Graeme Smith - Managing Director at Amazon Development Centre, Edinburgh
Edinburgh has long been a major centre for innovation and ideas that change the world. From the birth of the enlightenment to Dolly the Sheep, the Capital is rightly proud of its heritage. In recent years, the city has continued to forge this reputation in the fast-evolving technology sector, helping to drive Edinburgh’s emergence as a key hub that rivals London.
That’s why Edinburgh was always the natural choice for Amazon, when locating its very first ‘Development Centre’ outside US. Thirteen years has passed since that centre was established and it’s fair to say that we’ve come a long way.
Based in Waverley Gate, Amazon employs a team of scientists, software engineers and designers working on inventions for customers across the world. It’s no secret that we thrive in Scotland’s capital because of the talent here. The University of Edinburgh produces more world-leading and internationally excellent research in computer science and informatics than any other university in the UK. The University is a great partner for us, training some of the brightest computer scientists in the UK. In turn, we support the University by running regular careers presentations, supporting the Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Science, and sponsoring the Informatics 3rd year project prize. Through our Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary we support women studying for tech careers.
Of course, our desire to nurture local talent makes business sense. From Edinburgh, our team develop technology which allows small businesses to reach hundreds of millions of customers in their own language and in their own currency around the world. This allows Scottish businesses, urban or rural, to be local but sell global.
Our innovative work in Edinburgh similarly extends to our UK customer service centre, also based at our offices in Waverley Gate. As well as being the hub for UK customer service, the site is an ‘incubator’ for new services, which are tested here before being rolled out elsewhere.
Edinburgh remains key to Amazon’s operations, not just in the UK, but worldwide. We are proud to call it home and be part of the city’s exciting transformation as a world-leading technology centre.