Entrepreneurship doubles but Scotland stuck in slow lane

Sir Tom Hunter: 'We must close gap on US and Canada'. Picture: Dan Philips
Sir Tom Hunter: 'We must close gap on US and Canada'. Picture: Dan Philips
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Scotland has seen the number of high-growth entrepreneurs double in recent years, but its track record has been branded “average at best” by the country’s most high-profile businessman.

The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which is published today, highlights a 
100 per cent leap in the number of “high-aspiration entrepreneurs” – those expecting to employ at least ten people within the first five years of setting up in business. The report spans the period between 2008 and 2013.

Professor Jonathan Levie of the University of Strathclyde’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, and author of the report, said the trend was continuing and could have a “real impact” on the economy.

He said: “The increase in early-stage entrepreneurs with high aspirations in Scotland is a welcome development. These types of innovation-driven business start-ups can have a real impact on the Scottish economy, providing employment opportunities, increasing export activity and encouraging even more entrepreneurial activity.”

He added: “The university itself has had real success in supporting the start-up of companies which have turned research into commercial enterprise.”

Sir Tom Hunter, the Ayrshire businessman who endowed 
the centre, described the 
doubling in the number of high-aspiration entrepreneurs as “good news for Scotland”.

But he cautioned: “Early-stage entrepreneurial activity remains at an all-time high. However, that high still ranks us average 
at best and I don’t believe anyone has our aspirations set on average.

“We must close the gap on the US and Canada and to do so we need greater co-operation.

“The Hunter Centre has established its own advisory board as we look to address the need to create an entrepreneurial environment in Scotland that is world class and breaks down barriers.”

The rate of entrepreneurship tends to be linked with 
the health of the economy. 
Redundancy can force many into setting up their own business.