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Quarter of a million Scots entrepreneurs set up business in 2020

A quarter of a million people in Scotland were setting up or running new businesses in 2020, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey has found.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Scotland 2020 (GEM) report estimates that 7.3% of the Scottish population – 247,000 adults – were actively engaged in setting up a business or already running an enterprise established in the last three-and-a-half years. A further 5.7%  – 194,000 – were entrepreneurs running more established businesses.

Around 60,000 young people in Scotland, or 13% of 18-24 year olds, were early-stage entrepreneurs, the highest rate among the home nations. Entrepreneurship among people under 30 years old in Scotland has steadily grown from being the lowest in the UK at 3.5% in the 2007/09 period.

GEM measures rates of entrepreneurship across multiple phases in the general adult population. In 2020, nearly 140,000 people from 46 economies across the globe were surveyed, with 2,019 responses from Scotland, making it the world’s most authoritative comparative study of entrepreneurial activity.

The study found that Scotland had similar rates of total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) to other nations within the UK, mainly because Scotland held steady in the face of the pandemic while early-stage entrepreneurial activity in England suffered a significant decline from 2019 rates.

The Highlands and Islands region had the highest proportion of 18-64-year-olds in early-stage entrepreneurial activity (8.7%), followed by South Western Scotland (7.4%), Eastern Scotland (6.9%) and North Eastern Scotland (6.5%). In North Eastern Scotland, there has been a significant decline in the TEA rate from 2019 (8.7%) to 2020 (6.5%), while the rest of Scotland held steady despite the pandemic.

Around 5.3% of adult women in Scotland were trying to set up a new business or running a young business in 2020 compared to 9.3% of men – a rate that has changed little over the last decade and makes the gender gap in Scotland the highest amongst the home nations.

Further, there is a significant gender difference in reasons for trying to start a business with 62% of men citing the building of “great wealth or a very high income” as a key motivation compared to only 51% of women. In contrast, 76% of female early-stage entrepreneurs in Scotland, compared to 57% of males, indicated that a key reason they were trying to start a business was “to earn a living because jobs are scarce”.

Following previous trends, the TEA rate of the white ethnic population in the Scotland in 2020 was lower than that of the non-white population, at 7.05% compared to 12.95% respectively. However, the TEA rate for the non-white ethnic group was lower than the rate in 2019 (16.8%), while it remained comparable for the white ethnic group. This suggests that amid the higher rates of entrepreneurial activity among ethnic minorities, there is greater precarity too.

In Scotland, contrary to the trend in the wider UK, both the most deprived quintile and the least deprived quintile reported similarly high TEA levels, of around 9%. The most deprived 20% were thus just as likely to start a business as the wealthiest 20% in Scotland in 2020.

Dr Samuel Mwaura, lecturer in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and co-lead of the GEM Scotland study, said:

“Despite the pandemic, there were around 250,000 entrepreneurs that were actively trying to set up a business in 2020 in Scotland, helping keep entrepreneurial activity on a par with 2019.

“Historically, we know that new businesses play a vital role in the recovery from major crises, however in 2020 immediate and sustained efforts to mitigate the coronavirus crisis prioritised more established businesses to the neglect of startup entrepreneurs.

“Many of the 250,000 startup entrepreneurs in 2020 will thus not have accessed much needed support and our findings suggest that thousands have thus had to delay the operationalisation of their new businesses. It is likely that many of these businesses will never see the light of day.

“We also found significant regional disparities among the four regions of Scotland, each with unique strengths and vulnerabilities. This means that different regions have different needs and tailored support is required. It is encouraging to see regional support infrastructure develop, such as Aberdeen City Region, and the new South of Scotland Enterprise.”

Dr Sreevas Sahasranamam, co-lead of the GEM Scotland study, said:

“Our findings on rates of entrepreneurial activity among young people under 30 in 2020 gives us a lot to both celebrate and draw lessons from.

“The success of this group has come from substantial investments in well-integrated national programmes such as The Prince’s Trust, the Bridge to Business programme for schools and the Scottish University Scale-Up Consortium, among others.

“Many individual universities in Scotland are also making entrepreneurship a more strategic priority internally for their students and graduates while also taking a greater role in supporting the wider ecosystem, such as Strathclyde’s partnership with Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurial Scotland to create the Glasgow City Innovation District.

“These initiatives provide fantastic case-studies of best practice that is working for young people that can be suitably adapted to address the issues we continue to observe in entrepreneurship among women and ethnic minorities as well as the regional disparities.

“Another related trend we noted was the highest entrepreneurial activity within Scotland’s most deprived quantiles, suggesting a case of entrepreneurship being seen as an emancipation tool.

“It was very encouraging to note that despite the pandemic nearly half the early-stage entrepreneurs in Scotland saw new opportunities, which augers well for an economic recovery.”

Sean McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, Entrepreneurial Scotland, said:

“These are eye catching and hugely-reassuring figures. They support the view that individuals who have an entrepreneurial mindset are key players in the economic recovery. 

“Against all the odds and in the midst of a health crisis the like of which none of us have ever lived through before, it is deeply encouraging to learn that so many individuals are either engaged in business creation or running one.

“This is undoubtedly good news and comes at a time when people everywhere are endeavouring to drive Scotland’s economy forward and out of the difficulties caused by the pandemic.”

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Still time to enter 2021 Business Women Scotland Awards

There’s still time to enter the 2021 Business Women Scotland Business Awards before the closing date of 3 September at 6pm.

Has your business grown in the past year? Is it a start-up that’s being noticed? Do you run an innovative social enterprise? Or is your business a sustainable enterprise that’s worth shouting about?

We want to hear from you. Themes of collaboration and sustainability are new categories in this year’s awards and will be recognised when the gongs are handed out at a live lunchtime ceremony on 19 November at Oran Mor in Glasgow.

Categories range from Rising Star of the Year and Established Business of the Year to Inspirational Woman of the Year. New categories for 2021 include Collaboration Award, Sustainable Business Award and Women in Tech Award.

“This has been yet another tough year for businesses and now that we are opening up again it’s time that we celebrated each other’s achievements,” said Lynne Kennedy MBE, founder of Business Women Scotland.

Every business entering this year’s awards will receive a free six-month membership to Business Women Scotland.

Top prizes include business coaching from Kirsty Mac worth £900 and a business overview from Martin Aitken for the Business Woman of the Year.

While the overall winner will receive business coaching worth £3000 from Yvonne Webb at Action Coach, a business overview check with Martin Aitken and 10 weeks of advertising with Go Radio.

To enter, visit  https://www.bwsawards.co.uk/

This year’s awards will return to an event in Glasgow, but will also be streamed live online for those who can’t make it along on the day.

“When we hosted the awards online last year, we linked up with women in business the length and breadth of the country. We’re aware that not everyone has the time or the budget to get to Glasgow, so this year as well as returning to a live in-person event we hope to do the same again online and bring together as many female entrepreneurs as possible,” added Lynne.

Online ticket holders will each receive a goody bag to enjoy the awards from their home or office.

–END–

Notes to editors

Categories in the 2021 Business Women Scotland Business Awards:

Business Growth of the Year

Business Woman of the Year

Established Business of the Year

Inspirational Woman of the Year

Rising Star of the Year

Social Enterprise of the Year

Social Media Genius of the Year

Start-up Business of the Year

Women in Tech

Collaboration Award

Sustainable Business Award

The overall winner is selected by the judging panel

About Business Women Scotland 

Business Women Scotland is a voice representing women in business and an organisation dedicated to helping women find support and networking opportunities to allow them to strengthen their business. A bi-monthly digital magazine supporting women in business, it also runs a series of events and awards to celebrate and empower women in business while tackling the gender gap in enterprise. 

For press enquiries about the 2021 Business Women Scotland Awards and Business Women Scotland, please contact Angela McManus on angela@bwsltd.co.uk or call 07803 970312.

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UK Government Ministers visit Scotland’s thriving fintech community

To recognise the global impact of Scotland’s growing fintech sector, FinTech Scotland hosted a visit by Secretary of State for Trade, Liz Truss and Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack on Tuesday 20th July, at the Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh.

Financial technology  (“fintech”) uses digital and data driven innovation to improve and enhance financial services, both for businesses and individuals and is making a significant contribution to innovation and the broader economy.

For example, the collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, FinTech Scotland and industry participants on innovative financial technology initiatives has enabled Scotland to be the home to the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence as well as FinTech Scotland being recognised as the UK’s first accredited fintech cluster.

The meeting at the Bayes Centre provided an opportunity for UK Government ministers to meet with a number of key entrepreneurs from leading firms from the Fintech Scotland community such as Direct ID, Modulr, FreeAgent, Float, EedenBull and Trace AI

Liz Truss, International Trade Secretary, said:

“The UK is a world-leader in FinTech and that’s why we’re breaking down barriers, pushing new frontiers in our free trade agreements and opening up markets to boost this growing industry.

“From Australia to Singapore, we are using our independent trade policy to drive foreign investment into UK FinTech and increase export opportunities worldwide.

“Scotland’s FinTech sector is thriving, and I want to ensure that we fuel the future global growth opportunities for FinTech businesses across the UK.” 

Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack said:

“Scotland’s financial sector has a rich history, and with 180 fintech businesses now based here, it’s good to see this legacy growing and developing as the UK becomes a major force in the global industry.  

“It was great to meet with some of the key people behind the sector’s success, and I look forward to seeing how their ambition and innovation will enhance the profile of Scotland and the whole UK within the global fintech community.”

Stephen Ingledew, Executive Chair of FinTech Scotland, who hosted the ministerial visit said:

“This visit demonstrated how collaborative leadership by entrepreneurs, large enterprises, academia and government can make a significant impact in delivering impactful fintech innovation which will shape the future economy and people’s lives both in the UK and internationally. Our forthcoming fintech research and innovation roadmap will highlight how we will build on momentum created and foster further collaboration with the regional fintech hubs across the UK.”

Peter Mathieson, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, welcomed the Ministers to the Bayes Centre and commented:

“The University has a global reputation for ground-breaking innovation and the Bayes Centre is a great example of creating a creative and collaborative environment delivering new opportunities in data, artificial intelligence and robotics in the emerging new sectors such as fintech”

The Ministerial visit coincides with the unveiling of plans for Scotland’s FinTech Festival in September which will showcase financial innovation from across the UK highlighting progress made since the HM Treasury commission Fintech Sector Review by Ron Kalifa OBE was released in March this year.

The Fintech Festival, now in its fourth year, will be a diverse range of 50 plus events and activities taking place over four weeks with fintech leaders and entrepreneurs attending from the UK and virtually from around the world.

The Festival will include major conferences in Edinburgh and Glasgow with examples of innovation from Scotland and the UK amongst many other global fintech leaders.

–END–

Notes to Editors

About FinTech Scotland

www.FinTechscotland.com

@FinTechScotland

FinTech Scotland is an independent not for profit body jointly established by the financial services sector, universities and Scottish Government/Scottish Enterprise to ensure that Scotland seizes the FinTech opportunities and achieves positive economic and social outcomes by encouraging financial innovation, collaboration and inclusion as part of the country’s broader digital economy objectives.

The organisation acts as a strategic enabler and cluster management body focused on leveraging the potential economic (i.e. productivity, innovation, business creation, employment) and social (i.e. financial inclusion, well-being and accessibility) benefits arising from becoming a leading global centre focused on Fintech innovation.

FinTech Scotland’s objectives are to develop an innovative community of FinTech firms, generate impactful collaborations between firms of all sizes and foster an inclusive cluster which is globally recognised and connected.

In January 2020, FinTech Scotland was formally recognised for the development for the Fintech cluster in Scotland and accredited with the bronze label for Cluster Management Excellence by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis.

FinTech Scotland was initially founded in January 2018 as a joint initiative by Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. The organisation is now supported by a broad range of global financial services, technology and professional services firms as well as University of Edinburgh and University of Strathclyde, the Financial Conduct Authority, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

Media Contact:

Mickael Paris – Marketing Director, FinTech Scotland

mickael.paris@FinTechscotland.com

www.FinTechscotland.com    

About the Bayes Centre

The Bayes Centre is a world-leading hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence which brings together global companies and UK researchers.  The UK Government supported the creation of the centre with £30.3 million investment as part of its £300 million commitment to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. 

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Can Do Collective Elects Hazel Jane as their New Convener

The Can Do Collective – a connected community of enterprise support organisations and leaders on a mission to build a world-leading entrepreneurial, innovative and creative society – has today announced the election of Hazel Jane – Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for Tech Nation – as their new convener.  

Elected every two years, the Can Do Collective conveners’ role is to drive momentum for the Can Do Movement across Scotland, building on its reputation as a beacon globally in entrepreneurial eco-systems and supporting the growth of this powerful community of inspiring entrepreneurial leaders, who in turn deliver impact for Scotland.

Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for Tech Nation will harness her global expertise to drive the Collective forward to help build Scotland’s future.

Hazel Jane comments,

“As an entrepreneur engagement manager for Tech Nation covering all of Scotland, my primary role is very much speaking with founders, stakeholders and government as well as liaising with my colleagues across the rest of the UK, to understand what our eco-system looks like on a UK landscape and how we can be doing better, and how we can thrive. It is exactly these insights and experiences that I intend to bring to the Collective so that we can continue to support our business community to thrive here.”

Founded upon a shared belief that Scotland has always been a ‘Can Do’ nation, the aim of the community today is to work together to enable entrepreneurs of all kinds to flourish and to prove that by working collaboratively they can increase the odds of success.

Hazel continues,

“I am fully committed to genuinely helping with the issues that we are facing in Scotland and the rest of the UK right now. Brexit, in particular, has hit businesses in ways that we didn’t imagine. This is something that we, as entrepreneur support organisations will have to think about and hopefully share a lot of knowledge around.

“With regards to the pandemic, I think that there are still a lot of unknowns, and it’s really important to touch on the fact that these challenges aren’t just financial – there is an immense amount of change for business owners and entrepreneurs, who are leading their employees into a world that we don’t yet understand. Successful business recovery in a post-pandemic era is also going to require a new world of working and I hope that we will be front runners, leading by example.”

Concluding, Hazel Jane comments,

“I believe that the role of the Collective is to share genuine best practise and support one another to get behind movements. For me, this is about being able to reach a huge group of companies that work to drive entrepreneurship and, supporting them with information and advice that will help to drive change and growth from within. Everything that the eco-system is doing is for the greater good of all entrepreneurship in Scotland.

The Can Do Collective is funded by The Scottish Government and supported by a dedicated team within the independent charity Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation. Made up of over 70 public, private and social enterprise support organisations from across all corners of Scotland, The Collective community represents 16 industry sectors. 

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Can Do Collective Seeks New Convener to Help Build Scotland’s Future

The Can Do Collective – a connected community of enterprise support organisations and leaders on a mission to build a world-leading entrepreneurial, innovative and creative society – has announced it has opened applications and nominations as it seeks to elect a new convener.

Elected every two years, a new Can Do Collective convener will take up the role in February 2021 and will drive momentum for the Can Do Movement across Scotland, building on its reputation as a beacon globally in entrepreneurial eco-systems and supporting the growth of this powerful community of inspiring entrepreneurial leaders who in turn deliver impact for Scotland.

The Can Do Collective are seeking a convener who demonstrates a supportive, flexible and strong sense of leadership, community and collaboration, and above all, an ability to bring people on the exciting and inspiring journey ahead for the Can Do Collective and for Scotland.

Rachael Brown, current Can Do Collective Convener and CEO, The Future Economy Company explains;

“Two years ago I took on the role of convener, knowing we had a big journey ahead of us. In that time, the world around us has changed, and more than ever we need strong, entrepreneurial, fast leadership. The Collective is testimony that a collective approach to impact and activity is possible and exactly what we need in a time of challenge. As we go forward, I would hope that Scotland continues to be a beacon for entrepreneurial spirit.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to be in the role of convener for the Can Do Collective over the past two years. This is a role that is hugely important, and The Can Do Collective is a powerful economic and societal asset for Scotland. I have every confidence that we will find the right person who will continue to drive the Collective forward.”

The Can Do Collective is funded by The Scottish Government and supported by a dedicated team within independent charity Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation. Made up of over 60 public, private and social enterprise support organisations from across all corners of Scotland, The Collective community represents 16 industry sectors.

Founded upon a shared belief that Scotland has always been a ‘Can Do’ nation, the aim of the community today is to work together to enable entrepreneurs of all kinds to flourish, and to prove there is greater power and success in working collaboratively.

The application process for the role of convener is open to all partners of the Can Do Collective. The closing date for applications is Friday 4th December, and the new convener will begin their role in February 2021.