Edinburgh waste analytics company, Topolytics, has been chosen by Google and SAP as one of the top five circular economy technologies globally

The Circular Economy 2030 Contest, organised by both tech giants, set out to find the best revenue generating ideas that can unlock $4.5 trillion of new economic output. The contest, that received more than 200 applications from around the world, was looking at commercial concepts that could scale globally and help to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use and/or regenerate natural systems.
 
Topolytics
 
Topolytics proposed expanding the scale and scope of its existing WasteMap data platform. Making the system of movements of waste and by-products much more visible and thereby identifying opportunities to reduce the impact of waste management and help to maintain materials and assets at a higher utility. In this way, it helps to enable circular economy thinking and supports organisations and governments in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production.
 
Commenting on the recognition, Dr. Michael Groves, Topolytics Founder said:
 
“I’m delighted that our proposition has been recognised by two titans of the tech world. Topolytics uses cloud technology, big data management, mapping and AI to improve the outcomes for waste producers and waste processors. This is therefore a natural fit for the range of technologies developed and deployed by Google and SAP.”
 
Topolytics and the other four ideas are being showcased at the Google Cloud 19 conference in San Francisco from 9-11th April. They will then be given the chance to present to a distinguished panel of judges drawn from the United Nations, World Wide Fund for Nature, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and senior representatives of both Google and SAP.
 
For more information please visit:
 
www.topolytics.com

DIGITAL CREATIVITY BOOST FOR SCOTTISH CHILDREN

Digital Xtra Fund, which has been designed to engage more Scottish children in exciting extracurricular digital skills activities, has received a huge funding boost. Due to increased support the Fund has doubled in size from £50,000 in 2018 to £100,000 for 2019.  

 

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Digital Xtra Fund is a Scottish charity which supports high-quality, extracurricular computing initiatives that inspire young people across Scotland to understand and create with technology, not simply use it.  The aim is to encourage young people to consider careers in digital technologies and reduce Scotland’s digital skills gap.  To date, the Fund has distributed £550,000 in support of 55 initiatives, achieving an active engagement of over 20,000 young people across all local authorities in Scotland.

 

This year’s funding will support 22 computing projects across the country, ranging from robotics and coding, to app development and the Internet of Things (IoT).

 

Funding and in kind support are provided by industry partners such as Skyscanner,JP Morgan, and the Micro:bit Educational Foundation who understand the importance of engaging children to sow the seeds of interest in digital careers.

 

“Digital skills are becoming increasingly essential for most careers, regardless of industry, so it is vital that we

equip as many children as possible with these skills from a young age, explains Kraig Brown, partnerships and development manager for the Digital Xtra Fund.  

 

“Our mission is to help young people in Scotland acquire vital digital skills through, exciting and engaging digital skills initiatives they can get involved in outwith the classroom.  We are there to help hard-pushed educators who may not have the time or resources to teach these important skills.  The demand for people with digital skills will be insatiable in Scotland in the future so we need to create a pipeline of young people with the necessary digital skills now so that we can thrive as a digital nation.  We are particularly keen on encouraging more girls to consider digital careers as well as supporting young people in rural communities and areas of less affluence where access to computing resources might be limited.”

 

He adds: “We are absolutely delighted and thankful that our industry partners have generously allowed us to double the funds available this year. This will make a huge difference to the initiatives we can support and the overall engagement we can achieve all around the country.”

 

For further information please visit http://www.digitalxtrafund.scot/

 

 

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MAKE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Forget about dropping a dress size or cutting a few inches from your waist, the most important change you could make in 2019 is improving your mental health.

 

 

This is the message from health and well-being experts Better Humans, who believe far too many of us take our mental health for granted. Their advice for 2019 is, yes, exercise is very important but it is essential to make other changes to your daily routine if you are to keep your mental health in tip top condition.

 

 

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to other humans, and make choices.

 

 

Victoria Anderson, clinical director at Better Humans Technology, explains: “Mental health concerns are often not clear-cut and often people do not realise that they may have a problem. This is why it is vital to look after your mental health at all times. Mental health issues are more than just receiving a diagnosis and then going for treatment – they involve a lot of ups and downs, learning, growing, and a lot of hard work.

“So for 2019 I urge everyone not to take their mental health for granted, as we all need to do better. As a practising physio, I see lots of people who want to get fitter and more toned at this time of year. Exercise is undoubtedly good for us, it strengthens our bodies, including our vital organs such as heart, lungs and brain, and releases happy chemicals into our blood stream which help us to feel more relaxed and content.

 

 

“However, this is only a 'part' of our overall wellness. Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as working long hours, or even checking emails when out of work hours, means that we don't give ourselves a chance to switch off and get the much needed rest that our body and mind needs. Being constantly busy and not taking the time to relax has a significant impact on our mental health and can push us into a 'flight or fight' state which has dire consequences for our body and brain health. 

 

 

When in this state, stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, rise which inhibit the function of our immune systems, digestive system and reproductive systems - literally we're in survival mode and anything not essential to help us survive is suppressed.  As a consequence, tissues don't heal as quickly and are more prone to damage, we can get gut pain and digestion issues and are more susceptible to picking up infections. We are also more likely to suffer from 'brain fog' where concentration and decision making is more difficult.

 

 

“There are lots of tell-tale signs that you may be struggling, such as not being able to get out of second gear and feeling like everything is struggle. We all know that lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and dehydration make this downward spiral more likely, but most of us do not realise that being in a constant state of distraction is also a major contributor to poor mental health.  Being unable to sit still without doing something else such as constantly checking your phone, surfing the net, watching TV, or not being able to stay in the same place for more than 5 minutes is a sign that we're disconnected from our inner voice and mental state.

 

 

Anderson adds: “I would recommend small lifestyle changes alongside exercise to help with our overall well-being: making sure we drink more water, getting at least 7-8 hours sleep per night, eating green vegetables, reading, going for a walk outside, having a bath and giving ourselves 'permission' to have a rest!  Quite often, going for a 20 minute walk outside in nature can be more beneficial than an intense work-out in the gym for an hour. Similarly if you’re chair-bound at a desk all day, persuading a colleague to have that 20 minute meeting with you, whilst you walk around the block will stimulate free-flowing conversation, help you connect with the outside world as well as incorporate some active time. 

 

 

“Our unique REACH programme is example of how employers can take a proactive approach to help ensure their employees stay fit and healthy. REACH is a unique blend of tests and digital training using the latest developments in neuroscience, motor imagery, visualisation and brain training. If followed the programme is proven to create healthier, happier and more productive employees; lower absenteeism; improve engagement and retention rates; and ultimately enhance the performance of the company overall.”

 

 

Victoria Anderson is responsible for the physiotherapy operation and new product development. She is a MSK advanced physiotherapist, and previously held the CEO position in an established city centre physiotherapy clinic. Victoria has prior experience in the digital health sector, and is passionate about adopting technology to make skilled physiotherapy practice more widely available. She is also a member of Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), and the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP).

 

 

For more information about Better Humans and the Reach programme please visit https://www.betterhumans.co.uk/.

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CATCH THE WAVE IN UK FRANCHISING

A new franchise survey has shown that the UK’s franchise sector is now worth over £17bn to the economy; up over £2bn since 2015.

Suzie McCafferty

Suzie McCafferty

Leading UK and international franchise consultancy Platinum Wave has welcomed the findings of the 2018 Franchise Survey produced by the British Franchise Association (bfa) and NatWest bank. Some 700,000 people are employed in the sector with just over 50% in full-time employment.  The number of women and young people (under 30) engaged in the sector has risen significantly.

Suzie McCafferty, managing director of Platinum Wave, said: “Franchising is a fantastic business sector to be involved in and the latest bfa survey shows that it is growing exponentially with ever more opportunities to either franchise your business, become a franchisee or even be employed by a franchise. There has never been a better time to get involved in franchising”

She added: “Franchisees across the country are reporting 93% profitability and 6 in 10 franchised units turn over more than £250,000 and I think this proves that the franchise model, if followed properly leads to successful, sustainable and profitable businesses.  It is a fact that less than 1% of franchise businesses close due to commercial failure. Over the past 20 years we have seen the sector go from strength to strength and as a consultancy we have helped hundreds of UK businesses get more from franchising, including expanding into international markets.”

Platinum Wave works with a wide number of leading brands helping with franchise development, franchise recruitment, network performance and marketing.  The firm has also recently launched a brand new franchise recruitment agency called Franchise Moves offering two distinct services to the franchise industry.  It recruits experienced franchise professionals on behalf of brands across every business sector, from support roles up to MD and CEO.   It also offers a discreet service helping those already in senior positions plan and make their next career move within the industry.   Franchise Moves is headed up by highly experienced franchise recruiter Steve Lampshire.

Platinum Wave has won a host of awards for its service, most recently winning the Best Customer Service award at the bfa HSBC Franchise awards.

For further information please visit www.platinumwave.co.uk or www.franchisemoves.co.uk

Digital PR…. Are You Clicking the Right Buttons?

Digital PR uses expert content to get businesses more clicks, more visits, more interactions and ultimately more sales.

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Digital PR is an online marketing strategy used to enhance your online presence. It is achieved by producing high quality content and then using this content to network with journalists, bloggers and influencers to gain high-quality backlinks from key websites and online publications, social media mentions, positive customer reviews, and to improve SEO. Digital PR is an evolved form of PR. Instead of only targeting print publications, Digital PR focuses on online publications and brand awareness. 

What a Digital PR campaign should achieve for your business:

1 - Create engaging, high quality content that is SEO-friendly.

2 - Build brand trust - a digital PR campaign ensures your customers only see positives when they type your company’s name into a search engine.  

3 - Boost website traffic -  more people reading about your business and sharing your content via social media, means more people will be visiting your website.

4 - Improve SEO and rankings - content is king!

6 - Increase sales - the more people reading about your products and clicking through to your website, the more leads you will generate. 

“Without Digital PR, any SEO campaign you’ve been running will not get you top on Google.”