E-Commerce In Decline In The Face Of The Unstoppable Rise Of Social Business

At Alba Innovation Centre (AIC) today a key trend to emerge is the move away from e-commerce and towards social business with website hits down by 12% and an increase in B2B social media of 60% over the last 12 months. (Source: Telefonica 02)

Martyn Wallace of Telefonica O2 said “It’s not just about how the technology looks but about how it works and how you take it to market. Social business and having a business that is ‘socially’ focused is critical to survival in today’s economy.”

A Scottish Enterprise initiative and part of Edinburgh Science Triangle, AIC is the only UKBI Accredited Business Incubator In Scotland and works with some of Scotland’s leading innovative technology companies including: Cyberhawk, Abo Wind, A2E, Dysis Medical and SenseMarine. Alba has been home to around 60 startup and growing early stage companies since opening six years ago.

The Alba Innovation Centre is a purpose-built technology business incubation centre in Livingston with 21 of Scotland’s most exciting hi-tech companies in the software, electronics, energy, digital media and medical technology sectors currently located there.

Over the last 18 months aggregate turnover of the companies based in Alba has increased by almost 90% to £7.8m and numbers employed have risen by 31 to 120. The availability of a wide range of facilities and business support services including – faster routes to market, latest technology expertise, industry partnerships and specialist training – is a major factor in Alba’s tenants having a higher than average survival rate of 85%.

Since the introduction of a virtual incubation model in June 2011, the number of early stage companies supported by Alba innovation advisors has reached 32, only a third of which have Alba as their business base.
The Innovation Hub allows early stage technology businesses to get off the ground at an entry level license fee of £200 per month. This means The Alba Innovation Centre is now the hub of a wider network of like minded technology entrepreneurs with virtual Alba Incubation Service clients located through the central belt, into Fife and Aberdeen.
To showcase all the exciting innovative technology and jobs being developed in the Alba Innovation Centre and Alba Incubation Service, this year sees the launch of Alba Open Doors, a one day event focusing on inspiring technology and new partnerships. Alba Open Doors is open to anyone involved in the technology sector from large OEM’s, software and technology businesses, to intermediaries, partners, stakeholders and other SMEs.

Over 20 companies including Cobra Simulation, Sense Marine and A2E are exhibiting today. Keynoting in the morning are Martyn Wallace of Telefonica O2; global business speaker Jane Bromley; and Tom Crawford of Sense Marine who will explore current trends and forecast future developments for the technology sector.

Demonstrations in the afternoon by Alba clients, including Cobra Simulation, Oran Audio and Sense Marine, show visitors first hand how some of the groundbreaking innovations and new technologies being developed at Alba work in practice.

Ronnie Smith, Chief Executive of LESL says: “The aim of Open Doors is to inspire entrepreneurs to think differently about their business and allow them to innovate. We see the extraordinary work these companies do every day. This is your opportunity to find out about the latest developments in technology, to make new connections and to be inspired!”

David Smith, Director of Innovation, Scottish Enterprise, says: “This is a great opportunity for companies to make connections, explore opportunities and collaborate to help realise their ambitious growth plans.

“We know that companies that continually innovate tend to grow twice as fast as those that don’t, so it’s vital that Scottish companies adopt the mindset of innovation to ensure that they stay ahead of the competition as markets, technologies and trends shift. Scottish Enterprise is committed to building a culture of innovation across the economy which puts the successful exploitation of new ideas at the very heart of business growth.”

Originally created by Scottish Enterprise and West Lothian Council, Alba Innovation is operated by Innovation Centres Scotland (ICS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lanarkshire Enterprise Services Ltd (LESL), a not-for-profit social enterprise focused on the provision of business support services and office accommodation (real or virtual) for Scottish SMEs.

Find out more information and register at Alba Innovation Centre.

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