Jim McColl write-up - Glasgow April 2015 - "Greater & greater heights"

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On Wednesday 15th April at Santander's St. Vincent Street offices in Glasgow, 80+ members of our growing community gathered to meet Jim McColl, high-profile Scottish businessman and entrepreneur.

Jim shared his inspiring journey and career story with us in an informal and candid interview and answered diverse questions from attendees on his successes and lessons learned, covering resilience, how to overcome resistance and obstacles, on maintaining a positive mindset and developing that in other people to build the businesses and fantastic return in the businesses he invests in.

We have been inundated since with positive feedback from attendees on the quality and format of the event and fantastic speaker and we share some of these here to give you a flavour of what you missed if you didn't make this one (and hopefully inspire you to sign up for next time....!)

John Fergusson of EngInterns

"Listening to Jim’s story was insightful and entertaining and it was a privilege to hear him recount his personal journey with such passion in an intimate venue. It was a first Startup Grind event for my colleague Ruaridh and I and we came away with many valuable lessons. The personal qualities highlighted by Jim such as always having a positive mental attitude and being persistent whilst maintaining your integrity are universal and so we will focus on applying these ourselves.

Jim’s belief in the importance of gaining practical work and life experience alongside education particularly resonated with us - enginterns was started by a group of engineering students while at university with the primary goal of enabling students to secure internships. With a clear vision set out by founder Ross Pert, the business has continued to grow and it is a pleasure to work on something we believe in that is also beneficial to the industry.

We must thank Startup Grind for hosting the event and we’ll certainly be attending more in the future. In addition, sharing a drink with fellow entrepreneurs, all of whom have their own inspirational stories, is never a bad way to spend an evening."

Kirsty Bathgate, MD of Gearing for Growth

"I attend Start up Grind events as it is important for me to keep up to date with the start up community and tech advances and innovations in my roles as a strategic business consultant and coach and as a mentor for PYBST and E-Spark.

I have been lucky enough to hear Jim McColl speak a couple of times now and always find him very inspiring. This week was no exception as he very willingly shared a number of his experiences on his journey to date both from his business and personal life. His clear vision combined with constant positivity, visualisation, belief in his vision and ability to take people with him on these journeys is truly inspirational.

As were his honesty, integrity and belief in doing the right thing in all his business dealings particularly when faced with challenges. I also love his passion and belief in Scottish Engineering and his commitment to the next generation to have the opportunity to succeed and avoid the poverty trap.

I will certainly be asking myself "What do I need to do now?" when faced with challenges and using more visualisation.

Start up Grind events are great for entrepreneurs both new and experienced for networking and the engaging and inspiring speakers who are so open and candid about their experiences."

Neil MacMartin, CEO of Free Flow Technologies (FF Tech) Ltd

"Startup Grind was a very well run event and the atmosphere was great, met up with a host of my who's who of the Scottish start up scene friends. Also very impressed that they managed to secure Jim McColl as a speaker as he is in very busy demand at the moment.

The Q & A style interview was a great way to find more about Jim's successes in business, of his driving attitude and tenacity towards getting the job done (When something goes wrong he says to employees - What needs to be done now, to make it happen!) and his commitment to educate the younger generation in engineering is awe inspiring.

My learning’s took me to understand not to underestimate the difference human spirit can make to a business. People need to feel appreciated and paid a fair wage (at least what the min peer to peer company pays) for their role in the business. There is a critical requirement for story board picture telling, of what goals look like and how targets will be achieved. Everyone in the work force needs to see what success will look like and achieving that could become your company’s unassailable advantage.

When entering new markets or acquisitions there is a need for forensic studying of the market place, in particular the accessible and addressable market. Always stick to your integrity, work hard in portraying your vision and stick to your core competences.

When constructing your Unlimited dream list (family, health and money not factors) dream big then think what would bigger look like."

Ewan McCowen, Saltire Fellow - currently searching for a great product to help commercialize and scale

"It's always inspiring to hear Jim McColl speak. His story is one that calls for aspiring leaders to have high ambition, to be relentlessly inquiring and to be doggedly determined in executing strategies. These were great messages to hear at an event that was attended by so many people with so much energy and enthusiasm. I think the combination of having a generous, high calibre speaker such as Jim, along with the atmosphere created by a buzzing, aspirational crowd can't fail to spur individuals to greater heights. That's certainly the impact it had on me, and I believe it's what makes StartUp Grind such a unique and exciting forum."

Paula Skinner, Partner & Louise Crilly Trainee Solicitor - Harper Macleod LLP

"The atmosphere at April's Startup Grind Glasgow event with Jim McColl was buzzing. It was obvious that there were a number of excited entrepreneurs in attendance, keen to share their experiences and learn from those who have been successful.

Jim gave a great insight as to some of the simple steps that are required to have a successful business. His attitude of 'when and not if' towards everything he does has certainly inspired us and proves that determination and hard work certainly pay off in the end.

My colleague and I managed to catch up with existing contacts and also made some new contacts with startup businesses. It was also extremely useful to meet with some of the other entrepreneur partners as working closely with them is something which is key for our business going forward. Each month the attendance and calibre of businesses attending is increasing and it has been great to work with Startup Grind Glasgow, and now Edinburgh and watch it grow."


Jim McColl OBE is CEO of Clyde Blowers Capital and a leading entrepreneur, investor & turnaround specialist. See his full bio here


Massive THANK YOU as ever to our amazing Entrepreneur Partners, LINC Scotland, Eden Scott Ltd., Harper Macleod LLP and this month's venue sponsor Santander!

Startup Grind Scotland run monthly speaker events in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Please join our growing community of like-minded entrepreneurs and attend an upcoming event – and if you would like to send feedback or takeaways afterwards, you can have the chance to be featured in write-ups on our blog.