How to Support Your Local Startup Scene

April 25, 2019
Michael Hayes
Michael Hayes

Co-Founder of RookieOven and Add Jam

Recently I’ve written a couple of blog posts about the Glasgow tech community. One about the benefits of the city and a second one with some rules for a successful community. One the back of those posts individuals, startups and corporates have reached out asking how to get involved so here are my thoughts on what people and businesses can do.

Be present

The foundation of the community is people and their relationships with each other. How do we form those relationships? Even in 2019 nothing can replace face-to-face contact.

The ecosystem in Glasgow hosts many great events and opportunities to meet like-minded people so get yourself along. Networking is tough, especially if it's a new audience (I wrote a post about how I handled that in another blog post) but you just need to break through and do it. Forming these relationships is the basis of a professional relationship that will last years. If you don’t have these interactions, you won’t be part of the community.

Creating relationships is one thing, maintaining them is another. If a relationship - professional or personal - is worth something to you, you’ll put the effort in to keep that relationship going.


The community should look out for each other. Keep an eye out for your peers, promote what they do (either on social media - a cheeky like or retweet - or in day to day business). Your voice added to that of the community extends the reach that little bit further and it can have a profound impact.

Why do it? Well, wouldn’t you like the community to share your successes, achievements and crystals for help? A community isn’t a case of take, take, take. You need to give a little as well.

Take a lead

Don’t just leave it all to the same people to do the community building. Be proactive. Get the finger out and take ownership of your little slice of the ecosystem.

It’s a lot of effort but the wider community is there to support you. This can take many forms - maybe you organise an event, maybe its a newsletter, maybe you have a 1:1 meeting with people, maybe some mentorship or you engage with schools. Just be proactive and get things done.

If you don’t do it who will? If you truly think it's beneficial then don’t wait on it to fall out the sky - just get it done.

Spend a little money

It can be that simple.

A little money goes a long way. As an individual buying a ticket for something or using a service rather than taking a freebie is huge. £10 here and there (where its earned) is well spent.

For businesses, small pots of cash can have a huge impact. Sponsorship (beer and pizza) for events is a small amount (sub £300 sometimes) but has a profound impact on the ecosystem. But you run a business not a charity, right? Well, meet-ups are a great place to recruit, so spend your money on that instead of recruiters. It can also be a place to win business and get your brand in front of customers.

Money can be used for other activities - code clubs, hardware for disadvantaged individuals, software/hosting for students. At the end of the day giving a bit of cash is pretty low effort way to get involved.

Don’t confuse things

I’d like to think the tech community is generally pulling in the same direction. Unfortunately, we have some opportunistic businesses (typically recruiters) or people in the public sector who replicate effort, build walled gardens and try to take their own slice of the pie.

Everyone talks a good game of being collaborative and working with the existing community, but actions speak louder than words. While any activity and choice is a good thing do we really need 3 or 4 Machine Learning Meetups? Glasgow is a village. Just get in touch with the incumbents and play nice. If they don’t play nice then batter on with your own slice but do it in a way that is truly collaborative.

Take the plunge

Ready to get more involved? Let me know if I can help at all. I’m always keen to help people get a footing in the local tech ecosystem and help us all produce better digital products, better experiences and better businesses. Find me on Twitter or drop RookieOven a line.

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