Scottish students can accelerate economic recovery

Scottish Institute for Enterprise responds to Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review

Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) – which supports students across Scotland to develop enterprise skills, discover their entrepreneurial talent and start their own ventures – has welcomed the recent Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review.

The report, by Mark Logan and commissioned by the Scottish Government, is a detailed assessment of the technology sector, highlighting how Scotland can accelerate the maturity of its tech ecosystem with education a fundamental enabler to achieving economic success. SIE already plays a critical national role in this ecosystem through empowering innovative students of any discipline to start tech-enabled businesses.

Fiona Godsman, chief executive at Scottish Institute for Enterprise, said: “SIE wholly welcomes the recommendations as set out in the report and we agree that we must build on our current tech ecosystem.

Whilst the tech sector is important it is also important to recognise that Scotland has excellence across a diverse range of entrepreneurs and all start-up ventures can be harnessed in a bid to aid Scotland’s economic recovery. Tech, whilst seen by many as a standalone sector, now underpins every industry – whether that’s beauty, agriculture or engineering – and this will become even more apparent in the years ahead.”

Funding, education and infrastructure have already been earmarked as the three pillars to influence the performance of the ecosystem as proposed by Logan. With education at the heart, SIE has called for more emphasis to be put on the role that universities and colleges have to play as catalysts for and facilitators of economic recovery. The early instilling of an enterprising mindset in students of all disciplines is foundational for an entrepreneurial economy.

The report suggests that the output of the new technology ecosystem should be a stream of technology start-ups that reach sustained profitability, including a significant proportion that do so at scale with consequential benefits in opportunity for our people, in job creation and in tax revenues.

Fiona Godsman continued: “In order to achieve this output we should recognise the importance of multidisciplinary start-up ventures – innovative ideas come from a wide range of disciplines and having that diversity of thinking is absolutely crucial in growing the flow of students into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Whilst technology and computing skills will be vital to economic recovery, we must pair such skills alongside others for Scotland to successfully achieve a robust economic recovery.

Across the nation through our universities and colleges, we already have access to budding entrepreneurs which is a result of the institutes taking a proactive approach to integrating innovative and enterprise thinking within the curriculum. This, in my opinion, is the stage that we need to capitalise on now and into which additional investment should be focused.”

By supporting education bodies and institutes across Scotland, SIE has enabled hundreds of students to accelerate start-up ventures including former Dundee University medical student, Chris McCann. His tech business, Current Health which provides a digital platform for medical staff to monitor patient health, was nurtured through the specialist support available collectively through SIE and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem, and has gone on to achieve remarkable success across the globe.

University of Strathclyde alumni, Rebecca Pick, founded Pick Protection which develops ground-breaking solutions for lone worker and employee protection and received support from SIE when starting her business.

Rebecca commented: “Scotland already has a fantastic range of resources, support and funding opportunities for entrepreneurs and students alike who have innovative ideas that need nurtured. There’s a pool of talent awaiting to be unlocked across the country and ensuring that even more students can access the existing range of support will accelerate our economic recovery.”

Many of the recommendations being put forward in the report are already underway in Scotland, particularly on the education front, so creating new platforms may not be necessary. Instead, SIE suggests that we should harness and amplify the progress that is already being made.

Fiona concluded: “Vital to enabling the technology ecosystem, as coined in the report, is working together with decision-makers, education bodies and importantly, students. The report shines a light on the potential we have here in Scotland to create a future-proofed economy and with the right investment, time and understanding as suggested within the recommendations, collectively we’ll deliver a strong economic recovery.”

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