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Young Business Plans To Go East For Future Growth

The thriving young entrepreneurial network WeAreTheFuture, led by a 21-year old “university drop-out”, is in negotiations to expand operations to China, its founder Bruce Walker told the Sunday Herald…
Source: The Herald Scotland
The thriving young entrepreneurial network We are the Future, led by a 21-year old “university drop-out”, is in negotiations to expand operations to China, its founder Bruce Walker told the Sunday Herald.
The not-for-profit network, which Walker as described as “built by entrepreneurs for the advancement and enablement of future entrepreneurs” has hosted successful company engagements and conference and networking events for youthful business people as far afield as San Francisco and Abu Dhabi, and which works in partnership with corporate supporters such as the Virgin Group, Apple and RBS, specialises in connecting Scots entrepreneurs with each other and their international peers.
Based on the principal of inspiring and providing mutual support, its business model encompasses giving larger, more established corporations access to start-up companies and entrepreneurial individuals, as a source and testing ground of new ideas and also to find customers for tailored services and products.
Walker, who has been focused on business pursuits since his days at Stirling’s Wallace High School, took a year out of his Napier University business degree to devote more time to the fast-growing social enterprise. Earlier this year he decided to “officially become a university drop-out” as the venture flourished through events in Scotland, London, Chicago and elsewhere. He said that the network was now in the early stages of finding potential partners in the booming southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
He said “We see China as a massive opportunity for us. We have been concentrating recently on the opportunities of the North American market but China is now the big focus for us. It helps that Scotland has lots of good links there, for example in the link between Edinburgh Council and Shenzen. Our ultimate goal is to be everywhere, and for people in all these markets organising We Are The Future events for themselves.”
Walker, who has recently been appointed to the board of Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, said that WATF events and programmes can be adapted by people in overseas markets to “fire up their own entrepreneurial eco-systems” and cited the example of Abu Dhabi, where a local university is now running a WATF programme. Although the concept is founded on social enterprise, Walker said “Our events tend to to make money as people are prepared to pay to be at them.”
Citing the example of Virgin in the US, he said that running events “powered by WATF” was a good way for large companies that by nature are not geared to prioritise operational flexibility, to engage with a younger business demographic.
WATF has a six-person team, of which the oldest member is 32.
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