Smarta 100 catch-up: Calum MacDonald, Highland Wi-fi

Name: Calum MacDonald

Company name: Highland Wi-Fi Ltd

Proposition: A local Scottish wi-fi network and the first network to focus on out-of-the-way outdoor areas.

0 - 10. Hello there Smarta 100 winner! So... what's happened to you and your business since last year's Smarta 100?

The business has been going well and we have increased wi-fi site numbers to 17 from seven at this time last year. Following the Smarta 100 win, we got a congratulatory motion in the Scottish Parliament!

We also finished 2nd in the Barclays One Small Step competition last year for the Scottish Region. Another big step forward is that we have landed a deal with a government body called HiTrans and have installed a wi-fi system at the Inverness Bus Station. Should the trial prove successful, then we hope to install wi-fi at further bus stations throughout the Highland Region.

Things would have gone even better had the bank and funding situation been more supportive but being a new limited company, it has proved nigh on impossible to secure funding in this current climate. The company has had no option but to grow organically using earnings to expand.

10 - 20. What's the single smartest thing you've done this year?

Applying for and winning goverment assistance for our project through the Highland & Islands Enterprise. This is a grant award which will go toward the purchasing of further wi-fi equipment.

20 - 30. Where do you intend to be when the Smarta 100 comes knocking in 2012?

We hope to have at least 30 wifi site locations installed and operating by this time next year.

30-40. We'll be finding a fresh crop of exciting small businesses for 2011 but, just to humour us, how would you have spent the £10,000 first prize ?

I could have cried when I saw that £10,000 prize for this years event. I would have gone to Las Vegas and put the lot on black - well, you did want humour.

40 - 50. Any super smart businesses you'd recommend?

Apart from my own, no.

50 - 60. Clock's ticking. Before we go, how has being a Smarta 100 business helped you and why should people enter?

Being a Smarta 100 business was fantastic for both publicity and credibility (as we were a new business back then). It certainly got us additional business and no doubt will continue to generate further business in the coming years, so  thank you very much for that.

Find out more about Highland Wi-Fi

Enter the Smarta 100 2011

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