Edinburgh Networking Breakfast – Robbie MacIsaac of Flux
26 October 2023
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Our Networking Breakfasts launched in February 2022 and are a key monthly event in the Scottish business calendar, taking place in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. They are open events where both members of WeDO and non-members are welcome. Offering a fantastic opportunity to spend a full hour networking, we alternate each month between an entrepreneurial speaker who will share their journey (including challenges faced – no rose tinted glasses overviews!) and topic based, where the speaker will share their expertise and tips on a specific subject. Places are limited to 50 to enable effective networking and are allocated on a first come first served basis. Please note that tickets must be booked in advance and will not be available on the door.
This month, we are delighted to be welcoming our youngest ever speaker Robbie MacIsaac of Flux. You may have seen Robbie in February when he piped his way into Dragon’s Den, Deborah and Sara even tried his bagpipes!
“For me, the most important thing I’ve learned is – especially when you’re young – use as many people as you can to help. There are some great people out there who were once in your shoes, so don’t be shy in asking for a favour. Be yourself, don’t care about what others say if you’re taking a different path, and crucially – be a nice guy. Ultimately, that’s how you’ll get the rewards.”
“Entering the Dragons’ Den is an experience I’ll never forget. I wanted to represent Scottish innovation and music as a passionate engineer, businessman and bagpiper. I knew the bagpipes would be a great emblem to represent the country. We have sold over 500 FLUX Blowpipes and had enquiries coming in from across the world. Although I didn’t get investment, all of the Dragons were hugely encouraging about my invention and impressed with the traction of the business – and my performance on the pipes too! – giving me lots of valuable advice and optimism for the future.”
22-year-old Robbie MacIsaac is in his final year on the University of Strathclyde’s BEng Product Design Engineering course, pioneered the FLUX Blowpipe when he was just 14 years old, a device which ultimately could prevent respiratory issues for bagpipers.
While still a schoolboy, Robbie was named the UK’s Most Innovative Young Engineer by the Manufacturing Technologies Association by winning the Technology Design Innovation challenge, and in 2019 he became a Scottish Edge Wild Card winner, following up with further success a year later when he won the Scottish Young Edge prize, securing five-figure funding as a reward. He was also a finalist at the Business Insider Made In Scotland Awards 2020. Robbie has gained essential guidance and funding from the RBS Accelerator programme and the University of Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Development Scheme.
Since leaving school, he’s gone on to grow FLUX Solutions to become a business that has generated over £85,000, with increased interest and custom from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand complementing sales in the UK.
Robbie believes the international interest in his high-tech kit demonstrates an appetite for bagpipes and innovation in the sector beyond Scotland’s borders.
“There are over 140,000 competitive bagpipers worldwide, with research suggesting the greatest portion is in North America alone. To give another example of their global appeal, there were 146 bands taking part at last year’s World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, coming from the likes of Argentina, Austria, Australia and Israel to compete.
When you also take into consideration the number of people who play the pipes on a non-competitive basis – at weddings or parades in particular – the opportunity for the Scottish bagpipe sector to succeed overseas is huge, and an opportunity I think is still largely untapped.”
Robbie, who pipes competitively himself and has won several awards, occasionally plays a set of 112-year-old bagpipes that require regular maintenance to keep in tune, an often-onerous process he believes could be improved with the right technology. In 2022, Robbie released the latest of his inventions, the FLUX Bagpipe Humidity Case, which stores instruments at a constant humidity to increase the health and enrich the tone of the instrument, while also being protective and transportable.
“At school, I developed an interest in engineering where I won some credibility and recognition through various competitions, and ever since I’ve been trying to combine my experience and skills with my passion for the bagpipes. I’m constantly pushing to invent new products that challenge the ordinary and bring them to the bagpipe community.”
FLUX Blowpipe is a revolutionary moisture control system suited to all bagpipers. It can be used universally with any bagpipe and has been engineered to remove moisture from the instrument by combining the use of temperature, pressure difference and a special absorbent. The blowpipe prolongs the lifespan of the bagpipes by preventing a build-up of moisture from damaging them, without having any detrimental effect on the sound quality or airflow.
Significantly, the device could reduce the risk of Piper’s Lung disease, also known as Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, caused when the lungs are exposed to moisture and fungi living in the instrument, which in rare but recorded cases can lead to death.
Anyone with an interest in business who is looking for an enjoyable networking event! Unlike many networking events, there is a full hour allocated to networking.
The ticket price of £21 + VAT for members and £26 + VAT for non-members. The ticket price includes tea/coffee and a bacon roll or pastries. Please select your choice when booking your ticket.
A VAT invoice will be issued once you have booked your ticket. Please note that ticket sales end at 2pm on Tuesday 24th October.
Tickets can be cancelled and refunded by emailing [email protected]. We regret that any tickets cancelled after 2pm on Thursday 18th October will not be applicable for refunds for any reason. Tickets can be transferred to a different name until Tuesday 24th October at 5pm by emailing [email protected]
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Venue Phone: 0131 376 9494