MacKay Hannah

How do we support small business post-COVID recovery in Scotland?


Liz McAreavey

Chief Executive, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Liz McAreavey enjoyed an entrepreneurial career spanning 16 years, founding Le Bistro Hospitality, Scotland’s largest independent hospitality company, which she led to a successful exit in 2001. This was followed by a period of business consultancy

In 2005 Liz joined Deloitte to lead their Brand and Business Development for Scotland. In 2007 she became a Director at Ernst & Young, heading up their Market Leadership Strategy as Business Development Leader UK&I.

In 2010 Liz joined Edinburgh Chamber becoming Group Commercial Director in 2012 and has project managed the ‘Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference’ in conjunction with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government. In 2011 she was seconded to Essential Edinburgh as interim Chief Executive. She took over as CEO of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce in October 2016.

Blue Twitter Bird@EdinChamber

Colin Borland

Director of Devolved Nations, Federation of Small Businesses

Colin joined FSB’s Scottish public affairs team in 2008, just as the financial crash was about to hit. Now, thirteen tumultuous years later, as businesses look to rebuild after coronavirus and navigate the post-Brexit trading environment, Colin oversees all of FSB’s policy, public affairs and field staff teams across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As Director of Devolved Nations, he is also a member of the FSB UK senior management team.

Colin writes regularly on small business matters in the national press and commentates on business and finance issues for both radio and television.

Before joining FSB, Colin worked for a public affairs consultancy and as a researcher in the Scottish Parliament.

Colin graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1998 with an honours degree in Scots Law and lives with his wife and two young sons in Barrhead, where he is a keen gardener – a subject on which he has never once bored anyone, ever.


Carolyn Currie

Chief Executive, Women's Enterprise Scotland

Carolyn has enjoyed an extensive career at a senior level in financial services working with a variety of clients from large corporates to the SME and not for profit sector. Roles undertaken include Head of Business Lending at RBS where she developed and grew the multi-billion-pound lending book. An advocate of continuous improvement, she achieved industry recognition and awards for lending products and a personal award for Outstanding Excellence in SME delivery.

While working in Strategy & Business Management Carolyn led the delivery of new tech sales support systems and digital communications programmes. She also co-founded the Women in Business programme in NatWest and RBS. A global leading programme which developed staff talent, in addition to better meeting the needs of the growing women’s sector of the SME community. 

​Carolyn has addressed the Global Banking Alliance conference in Sydney, Australia, contributed policy papers to the World Economic Forum in Davos, is a member of the UK Women’s Enterprise Policy Group and the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

As Chief Operating Officer Carolyn manages the day-to-day operation and sets the strategic direction. Carolyn participates in the T20, the think-tank body of the G20 and is an advocate of women’s economic empowerment, business growth, leadership and boardroom diversity.




Jim Watson

Director of Business Services, Scottish Enterprise

Jim Watson is the Director of Business Services in Scottish Enterprise responsible for providing a wide range of specialist support and funding for businesses in Scotland working closely with partner organisations to maximise and support the company base to maximise and bring opportunities to fruition even during a difficult period over the past year.  More recently Jim has led a number of initiatives during a difficult pandemic period to help companies survive the negative impacts and challenges COVID-19 has brought.

He was Director of Innovation and Enterprise 2013-2019 responsible for helping drive a sustainable step change in Scotland’s innovation performance through developing a strategic framework of support for the business base in Scotland and working closely with private and public sector partners across Scotland.

He was National Director for Company Growth 2010-2013.  In April 2008, Jim was appointed Senior Director, Company Growth (West of Scotland) and in February 2009, he took on the additional role of Senior Director, Financial Services.

Previous positions have included Senior Director Business Growth & Skills. Jim was also Project Director for the award winning Glasgow International Financial Services District for five years helping with other partner organisations to develop and implement a strategy that brought over 17,000 new jobs to the centre of Glasgow and in the process developing a strong brand and financial services proposition that has continued to attract world wide interest and investment. 

Jim has held and currently holds a number of non- executive director positions across a wide variety of organisations.


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I was drawn to this conference as I work/research in care homes. All the speakers were interesting, knowledgeable and spoke well.

Santhani Selveindran, University of Glasgow,
Delegate at 5th Annual Care of Older People Conference, November 2017