Skills Development Zone Speakers

Kirsteen Higgins

Smart Exporter Operations Manager, Scottish Development International

Kirsteen is Smart Exporter Operations Manager for Scottish Development International (SDI). Her role is to project manage SDI’s Preparing to Export programmes and manage enquiries from customers wishing to access products available through the Smart Exporter initiative.

Prior to joining SDI, Kirsteen worked as Commercial Marketing Manager for Wood Mackenzie, an oil & gas and mining research consultancy in Edinburgh. She has also held a variety of research and marketing positions in London and Hong Kong. These include Head of Marketing for a financial publisher in London (Business Monitor), Marketing Manager in Hong Kong for Euromoney Institutional Investor and Research Manager for Manpower in their HQ in London. Kirsteen started her career working for the UK team at Locate in Scotland for five years.

Derek Houston

Business Development Manager, SQA

Derek has worked for SQA since 2011. He has almost 20 years’ experience in education and training, working as a lecturer in FE and as a trainer and manager with both public and private sector organisations.

He has also worked as a business development manager in education and training, again in both the private and public sector. This has involved working with a wide range of companies, with the main aim being to help them devise ‘training solutions’ that have had a positive impact on their performance and profitability.

Scott Kerr

IP Partner, Corporate Group

A partner with Semple Fraser (operating from offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester), Scott has over 20 years’ experience advising on a wide range of intellectual property issues, not only pure “IP” aspects, but also on corporate structures, funding and commercial contracts.

Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Intellectual Property Law, Scott advises both suppliers and consumers of digital services, both internet and mobile based.

He is rated as a Leader in his Field by Chambers directory and described as a “tough negotiator and excellent at thinking on his feet”.

Bryan Leslie

Business Consultant, Edinburgh Chamber Of Commerce

Bryan has worked with the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce since 2009, providing business owners with the tools and the motivation to grow their business, develop their skills and, most importantly, enjoy being a business owner.

Bryan started his career in Financial Services in London and Edinburgh. He worked in Operations Management, Business Consultancy and Human Resource Development for the Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life.

In 2003 he founded his own training, coaching and consultancy practice, Abacus Coaching Ltd, working with SMEs throughout the UK to develop their presentation, leadership and management skills. He has written three published books: "The Useful Guide to Goal-Setting", "The Useful Guide to Process Mapping" and "The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Networkers", each of which has sold enough copies to ensure he still has to work for a living!

Alan Linton

ICT Specialist, Scottish Enterprise

Alan has been involved in digital media since 1993, initially as a developer and then as a consultant before joining Scottish Enterprise in 2009. Over the years Alan has helped hundreds of businesses, including some of Scotland's best known organisations, to make more effective use of the internet. He has a particular focus on online marketing and strategy and has spoken at national and international events on topics such as search engine marketing, website usability, eBusiness strategy and social media.

Jim Maxwell

Business Development Manager, Co-operative Development Scotland

Jim is Business Development Manager at Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS). CDS is a subsidiary of Scottish Enterprise, responsible for promoting and maximising the use of co-operative models in the business community in Scotland.

Gordon McIntyre-Kemp

MD, Intelligise

Gordon is currently the MD of sales and marketing consultancy Intelligise (, advising several of the UK's fastest-growing SMEs and plcs. He is also a social media marketing columnist for The Drum magazine.

Trained in sales and marketing by Procter and Gamble, Gordon worked on brands such as Pantene, Wash & Go, Head and Shoulders, Old Spice and Olay. At Northern Foods plc (Fox's, Goodfella's, Holland's Pies, Dalepak, Express Diaries), Gordon managed multimillion-pound sales to several of the UK's top multiple retailers at HQ level.

Alastair McNaughton

Freelance Specialist Adviser, Co-operative Development Scotland

Alastair is a freelance specialist adviser on co-operative development and employee ownership, currently contracted to CDS. Alastair has recently formed a business consultancy consortium and has experience of a wide range of collaboration situations.


Billy Mitchell

Project Manager, Scottish Enterprise

Billy is a Project Manager at Scottish Enterprise (SE). His portfolio includes work to stimulate innovation in the Low Carbon Built Environment (LCBE) field, specifically the LCBE Gateway (including SE contributions to the Building Performance Assessment Centre and the Ravenscraig Innovation Park), LCBE Expert Help (contracted to BRE) and the LCBE Towards Passivhaus project with Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

Laura Molloy

Business Development Manager, Sales and Marketing, RPL UK

Laura is a Sales and Marketing professional and member of the Board for East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce. With 15 years of commercial and brand building expertise, Laura launched Smirnoff's first sponsorship of the Edinburgh Festival's Underbelly venue and Baileys Chocolate Cups into the UK on-trade. More recently RPL, Laura's Sales and Marketing business, was a Young Business of the Year finalist and semi-finalist in Glasgow's Got Business Talent.

Gordon Morgan

Business Adviser, Business Gateway

Gordon has been working in Public Sector Business Development for the last 15 years. He spent seven years as a Business Adviser supporting clients on a one-to-one basis. The work included providing advice and business counselling as well as assisting with business planning and funding applications.

For the last eight years, he has been involved in business skills training. Workshops include bookkeeping, financial planning, marketing and promotion, business planning, time management, selling skills and networking skills.

Prior to entering the public sector, Gordon worked for 25 years in the private sector.


Dr Peter Mowforth


Peter is founder and CEO of Glasgow-based INDEZ, an eCommerce supplier to 26, mostly Scottish, SMEs. INDEZ provides strategic help with initial viability planning and then goes on to web design, develop, maintain and market these businesses to global markets.

INDEZ takes an engineering/scientific approach to eCommerce and starts by analysing market volumes, trends and competitor share. The objective is to craft a strategy, plan and implementation to allow domination of niche markets. Domination is achieved through continuous user-testing and optimisation of each and every aspect of the eCommerce system where all component processes are optimised in terms of profit for the client.

Peter has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence (Cambridge and Sheffield), is the author of several books and over 50 refereed journal articles. He was also Research Director and joint founder of Glasgow’s Turing Institute.

Caroline Myles

Scottish Enterprise

Caroline works in the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) team, appraising grant applications to the main grant scheme for businesses undertaking investment projects in Scotland. Caroline is CPFA-qualified and spent six years working in public sector audit for Scott-Moncrieff before joining Scottish Enterprise in 2004.

Heather Quigley

Project Manager, Scottish Enterprise

Heather is a Project Manager at Scottish Enterprise working on the Offshore Wind Supply Chain project. This project is aimed at helping Scottish companies realise the opportunities the offshore wind industry is bringing to Scotland and building a local, Scottish supply chain to help to meet the demands of the sector. Heather currently manages the Offshore Wind Expert Support Programme, designed to give Scottish companies free advice and guidance on how they can win business in this growing sector.

Vicki Ronaldson

Scottish Enterprise

Vicki works in the R&D/SMART: SCOTLAND grants team, guiding companies through the grant application process and appraising applications. Vicki has a Masters and PhD in chemistry and spent two years working in clinical trials before moving into a marketing role in the Scottish life sciences sector and then joining Scottish Enterprise in 2011.

Fiona Soutar

Project Manager, Renewables Team, Scottish Enterprise

Fiona is a Project Manager within the Scottish Enterprise (SE) Renewables Team. Her key area of focus is encouraging Scottish companies to be part of the supply chain for Offshore Wind projects in Scotland, the wider UK and overseas. SE has a number of tools to assist companies to enter the supply chain including the Offshore Wind Expert Support programme, Offshore Renewables Supply Chain Directory as well as reports on offshore wind markets and opportunities including A Guide to Offshore Wind & Oil and Gas Capability. Please see

Lorraine Stevely

Managing Director, Sercon Support Services Ltd

Lorraine is responsible for the entire management of Sercon, developing and delivering business goals and plans that underpin the company’s corporate strategy, while ensuring that Sercon’s organisational structure and capability are appropriate to implement and achieve these objectives in the most effective and efficient manner.

She is accountable for the overall performance of the company and for the day-to-day monitoring and management of the company’s entire operations, from implementing policies and procedures to developing and presenting the strategic and annual business plans to the CEO and stakeholders.

As Managing Director, Lorraine’s leadership role is to determine and drive the company’s vision, mission, values, strategies and policies, while inspiring, motivating and guiding the Senior Management Team and all employees to deliver on Sercon’s business goals.

Tony Stone

MD, Stoats

Tony launched Stoats in 2005 with the world's first mobile porridge bar, serving freshly made porridge at music festivals across the UK. After establishing the brand through this channel, a range of oat-based products was launched, including oat bars, porridge pots and granolas. These products are now sold across the UK as well as exported to ten countries including the USA, Qatar and Austria.

Pauline Wallace

Senior Project Development Officer, The Supplier Development Programme

Pauline Wallace is the Senior Project Development Officer for The Supplier Development Programme. Her role is to deliver a comprehensive programme of support which aims to help all businesses improve their performance in winning contracts with the Scottish public by providing information, news and by delivering events and workshops. Pauline has implemented a number of new tender training initiatives for SMEs and has developed partnerships with other enterprise agencies to ensure that businesses have access to all the support available to them.

Pauline first joined the enterprise network as a Business Adviser with Glasgow Opportunities before working on the Scottish Enterprise graduate placement programme. She then joined Glasgow City Council working on the Women into Enterprise programme – a pioneering joint initiative with several organisations delivering business advice and support to women.