Help Starting A Business – The Scottish Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Everyone needs a bit of help starting a business. Even the Skyscanners and FanDuels of this world got some support on their way. Thankfully there is a wealth of support organisations in Scotland providing help and advice to entrepreneurs and business founders.
Let’s take a look at some of the major players in the startup ecosystem and consider the services and programmes they provide.
Scottish Institute for Enterprise
Scottish Institute for Enterprise is publicly funded to inspire students; helping them to develop enterprise skills, discover their entrepreneurial talent and start up their own ventures.
Complementing institutional enterprise activities with focused activities, competitions and events, SIE’s range of activities caters for all students (across all degree subjects) – from those with no experience of enterprise at all, to business-minded teams who are ready to launch.
Converge Challenge is for staff, students, and recent graduates of Scottish Universities and Research Institutes. A pan-Scotland company creation competition and entrepreneurship development programme, Converge brings together the most ambitious and creative thinkers from academia, research & business; creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland.
Converge Challenge provides students and staff of all Scottish Higher Education Institutes with practical commercial skills enabling them to bring to market novel products and services.
With a prize fund of £150,000 alongside great networking opportunities and a comprehensive support and training package, the programme is divided into three categories – Converge Challenge (for spin outs and startups looking to incorporate within the next 12 months) , KickStart (supporting an early-stage idea that may require a prototype, to secure IP rights or develop a brand) and Social Enterprise.
Most of Scotland’s most entrepreneurial companies will have had help starting a business from Scottish Enterprise at some point in their journey.
High growth businesses are invariably supported by a SMART award in the early stages. A feasibility study is carried out in the R&D phase to see if the new product or process will work in the real world. A Smart award can support up to 70% of the eligible costs for an early stage company, up to a maximum of £100,000.
Scottish Enterprise is able to provide a mass of information and has a magnitude of experience – including help in attracting investment, manufacturing, exporting, developing new products and services, licensing technology, embracing business efficiencies and leadership and team development.
For many companies their first step to engaging with Scottish Enterprise will be through Business Gateway. Business Gateway is a free business support services providing assistance and impartial advice to people starting or growing their business. The programme includes online support (with practical information and useful guides) and a range of fully funded local workshops and events held throughout Scotland. Their team provides information and support on all aspects of starting and growing a business and act as a funnel for more high tech businesses that may require the additional support of Scottish Enterprise’s specialist High Growth Team.
Scottish Investment Bank
Securing growth capital is critical to the success of High Growth businesses. Scottish Investment Bank aims to increase the supply of finance by stimulating deal flow in Scotland and assisting Scottish SMEs with growth and export potential to access it. The Financial Readiness Programme, assists businesses by establishing growth funding requirements, identifying the most appropriate forms of funding to support successful growth and assisting the development of an attractive investment proposition.
Supported by the Scottish Government and Royal Bank of Scotland, Scottish EDGE is a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent.
The competition is open to entrepreneurs operating new small businesses in Scotland that have the potential to achieve or increase sales by £200,000 within a period of three years. Providing prize funding of up to £150,000 the competition works across four different categories – Scottish Edge, Young Edge, Wild Card edge and Higgs EDGE (a special technology award aimed at entrepreneurs who have an engineering, science or technology based business, scalable and capable of globalisation).
Connecting, Educating and Supporting Scotland’s technology entrepreneurs, Informatics Ventures provides targeted programmes to equip Scotland’s entrepreneurs with the skills to develop their business; access to the growth network and a platform to showcase their ideas to future investors, partners and customers; to grow globally.
Informatics Ventures’ flagship event, Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) is the UK’s premier technology investor showcase offering investment opportunities in Life Sciences, ICT & Energy high growth potential companies.
Scotland’s buoyant community of Business Angels is recognised as amongst the most developed in Europe. LINC Scotland is the national association for business angels in Scotland and assists young businesses with targeted introductions to well matched business angels.
Scotland is also home to a unique range of Entrepreneurial hubs, bringing together innovative companies and individuals in an ecosystem of peer support – Codebase, Entrepreneurial Spark, Medicity/BioCity , Elevator and many of the University Incubators offer business support services to help young companies to refine their business proposition and commercial viability, clustering like-minded organisations together to learn from each other.
Nation of Innovators
Scotland has long been celebrated as a nation of innovators. At the core of every new business success is the team driving innovative and new ideas – and their ability to find the right business support, to refine their proposition, attract investment and create jobs. Getting the right team into innovative businesses was the driving force that led Eden Scott to develop TalentSpark.
TalentSpark is a unique talent acquisition service designed to help exciting, innovative businesses in their quest to find the right people, at the right time for the right role. We provide recruitment advice and support for a wide range of technical and high growth businesses, helping them find experienced Non Exec Directors, strong Management teams and dedicated staff to drive business growth.
Check out some of the exciting businesses we’re already working with – and then get in touch to see how we can help you realise your business ambitions.