We’re delighted to announce a stellar lineup of plenary speakers for Venturefest 2017!

These include:


Mandy Chessell CBE FREng CEng FBCS is an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Master Inventor and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.  Mandy is a trusted advisor to executives from large organizations, working with them to develop their strategy and architecture relating to the governance, integration and management of information.  She is also driving IBM’s strategic move to open metadata and governance through the Apache Atlas open source project.  More information about Mandy’s work and publications can be found on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mandy-chessell/22/897/a49 and her blog at https://poimnotes.blog

Ailsa Gray is a corporate lawyer who has successfully held Director, Regional Director and Company Secretarial roles, latterly in a FTSE 100 company.  She has extensive experience in board governance, strategic risk management, corporate and social responsibility, business development, team building and stakeholder engagement.  Through her business, Profits with Purpose, she has advised government, businesses and educational institutions on how alternative business models can be used to deliver social and environmental impact alongside profit. She isa member of the team at Strathblair Associates a collection of business leaders that have come together to help businesses achieve greater impact. She is also currently a non-executive director at Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Paul Wheelhouse was appointed Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy in May 2016.

Born in Belfast, Paul was raised in Edinburgh, attending Stewart’s Melville College. He has an honours degree in Economics from the University of Aberdeen and an MBA from University of Edinburgh. He has lived in Berwickshire since 2000‬.

‪Paul is a professional economist and, since 1992, had specialised in higher and further education markets, policy evaluation and economic appraisal and impact assessment of capital projects.‬

Between May 2011 and September 2012 Paul served on the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, and the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee. And was the Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business and Government Strategy of the Scottish Government. Previously, between May 2011 and Feb 2012, Paul served as Parliamentary Liaison Officer for the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment and the Minister for Climate Change.‬

Louise Opprud Jakobsen has more than 8 years of experience helping companies into the digital paradigm. She is the former Creative Lead of Innovation Lab, one of Scandinavia´s first innovation think tanks. Today she works with a global horizontal outlook, experiences from frontrunning companies and pioneers, and the tools needed to revamp existing realities. She is an international keynote speaker and has given several hundred keynotes on the topic of new organizational innovation models and the new ways of working; among others for LEGO, Google, Weekendavisen, Hyperisland and Novo Nordisk.

Since Louise worked for the Foreign Ministry of Denmark in their Palo Alto unit, Innovation Center Denmark, she has been busy bridging Silicon Valley and Denmark. Her second home is San Francisco, and she has invited several international Executive delegations into her network in the Bay Area, to ensure bandwith from some of the leading thinkers and doers in the absolute front-end of technology, business and innovation.

Louise has co-founded several innovation networks in Scandinavia, among others the World’s first Co-Creation network and Future50. She also paved the way for Region Midt in the international network “Districts of Creativity”, so Aarhus is now able to host the much renowned conference Creativity World Forum in 2017.

At the moment, Louise is authoring a book about the 21st Century Mindset. She delves into the dilemma of catering for real time needs in a time where required skills are changing faster than the employee basis of most organizations.

Louise has applied her areas of expertise for the companies she has advised and worked for – e.g. MBR Space Center in Dubai, Google, Radisson Blu Hotels.

Andrew Dobbie is the Founding Director of MadeBrave® – an award-winning creative brand agency.  With offices in Glasgow and London MadeBrave® offer services including branding, design, digital development, social media, photography and video.

Launched in 2012, Andrew left his previous job with a newborn baby at home and just £1,000 of personal savings in the bank. Fast-forward a few years, MadeBrave® has grown to a team of 26 with a client roster including the likes of IBM, Vets Now and Clintech International just to name a few.

As well as an ever-growing client list, MadeBrave® also takes pride in partnering with some great causes which include local charity Kiltwalk, Googles Digital Garage (Glasgow) and Scottish Edge who are paving the way for Scotland’s newest and most inspiring Entrepreneurs.

Before taking up the position as Deputy Chief Executive, Kevin Baughan was Innovate UK’s Director of Technology and Innovation from 2014 to 2016, and Chief Development Officer from 2016 to 2017.

Kevin has a track record in leading-edge innovation in the telecommunications industry. This includes leadership roles with BT, Nortel Networks and Virgin Media. Here, he pioneered the transition to superfast broadband, migration to connected TVs and roll out of WiFi across the London Underground ahead of the 2012 Olympics.Kevin Baughan is the Deputy Chief Executive of Innovate UK. His role is focused on both the development and delivery of Innovate UK’s investment portfolio locally, nationally and globally.

Adrian Gillespie is Managing Director of Operations (Growth Companies, Innovation and Infrastructure) and oversees Scottish Enterprise’s business support and company building functions, including our investment in infrastructure, our Account Management portfolio, Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, Innovation Support, Regional Selective Assistance and commercialisation.

Adrian has been with Scottish Enterprise for over 15 years. Immediately prior to his current role, Adrian was Senior Director of Energy and Low Carbon Technologies for Scottish Enterprise with responsibility for working with industry to establish and deliver clear priorities for investment and growth, with a particular focus on offshore energy.

Adrian spent 10 years in commercial and financial management positions within Marks and Spencer plc before joining Scottish Enterprise.

Adrian has a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from Glasgow University and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde. He is also a Board Member of Opportunity North East (ONE) – a private sector Board to broaden and boost the economy of the North East of Scotland and a Trustee of the Glasgow Science Centre.