I read in Forbes this week that a recent study by Octopus Group found that high-growth small businesses (HGSBs) create 20% of jobs and add 22% of GVA, driving increased productivity. Interestingly, the report also revealed that HGSBs are significantly more productive than their larger counterparts – creating an additional two months of economic output every year compared to the average UK business.

For those of us working within the Scottish start-up scene, it seems incredible that it’s only now we’ve seen the launch of the first Scottish Tech Start up Awards. Brian Corcoran and the Turning Fest team should be proud of this great initiative to bring together the Scottish Tech community and provide a chance to celebrate the success of those high-growth tech-based businesses driving the future economy of Scotland.

The exponential growth of the tech scene in Scotland over the last decade has been well documented. Scotland’s technology sector consists of over 1500 companies, our universities produce thousands of high-class graduates in associated disciplines every year, and yet salary costs remain competitive. Edinburgh was recently named the UK’s top city for start-ups and attracts more foreign investment than any other tech cluster in the UK, outside London – according to Tech Nation it has 92% growth potential.

Little wonder then that the caliber of award nominees was outstanding and included names from across the Scottish tech scene. From a TalentSpark perspective it’s always great to see companies you’ve helped to grow being recognised and last night was no exception.  ADV must have been delighted to see two of their recent investments – CareSourcer and Snap40 – walk away with the awards for best B2C and B2B companies of the year.

Snap40 was a double winner as took home ‘Start-up of Year’. Having worked with early stage life science companies for many years I’ve watched Chris McCann and his co-founder Stewart Whiting’s progress as they’ve developed their initial idea into a viable product – one that secured $8million in July this year in a seed round. Few could argue that a wearable device that monitors the human body with accuracy equivalent to intensive care unit monitoring didn’t meet the judge’s criteria of growth, impact and innovation!

The winner of ‘Scale Up of the Year’ was Nucleus Financial. The company is creating a platform which allows financial advisors to develop tailored solutions for clients, providing greater control over investment strategy and business. Their latest financial records recorded operating profit of £5.1m, a 19% increase on the previous year. David Ferguson’s team has made some senior appointments this year, suggesting further commitment to continue their growth trajectory after floating on the AIM market in July with a market capitalisation of nearly £140 million.

I’m sure the Fintech Scotland team was delighted to see the accolade of ‘CEO of the Year’ go to another Scottish fintech leader, Ed Molyneux. Ed shared the FreeAgent growth story at the recent Start up Summit earlier this year – a classic tale from Codebase roots to listing on the growth markets.

I was personally delighted to see the ArchAngel team – Niki, Sarah and David – recognised as ‘Investor of the Year’. As the longest standing angel syndicate supporter of the Scottish tech scene, their role in establishing Scotland as a great place to grow a tech business cannot be denied and we’re delighted to count so many of their portfolio companies as TalentSpark clients.

With a population of just over five million people, Scotland isn’t massive –London alone has almost three million more residents – but Scotland has produced more than its fair share of innovators over the centuries. It’s great to have so much to celebrate about the growing tech base in Scotland and to see our country continue to punch above its weight in delivering strong, sustainable businesses.


*HGSBs are defined as companies with more than 20 per cent average annual growth over three years, and between £1m and £20m of annual turnover.

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