Mark Logan, who is also professor of computing science at the University of Glasgow, will advise ministers on implementing the recommendations stemming from his independent review of the Scottish tech ecosystem.
The programme will be delivered with £7 million of Scottish Government funding in its first year. This will include £1m to make strategic investments in organisations and activities – such as tech conferences, meet-ups or training programmes – that create the best conditions for start-ups to succeed.
A network of growth-focused entrepreneurial hubs known as “tech scalers” will open for bids later this year. It is anticipated that there will be five such scalers in different parts of the country by 2022, with the aim of supporting as many as 300 start-ups over the next five years.
An advisory board includes Lesley Eccles, founder and chief executive of HelloRelish and co-founder of gaming platform Fanduel, and Stephen Ingledew, executive chairman of FinTech Scotland.
Online travel businesses Skyscanner was Scotland’s first “unicorn” – a tech company valued at more than $1 billion. Logan joined the firm as chief operating officer in 2012 until its acquisition in 2017.
He said: “It’s very exciting to witness the shared sense of mission and ambition across government, industry and the education sector in bringing the tech ecosystem review’s recommendations to life.”
Meanwhile, the UK government has announced that four new trade and investment hubs will be established in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the north-east of England.
The hubs – in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and a second Department for International Trade (DIT) site in Darlington – will be established under a strategy to boost exports and push central government functions beyond London.
Some 550 staff are expected to be present in the hubs by 2025, with an ambition to increase this to 750 by 2030. An existing DIT Hub in Edinburgh, announced in September, will see a “significant” increase in headcount following its relaunch.
International trade secretary Liz Truss said: “I’m determined to use UK trade policy to benefit every part of the UK. These trade and investment hubs will help this country to an export and jobs-led recovery.”