Report reveals increase in entrepreneurial activity in Scotland

Some good news at last! Entrepreneurial activity in Scotland has increased over the past two years, with attitudes towards entrepreneurship among young adults recovered to the levels reached prior to the economic downturn.

According to The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2012 the Scottish estimate for total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) has matched the average for 20 innovation-driven economies and exceeded the average for Arc of Prosperity countries (Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Norway) for the first time in the GEM series.

The report’s author, Professor Jonathan Levie of the University’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, said: “The increase in entrepreneurial activity in Scotland over the last two years is 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 fulfill aspirations.

“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. 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.”

The findings highlight the need to take advantage of the growth in activity and turn quantity into quality before highly qualified entrepreneurs abandon small-scale businesses for a full-time job. The report also found that attitudes towards entrepreneurship among young adults have recovered to the levels reached prior to the economic downturn.

Scotland needs a unified approach to entrepreneurship to capitalise on an increase in the number of people starting their own business, according to Professor Levie.

True to our mission, the Exchange is already working towards that unified approach and continues to encourage, promote and celebrate entrepreneurship, growth and wealth creation in Scotland and lead the drive to make Scotland a more entrepreneurial and confident society for the benefit of all. Our original ecosystem map has been further developed and we have continued to work with key stakeholders to inform the Scottish Government of the journey that an ambitious young entrepreneur in Scotland would take, and the support that is available at each stage.

In particular, the Exchange is committed to working closely with all partner organisations to support ambitious young entrepreneurs. Mentors from within the Exchange membership will support growth aspirations and guide them through their entrepreneurial journey.

Sir Tom Hunter said: “In a matter of three years we’ve moved from being in the fourth quartile of TEA rates up to the second quartile and our TEA rates now exceed the average of the Arc of Prosperity countries – the Premiership beckons! Well, maybe – we still lag the UK rate.

“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.

An entrepreneurial Scotland can’t be achieved by Government, nor our educationalists nor our businessmen and women on their own. It takes all of us together to achieve that.”

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