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The Entrepreneurial Exchange


Rob Walker 

Rob grew up in London, returning to native Scotland in 1980 to study Engineering at Strathclyde University.  After a brief skirmish with employment with iconic companies like British Shipbuilders and British Aerospace, he set up his first business in 1993 later selling it at the height of the dotcom buying frenzy in an all-share deal. The shares joined the ‘99’ club losing over 99% of the value in the next 2 years.  (That’s another story…) A second business was formed in 2001 from the wreckage of the ‘99’ club experience.  Versko continues to make money nearly 10 years later in the IT Services sector through a combination of client and employee loyalty, and good business relationships with our major supplier IBM.  In 2008 a product business vQueue was spun out of Versko after a year or so of on-off development and sales effort.  The spin-out allowed for greater focus and specific funding to be secured for vQueue.  Our first client, the UK National Lottery, was secured in September 2008. 

In 2009 Rob attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management course on Entrepreneurial Development in Boston.  The course is aimed at high potential product business’s and pulls together many aspects of establishing and growing hi-tech, hi-growth companies addressing a global market.  The mottos are “Total Global Domination” and “Never, never, ever sell to IT Managers” amongst many others! In his talk, Rob will share his recent experiences of spin-outs and MIT and how the current economic challenges actually create more opporunity than less.

The other stuff, born in Dumfries, grew up in London (mostly) and went to university at Strathclyde – B.Sc and M.Sc in Engineering, Chartered Engineer  and Member of the British Computer Society, married to Colette and has two kids.  Likes skiing and sailing, dislikes people who don’t try, and quiche!  Recommends “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter to read from many, many business book read.

Alan McCafferty 

Alan obtained a degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering in 1988 and then joined British Petroleum in their North Sea and Petrochemical operations. He achieved chartered status in 1993 and went on to form his own engineering consultancy company.  In 1997 he identified an opportunity and formed an Indian food development and sales company, India UK Ltd.  Within 18 months, this company was supplying Indian snacks to all Asda stores, UK wide.  He accepted an attractive offer for his company in January 2001.

After India UK came ADDER International Ltd, a digital CCTV systems builder with a strong emphasis on the export market.  When it became apparent that this business was not going to fulfil its potential he decided to look at other opportunities.

While building his property and lease management business, Balmore Estates, and providing ‘troubleshooting' assistance to a number of companies he secured the acquisition of McCowan's Ltd, the confectionery manufacturer (May 2003). After two very challenging years at the helm of McCowan's it was evident that the business required additional funding. With the inherited debt burden plus additional unforeseen debts, such as a £1M pension deficit, it became apparent that new funding would not be possible. He appointed the receiver in March 2005 and helped secure a new buyer one month later. He left the business in May 2005.  

He is now working on a number of new projects from established businesses to start-ups. He is mentor to a number of businesses including ID Inquiries, a private investigation, surveillance and employee vetting company.

Alan has been described as a serial entrepreneur.  He is a strong people person and is keen on the ‘it's got to be fun' principle.  He is ambitious, competitive and has great enthusiasm for business.  He enjoys the management and team building aspects of business and finds the psychology of business fascinating.

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Venue information

Kama Sutra 331 Sauchiehall Street
G2 3HW

0141 332 0055


Alan McCafferty, Balmore Holdings


  • Rob Walker, Versko, www.versko.com

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Registered in Scotland. Company registration number SC160976.
Registered office: Barncluith Business Centre, Townhead Street, Hamilton, ML3 7DP. Developed by Mercurytide