduction and provide support to the business throughout the process. I too have been a client of Interface and as such I’m in the fortunate position to better understand the significant role Interface plays in matching you to the right academia and the benefits that will bring to your business.
What advice would you give businesses which want to collaborate with academic expertise?
Be clear and concise on exactly how you want the university or institution to help you. It’s a collaboration between business and academia, working together to solve your business problem. You may have several challenges you need help with, focus on one in the first instance. Your initial project may lead to a longer-term partnership with a university. Keep an open mind and work creatively together.
How can businesses and academics collaborate to achieve net zero goals?
Collaboration is key going forward. With the recent economic disruptions and loss of jobs due to Covid, it’s increasingly become more important to consider partnerships, and the sharing of knowledge to solve problems such as net zero. Scotland’s higher education institutions have world class academia with knowledge, expertise and facilities to deliver creative and innovation solutions.
Since joining, I’ve already seen several businesses enquire about potential projects with academia to reduce their carbon footprint and I see this increasing significantly over the next few years.
What do you think are the advantages to Glasgow hosting COP26?
Scotland, especially Glasgow will be on the world stage with COP26. The Scottish Government have set an ambitious target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045 which we all need to take responsibility for. Scotland is setting an example to the rest of the world on how businesses are tackling this, and the important role Interface play in matching these businesses to academia to help reduce their carbon footprint. I’m excited by the opportunities and the potential boost to the Scottish economy, especially if more people choose to set up business here and international students choose to study here.
Interested in finding out how Interface can support your business with academic connections? Please get in touch for a virtual coffee/chat with Jackie Wynne (or the team member in your region).