But our focus on the people, places and spaces around Glasgow (and all our other startup cities) doesn’t stop at the end of a given month, so when we had the chance to chat to Colin Bryce from Cobry, specialists in Google Apps for Business, who work with businesses to migrate, manage, and prosper in ‘the cloud’, about Glasgow, working in a digital incubator, and his business itself, we did just that - chat that is.
Hi there Colin, first off can you tell us a little bit about your business Cobry?
Hi. We’re based in Glasgow, Scotland but work with businesses across Scotland and beyond. Although we provide guidance across a range of technology issues our focus is ‘the cloud’ revolution and how that can benefit businesses. We’re officially accredited by Google to help businesses move their systems to Google Apps for Business. ‘The cloud’ probably hasn’t yet seen the adoption in Scotland that it has in the US and in London but we’re catching up fast.
We know that you guys are based at the Digital Enterprise Incubator in Glasgow. Can you tell us a little about the setup there and what having this support has meant to you as someone starting a business?
Absolutely. Being based at Digital Enterprise has been a fantastic experience - our office is just next to the new BBC buildings that you might have seen during the Commonwealth games so we’re in the heart of a bustling area with lots of new energy. But beyond the location, the real benefit of being in the incubator is the interaction and support that is constantly sparking between the businesses that are there. The network effect of more than 20 businesses co-working helps to improve every business every day. It’s been really beneficial for Cobry.
Do you think that generally speaking there is a good level of support for someone starting a business such as yours within Glasgow?
Generally speaking I’d say yes. Cobry was lucky to receive start-up funding from Business Gateway where I was fortunate to have a really insightful advisor. There are also entities like Digital Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Spark that can complement and build on what Business Gateway do. Interactive Scotland have also given me guidance on strategy and planning so there’s certainly structures out there to help you along the way.
With a business such as yours we imagine it is rather important to be able to serve clients from right across Scotland. Do you think that Glasgow is a good place to do that from?
Although the majority of clients are in the west of the country we already have clients in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh so having a hub to reach them from is vital and Glasgow certainly fulfils that role. Due to the nature of ‘the cloud’ a lot of contact can be done over the web or on the phone but there are many occasions when meeting in person or on-site is essential so Glasgow’s strong transport connections are perfect for that. Equally, if someone wants to meet in the city rather than the office there are countless very pleasant locations to have a coffee and a chat.
Many of the people we have been speaking to over the course of the last month have expressed the view that Glasgow suffers from an unjustified negative reputation? Do you think that this is true and if so, what kind of effect do you think that this has on the city and the people who call it home?
That’s a really good question, particularly with the Commonwealth Games having just finished and there being such a focus on the city over that period. I’m very proud to be from Glasgow - it has an energy and genuineness that can often be misinterpreted - anyone who takes themselves too seriously may run into difficulties. There’s no avoiding the multiple deprivation that exists in many areas of the city but it’s not hidden away as in many cities which, for me, is a positive - everyone’s more jumbled up together; the toughest areas close by some of the most stunning urban areas you’ll find anywhere. It’s a dynamic place!
Finally we have been asking everyone to tell us their 3 favourite and least favourite things about the city, what are yours?
3 favourite things:
The culture is vibrant - cinema, theatre, clubs, art and above all music.
The people - a friendly, down-to-earth lot who are always looking out for each other.
The architecture - there’s an incredible variety and legacy of buildings from many periods that creates some amazing sites/sights.
3 least favourite things:
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