Glasgow encouraged to target becoming UK's Silicon Valley within decade

A Glasgow-based start-up fundraising expert says her home city should have a ten-year ambition to become the Silicon Valley of the UK.

Helena Murphy founded fundraising-focused firm Raising Partners in 2017, and she believes Glasgow’s mix of talented entrepreneurs, advisers and funders could replicate the success of California’s Silicon Valley, a renowned hotbed for tech entrepreneurs.

According to Ms Murphy, who says she has helped more than 160 companies raise in excess of £50 million to date, the Scottish venture-capital sector behaves like an “old boys’ network” that avoids risk and limits the ambitions of entrepreneurs by keeping valuations low.

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“We’re letting down our entrepreneurs by not making it easier for them to get access to finance – the best thing they can do right now is go to London, and that’s incredibly disappointing,” she said.

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“We keep talking about the potential of the Scottish tech sector, but we’re not doing enough to help it realise that potential. Our entrepreneurs don’t have the skills or networks to raise finance, because the ecosystem isn’t there to support them and give them what they need.

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“If we’re going to have any chance of consistently competing on the world stage, we need to be bolder in our attitude to risk, and make decisions which get finance to the people who can turn it into jobs and economic success.”

Her comments come ahead of a conference this Tuesday aiming to help Scottish tech entrepreneurs raise funding. The event at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology & Innovation Centre has been organised by Raising Partners, which is focused on early-stage investment support, and which has billed the event as a “game-changer”, as well as recently announcing high-profile speakers.

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'We keep talking about the potential of the Scottish tech sector, but we’re not doing enough to help it realise that,' says Ms Murphy. Picture: Elaine Livingstone.

Ms Murphy also said: “We’ve heard so many times over the years that Scotland has the potential to be a global entrepreneurial leader, but there’s still a lack of the infrastructure in place to make that happen. There’s no reason at all that Glasgow can’t emulate the success of Silicon Valley in attractingworld-class businesses and growing our own at the same time. That should be a target for the next ten years.

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“We don’t lack entrepreneurs, talent or ambition. We lack the structured support, delivered quickly and effectively, to turn those raw ingredients into growth, jobs, and wealth for the economy.”

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