The Innovation Centre, which is supported by Baillie Gifford, aims to promote community cohesion by helping people and businesses develop important skills. It is hoped that it will play an important role in helping to regenerate the local area.

The Innovation Centre was officially launched at Tynecastle Park on May 28th, 2019. The launch followed a series of successful Digital Education programmes that have attracted several hundred school children between the ages of eight and sixteen over the past six months. Working in partnership with learning providers, schools and businesses, programmes use the magnet of football and the unique position of HMFC in the community to attract and motivate young people of all ages to acquire vital skills for Scotland’s burgeoning digital economy.

Digital Education

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The Digital Education centre gives young people the opportunity to explore technology in a fun, creative and social environment.

All sessions are free to attend and are supervised by volunteer mentors, recruited from businesses across Edinburgh, who introduce attendees to basic coding skills through lessons that include designing and coding fitness trackers and programming goal-line technology. A new careers club will launch in the autumn to with a focus on developing vocational skills and helping young people navigate their way into further education and employment.

Dell has provided all the equipment required for the programmes, thus removing any financial barriers to entry for young people in one of Edinburgh’s most economically challenged communities.

Business Support

The official launch of the Innovation Centre also covered the opening of a new Business Support facility. Designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs as well as established companies, the programmes on offer will provide advice and encouragement for people looking to set up their own enterprises as well as those struggling to sustain existing businesses.

In addition to providing advice and guidance, the Centre will provide vital support for participants to get on the first rung of the ladder in setting up a new business and build new contacts.  Equally, it will provide pathways into established business support networks and potential funders.

The Innovation Centre will host a series of introductory business seminars, delivered by Brodies LLP, covering key areas that can make the difference between success and failure when starting and running businesses.  Attendees will receive support and advice on topics such as becoming self-employed, taking on new employees, leasing premises and managing cash flow.

Hearts ‘Director of Community and Partnerships, Ann Park, commented:

“The Innovation Centre is a key component in our plans to make Tynecastle Park a hub for social and economic good in the community. Thanks to the sponsorship and support of Baillie Gifford and Dell, we are offering young people fantastic opportunities to develop vital skills for the future.  With input from Brodies LLP, we will also offer early support for new innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs to help them get on the first rung of the ladder of creating their own business.  Equally, we will offer advice and guidance for local small businesses to make them more robust and sustainable.

This is the kind of constructive and far sighted sponsorship that Scottish football needs.  Baillie Gifford and Dell’s commitment to helping young people, new entrepreneurs and businesses to reach their potential should be applauded.  Our partnership demonstrates clearly the way in which football and the magnet of the Club can be a real force for good in the community.”

Hearts’ CEO and Chairman, Ann Budge said: “I know from personal experience just how important it is for young people, particularly those in less affluent areas, to be given opportunities to develop and acquire valuable skills.  I hope that our Innovation Centre might help unearth the next generation of successful entrepreneurs as well as a legion of recruits for Scotland’s digital economy.”