Scotland has a global reputation for discovery, invention, research and innovation. The country is also home to a vibrant academic community, which is at the forefront of pioneering research and development projects within their sectors.

Through the understanding of business events as a catalyst for stimulating ideas, forging new partnerships and strengthening working relationships, several home-grown events have come to fruition.

We take a look at three Scotland-based events, EIE, A3 Scotland and DataFest to understand how they were created and what they mean for Scotland.

EIE19 McEwan Hall

Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) 2019 at McEwan Hall, Edinburgh. © Lesley Martin Photography

Engage Invest Exploit

Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) is an annual technology investor showcase, which takes place at the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre and features data-driven tech companies seeking investment from seed to series A.

EIE, which began in 2007, is the result of a long-standing relationship between the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International.

In 2019, EIE forged a partnership with the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) Initiative, with the backing of the £1.3bn Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The partnership has been designed to support the launch of more spin-out companies, attract start-ups and support established tech businesses to seek investment and drive significant wealth creation and economic impact for Scotland.

Since 2008 EIE has generated £2.8m for the local economy (Marketing Edinburgh) and more than £750m in investment has been secured by the companies pitching. As EIE continues to evolve, it will help to ensure that Edinburgh is the data capital of Europe and that Scotland is seen on the global stage as a pioneer and innovator leader in digital technology.

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DataFest, organised by Scotland’s innovation centre for data and artificial intelligence, The Data Lab, has evolved from a single event to a fortnightly festival combining more than 70 different events across numerous Scottish cities.

DataFest showcases on an international stage Scotland’s leading role in data science and artificial intelligence, while offering an unprecedented networking platform where attendees can interact with local and international talent, industry, academia and data enthusiasts. In 2019, more than 4,000 people attended 62 events across Scotland as part of the DataFest19 programme.

Like many event organisers, The Data Lab had to decide on how to proceed with its 2021 event as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The decision was made to run the programme for DataFest21 from March – November 2021 in a hybrid format. Several webinars and events have been scheduled to run throughout the year, focused on this year’s theme #OurData.

DataFest21 will culminate with its two headline events DataTalent21 and DataSummit21, which will both take place in a hybrid format on the 23rd and 24th November 2021.

To find out more about DataFest visit -

A3 Scotland

A3 Scotland, the country’s first event dedicated to the animal health, agritech, and aquaculture (AAA) sectors, will take place on the 26 and 27th April 2022 at the John McIntyre Centre on the University of Edinburgh campus.

The event was created by Lawrence Brown, Vet, Consultant and Innovation Manager for Health at Edinburgh Innovations and John MacKenzie, CEO of the Roslin Innovation Centre, who were both inspired by Canada's Vet Health Global Conference and wanted to bring a similar event to Scotland.

A3 Scotland unites the AAA sectors and encourages innovation, investment and collaboration. Industry, investors, scientists and government officials from across the world will gather to build strategic partnerships and to discover the latest in research and development.

The A3 Scotland conference programme also includes optional pre and post conference tours, which will showcase some of the world-class research facilities and expertise located in Central and Highlands Scotland.

To find out more about A3 Scotland visit -