Scots entrepreneurs bullish and 'resilient', according to Barclays Eagle Labs - as it flags 2022 as 'year of growth for business'

Nearly half of firms in Scotland expect turnover to jump in the next year, according to new research from Barclays Eagle Labs, which is identifying 2022 as a year of growth for business.

Barclays Eagle Labs, a growing network of business hubs across the UK, also found that 51 per cent of companies north of the Border expect to recruit over that period.

It comes after Barclays in October officially opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art campus in Glasgow, saying it would be home to the latest Barclays Eagle Lab. That came after the banking giant said it was set to debut an Eagle Lab based in the Halo Enterprise and Innovation Centre in Kilmarnock, complementing Labs in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The latest survey polled 538 founders and decision-makers across the UK of businesses up to five years old, including 55 in Scotland, between August 25 and September 7. Barclays said the predicted growth mirrors a continued trend, as payments data revealed increased activity among small businesses, with transactions to small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK having risen by 38 per cent beyond pre-pandemic levels.

'A strong network has been key in ShareIn’s success,' says co-founder and CEO Jude Cook. Picture: Chris Watt.

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The lender added that despite the challenges of the past two years, company-owners in Scotland have proved “resilient”, as 71 per cent would still recommend starting a business to others, compared to 66 per cent UK wide, with only nine per cent north of the Border saying they would not.

However, bosses also pointed to the additional support they need to unlock their potential, as a fifth in Scotland said they believe access to mentor and investor advice would help to grow their business, about the same percentage would like help in accessing networks, and a further 22 per cent stated that they would benefit from access to growth programmes, such as business accelerators.

Barclays has cited Edinburgh-based technology company ShareIn as a business that has benefited from the network and local business ecosystem enabled by Eagle Labs.

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The firm, which provides investment businesses with a platform to receive investments directly from their networks, was founded by Jude Cook and Andrew Pickett, has been a resident at the CodeBase business incubator since its launch in 2014, and has remained headquartered in the start-up hub after it became home to the first Barclays Eagle Lab in Scotland in 2018.

Catalyst

ShareIn co-founder and chief executive Ms Cook said: “A strong network has been key in ShareIn’s success. As a first-time founder, building bonds between other organisations and businesses was essential, and having the support network of other early-stage start-ups that grew up together helped us get off the ground and grow to where we are today.

“Andrew and I met because of local business networks, at an Edinburgh University Business School event, and subsequently shared a hot desk space in the incubator. Now we’ve grown, but collaboration within the Edinburgh ecosystem and wider remains crucial in scaling ShareIn even further, allowing consumers to invest in and fund the businesses they genuinely care about.”

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Jon Hope, director of Eagle Labs at Barclays, said: “By uncovering how the ambitions of start-up businesses can be better supported, we’re confident that with the right support and advice, and access to networks and mentorship that we know are crucial, UK entrepreneurs will continue to drive innovation and economic success nationwide.”

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