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Pioneering innovation centre launches in Dundee

23 April 2013

IDEAScotland logo

A pioneering innovation centre that will support start-ups in the digital, technology and creative media sectors is launching in Dundee.

IDEAScotland is a collaboration of brightsolid, DC Thomson, University of Abertay Dundee and University of Dundee.  Based in the city centre, at the University of Abertay, it will provide successful applicants with virtual networking, equipment, mentoring on business techniques, introductions to potential customers, business partners and investors, as well as free workspace.

For more information, and to apply, please visit the IDEAScotland website.

It represents an initial investment of £250,000 by the partners, with potential additional investment in individual businesses that meet commercial criteria.  The centre will host up to 10 fledgling start-ups in its first year which, it is hoped, will develop and lead to successful and sustainable businesses.

IDEAScotland will work closely with the IDEALondon start-up centre at Tech City in Shoreditch, which was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in December 2012.  IDEALondon was established by Cisco, DC Thomson and UCL and aims to support the growth of digital and media companies.  The two centres will share investor links, business opportunities and customer testing.

IDEAScotland will support the applicants by combining the strengths of the partner organisations; their international expertise in publishing, technology and computer games.  Through Cisco’s National Virtual Incubator network, IDEAScotland can reach out to leading innovation centres across the UK.

The programme will run two cycles, each with three phases – the initial call for applications, an accelerator phase and a prototyping period.  The accelerator phase lasts eight weeks and focuses on team development and customer discovery.  IDEAScotland will add value to fledgling start-ups by combining online learning modules, practical tool sets, business advice, input from expert mentors and tailored workshops to help innovators achieve their potential.

At the conclusion of the accelerator phase every company will pitch to enter a 12-week prototyping phase.  The successful companies will receive up to £25,000 of funding from Abertay University’s Prototype Fund to develop a working prototype and demonstrate their viability by acquiring customers.  Companies will then participate in roadshows to pitch their product and organisation to potential investors.

Each cycle is underpinned by a team development programme, delivered by Insights, a global people development company with over 20 years’ experience in maximizing individual, team and leadership potential.

For more information, and to apply, please visit the IDEAScotland website.

Head of Emerging Technologies at brightsolid Kenny Lowe said: “Dundee has a long and vibrant history of innovation in the technology and digital media sectors that brightsolid is very proud to be a part of.  Through the IDEAScotland centre we are looking forward to helping jump start a new wave of exciting business ventures, leveraging support and information channels that wouldn’t traditionally be available to start-ups.”

Director of DC Thomson Richard Hall said: “DC Thomson has a long and successful history of supporting small businesses in reaching their potential.  IDEAScotland represents an exciting opportunity to further promote digital entrepreneurs in the UK, in particular in Dundee.”

Director of Business Development at Abertay University Paul Durrant said: “IDEAScotland builds on our successful UK Prototype Fund in investing in digital start-ups, and we look forward to supporting exciting new companies that have the potential for rapid growth with the support of the partners and investors.”

Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) at University of Dundee Professor Tom Inns said: “IDEAScotland will form a key programme for our graduate and research talent.  Opportunities for new digital businesses are emerging from all the discipline areas within DJCAD.  Building future business opportunities in Dundee in collaboration with international networks can only be good news for all stakeholders in the region.”


Notes to Editors:  

For enquiries or to arrange an interview with one of the spokespeople quoted, please contact:

brightsolid – contact Kenny Lowe, Head of Emerging Technologies, 07827892243 /

DC Thomson – Fiona Armstrong, Senior Communications Business Partner, 01382 575 604 /  

University of Abertay Dundee – Chris Wilson, Communications Manager, 01382 308 522 / 07837 250 284 /

University of Dundee – Roddy Isles, Head of Press, 01382 384910 / 07800 581902 /

About brightsolid

Founded in Dundee in 1995 as Scotland Online and rebranded in 2008, brightsolid has evolved from a pioneering internet company of the ‘90s into one of the UK’s leading online technology and publishing businesses.  Wholly owned by DC Thomson, brightsolid specialises in delivering highly available and innovative IT solutions both to its own online brands, and to some of the UK’s most successful and forward-thinking organisations including Lloyds Banking Group, Menzies Distribution Ltd, and NHS Health Scotland.  brightsolid develops and operates a range of social history websites including its own findmypast, Genes Reunited and Friends Reunited brands, as well as working in partnership with the British Library and National Records of Scotland on the ground breaking British Newspaper Archive project, and Scotland’s People genealogy site respectively.

About DC Thomson

DC Thomson is a long-established private company which has been publishing newspapers and magazines for over 100 years.  The company’s headquarters is in Dundee, Scotland, with a London base in the world-famous Fleet Street.  DC Thomson publishes a wide range of newspapers, magazines, comics and books.  It also has interests in many fields including television, radio, printing and retailing, the internet and online services.  Other companies in our Group include leading genealogy and IT business services provider brightsolid; Parragon Books, a global value books publisher based in Bath; magazine publisher This England; and Puzzler Media, the leading publisher of puzzle magazines in the UK based in Surrey.

About University of Abertay Dundee

Abertay University launched the world’s first computer games technology degree in 1997, and runs both the UK Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education and the international game design contest Dare to be Digital.  Through the Abertay University Prototype Fund start-up and small developers across the UK have access to funding to create new prototypes and attract additional investment, another practical way Abertay supports the growth of a sustainable, successful games industry.  Abertay has the highest number of Skillset accreditations for computer games courses as well as holding full Skillset Media Academy status, recognition of the important industry skills that are developed on our courses.

About University of Dundee

The University of Dundee is home to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), one of the UK’s leading research intensive art colleges.  DJCAD has major research contracts with EPSRC, AHRC, MOD, ESRC and a considerable portfolio of research funding from industry, notably Mozilla, NCR and Microsoft.  Digital working now informs activity across all areas of DJCAD – programmes in Digital Interaction, Animation and Visualisation, Design for Services and Design Ethnography all explore new digital ideas that will create platforms for new digital start-up businesses.  The college hosts 50 PhD students. 

About IDEAScotland

The Innovation and Digital Enterprise Alliance Scotland (IDEAScotland) comprises brightsolid, DC Thomson, the University of Abertay Dundee and the University of Dundee.  The aim of the alliance is to help to develop a wave of start-ups in the digital, technology and creative media sectors and the contribution of digital enterprise to the UK economy.  For more information, please visit the IDEAScotland website.

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