High-growth Scottish firms '˜in decline', warns Barclays

Scotland risks falling behind in fast growth '˜scale-up' businesses to take entrepreneurs onto the next stage of expansion, according to a new report.

Barclays' Calum Brewster said uncertainty could harm growth among Scotland's entrepreneurial enterprises. Picture: Contributed

The number of Scottish entrepreneurial enterprises rose 2.2 per cent over the last year, but the proportion of high-growth companies fell by just under 3 per cent, says the latest Barclays Entrepreneurs Index.

“New research reveals that Britain enjoyed a five-year high in opportunities for entrepreneurs leading up to the EU referendum,” the report says.

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“However, in Scotland a lack of new scale-up businesses and current market uncertainty risks the country under-performing and could now harm growth.”

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Calum Brewster, managing director and head of wealth and investment management at ­Barclays’ north region, said it was the second year running that Scottish high-growth companies were in decline.

Brewster said: “This reaffirms concerns about the scale-up gap where entrepreneurs are ­unable to access the support, skills base or, indeed talent, to take their businesses to the next level.

“While the continued growth in new enterprises is heartening, if we are to compete on the global stage and drive ­economic growth we must take action to address this gap.”

Overall, the report shows the Barclays Entrepreneurs Index at a record high – up 10 percentage points since 2011 in the aftermath of the financial crash “and showing strong progress and recovery after a decline in 2014”.