Scotland needs to adopt a ‘Team approach’ as entrepreneur numbers rise

Abound, a British technology-driven lending firm, has successfully raised £800 million in its latest funding round, with support from investors including Scottish billionaire Sir Tom Hunter.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 survey found a “Team Scotland” approach was needed to raise and meet entrepreneurs’ aspirations.

The survey also indicated that total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) in Scotland rose last year.

It said activity matched the average for 20 innovation-driven economies.

The research, undertaken by the University of Strathclyde, also suggested that TEA exceeded the average for “arc of prosperity” countries which include Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Norway.

The survey found that attitudes towards entrepreneurship among young adults had recovered to levels seen before the economic downturn.

The report’s author said the findings highlighted the need to “turn quantity into quality” before highly qualified entrepreneurs abandoned small-scale businesses for a full-time job.

Prof Jonathan Levie, from the University’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, said the increase in entrepreneurial activity in Scotland was an encouraging sign.

“However, it is mainly due to a jump in low aspiration start-up activity by graduates and we need a ‘Team Scotland’ approach to both raise and fulfil aspirations,” he said.

Sir Tom Hunter believes the entrepreneurial support network is finally being integrated in Scotland

“As a result of the financial crisis, more highly-qualified people have started businesses.

“Many of these individuals would not ordinarily have considered this option.”

Prof Levie added: “The challenge now, as the UK economy recovers, is to encourage them to grow their business and not abandon it for a full-time job outside Scotland.”

Sir Tom Hunter, who endowed the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde, said Scotland had seen a steady rise in its TEA rate over the past three years but still lagged behind the UK as a whole.

He added: “Ultimately it seems we need to continue the cultural shift towards enabling our people to recognise entrepreneurialism as a real career option.

“We are in the teeth of a recession but when I started out in a similar recession there was very little by way of support.

“Today it’s different and I really do believe that we are finally integrating the support network for aspiring entrepreneurs.”

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report analyses entrepreneurial attitudes, activity and aspirations as well as the factors that underpin them.