Report calls for action plan over Scottish start-ups

Sir Tom Hunter Sir Tom Hunter says Scotland needs to drive more economic development

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Action is needed to prevent another "lost generation" of Scottish entrepreneurs, a report has concluded.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) said there was a lower level of company start-up activities for people in their 30s than in the rest of the UK.

The report said universal provision of training in starting a business in colleges and universities was needed.

The monitor was compiled by Strathclyde University's Business School.

Scotland's annual GEM report said young entrepreneurs in Scotland were relying on their family for both financial assistance and advice, with 25% seeking funding from close family and 14% from other relatives.

The monitor has proposed a "comprehensive" action plan to address the rising level of disinterest in entrepreneurship.

It also called on the Scottish government to look at enterprise policy "in an integrated way" and fill the gap in third-level education.

Report's key findings

  • 43% of working age adults in Scotland who thought there were good opportunities for starting a business agreed that fear of failure would stop them from doing so.
  • Scotland's Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate was unchanged at 3.7% - significantly lower than the UK rate of 5.6%.
  • 56% of young (18-29) early-stage entrepreneurs surveyed between 2003 and 2010 thought there were adequate sources of start-up finance compared to 46% in England, 35% in Northern Ireland and 30% in Wales.

Report author Dr Jonathan Levie, of Strathclyde University's Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, said a gap in total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) for people in their 30s was in stark contrast to the trend for the rest of the UK.

He said: "We cannot recover this lost generation, but we can help prevent another through universal provision of training in starting a business in colleges and universities.

"If we do not, much of Scotland's investment in enterprise education in our schools could be wasted."

Sir Tom Hunter, who endowed the centre, said Scotland needed to drive more economic development, both corporately and entrepreneurially.

He continued: "If we do not drive a definitive strategy to do so - that includes a supportive tax regime, fiscal policies that drive growth and ground level support for start-ups - we will be an economy destined for reverse gear.

"Our new government should take a fresh look at enterprise policy across all the environments through which our young people travel - including further, as well as higher, education.

"Scotland has led the world in the past - it's time for it to lead again for our national future."

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