Lynne Cadenhead has business down to a science

Serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, visiting professor at Edinburgh Napier, board game creator, pharmaceuticals sales rep … these are all titles that ENU alumna Lynne Cadenhead can put on her cv. With a diverse range of interests, and a gift for identifying opportunities, Lynne has buckets of experience that she’s using to support women-owned businesses through her role as Chair of Women's Enterprise Scotland. Keep reading to find out more.

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Developing skills at Edinburgh Napier University

Lynne Cadenhead headshotIn 1990, Lynne Cadenhead became the first person in her family to graduate from university when she acquired a BSc in Life Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University. She studied part-time, working at a scientific research institute in Dundee when not at university. The flexibility suited Lynne, and she was able to put what she learnt at university into practice in the laboratory. 

She received the Edinburgh Napier Award of Merit after gaining the top marks in her class. This aptitude for hard work was exemplified as, alongside study and lab work, Lynne also worked at a local radio station. Not familiar with the industry, she utilised the knowledge that existed within her network and regularly convened with a journalism lecturer at the University to learn more. 

This willingness to branch into the unknown has led Lynne to great success throughout her career.

Adding strings to her bow

Lynne’s career has been varied, to say the least.  

Lynne Cadenhead, sitting down, leaning against a wallAfter graduating, she remained in life sciences but moved away from research and into the business side of things, namely sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. Lynne then returned to education and completed an MBA which helped her climb the corporate ladder quickly. She travelled the world commercialising university life sciences research before turning her hand to venture capitalism where she invested in early-stage tech companies to support their growth. 

With this sort of experience, it’s no wonder Lynne was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Over the past 15 years she founded companies in an assortment of sectors. These companies include:
  • Quest Games, an innovative board game that draws on a thousand years of Scottish history. It has been played by over 1 million people since its launch in 2004!
  • Immaculate Drinks, her newest venture, is an alcohol-free product, whereby 50% of the annual profits will go to help other women in business.

She has also served on over 30 boards, including as the first Chair of Touch Bionics, the world-leading upper limb prosthetics company which sold for £27.5million in 2016.  

In September 2020, she won the Institute of Directors Scotland's Director of the Year Award for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

We told you her cv was diverse!


Supporting women in business 

With a successful career in the traditionally male-dominated fields of STEM and finance, Lynne has seen first-hand the ways in which women can be held back and stopped from realising their career aspirations. She is passionate about closing the gender gap in enterprise and is involved in numerous initiatives which support women overcome the many barriers they face when starting and growing a business. 

Lynne has been Chair of Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) since 2014. WES is a not-for-profit community interest group which champions women-led and women-owned businesses. The organisation recently launched Women’s Business Centre which helps women shape their business ideas and launch and grow their businesses.  

Lynne Cadenhead has faced numerous challenges and setbacks throughout her career. She’s committed to using her experience and expertise to support women along their enterprise journey.

Find out more 

Lynne Cadenhead 
Women’s Enterprise Scotland 
Women’s Business Centre 

If you’ve got an idea for a business, check out Bright Red Triangle, the University’s hub for innovation and enterprise. They have a range of resources available to support the development of entrepreneurial thinking and action including ideation, prototyping, problem-solving, business start-up activities, and business growth.