Letter: National plan needed for new entrepreneurs

THE 2010 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report is disappointing to all those who believe in a more entrepreneurial Scotland. We have a choice. Do we drop back into the popular pastime of casting blame and bemoaning our fate? Or do we step up and take action now and make a dramatic change?

The stakes are high. By creating a vibrant entrepreneurial economy we will ensure a bright economic future - more jobs, more wealth creation, more tax take. But also it enhances our ability as a country to solve deeply embedded social problems. There are two steps we can start with now:

Firstly we must celebrate and support the many successes we do have. We have thousands of unsung successful entrepreneurs, not just the usual suspects. They are the job creators. We have outstanding not-for-profit organisations who are already making a dramatic impact on our young people from schools, through higher education and beyond - Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust, The Saltire Foundation, Scottish Institute for Enterprise, Young Enterprise Scotland, Micro Tyco/Wildhearts and the Entrepreneurial Exchange. We all must soften the criticism and embrace the successes. The media has a critical role to play, however, we all have to play our part - support, encourage and celebrate success.

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Secondly, building on our successes let us create a joined-up, holistic plan for how we develop and encourage our young talent. This young talent definitely exists. For example, through the Saltire Foundation Scholarship Programme, the feedback from the US is that the Scottish talent is as good as, if not better than, that from the Ivy League universities in the US.

These organisations are working together to ensure there are no duplications and more importantly, no gaps. Along with the Global Scot network from Scottish Enterprise, our universities and our successful companies, we can make this work.

There is an opportunity for the government to facilitate a joined-up business-led National Entrepreneurial Action Plan. It is imperative that this does not become a drawn-out governmental process, but is directed by our proven business leaders such as Sir Tom Hunter and Entrepreneurial Exchange chairman Bob Keiller. Together business leaders, not-for-profits and governments can create a chain of entrepreneurial developments from primary school right through to the seasoned entrepreneur.

The Saltire Foundation; Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust; The Entrepreneurial Exchange; Scottish Institute for Enterprise; Young Enterprise Scotland