A fresh influx of cash for a fund designed to support the Scottish tech ecosystem to flourish has been announced by the Scottish Government.
The second phase of the Tech Ecosystem Fund will arrive later this summer for projects helping startups grow and succeed through learning from each other.
The fund – which launched its first phase in October – is a key recommendation from former Skyscanner executive Mark Logan’s Scottish Tech Ecosystem Review (STER)
Economy secretary Kate Forbes said: “The Tech Ecosystem Fund is adding to the growing sense of momentum building around our efforts to make Scotland one of Europe’s leading startup nations, as part of our national strategy to transform the economy, scale up businesses and boost productivity.
“In the last year, the Fund has given money to more than 30 different projects to foster a greater sense of community, at home and internationally, amongst our entrepreneurial talent.
“The second round of grants from the Tech Ecosystem Fund will build on that progress by creating valuable opportunities for key players to come together, connect and exchange ideas.”
Since it was established in October, the Ecosystem Fund has made awards to deliver meet-ups, events and other projects. Applicants could apply for funding between £1,000 and £50,000.
Successful initiatives include the first inaugural Glasgow Tech Fest, which took place earlier this month. The fund also supported a programme which saw a cohort of 20 Scottish tech entrepreneurs fly to Silicon Valley in April to take part in a programme of activities based around the Startup Grind Global Conference
Helena Murphy, managing partner of fundraising-focused company Raising Partners, was a successful applicant from the first phase of funding.
She said that the Tech Ecosystem Fund marks a “tipping point” for the entrepreneurial ecosystem, enabling Scottish tech businesses to “compete on the world-stage”.
Support from the fund allowed her firm to host its first tech investor conference earlier this month in Glasgow, with the goal of advancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem through access to capital.
She said: “The event, hosted in person and online, had over 300 attendees and saw us bring together tier one venture capital investors, including Octopus Ventures, Fuel Ventures, Earth Capital and Speed Invest, and tech entrepreneurs for a day of keynote talks, practical workshops and interactive panel sessions to improve the skills needed to attract investment, create the vital networks which lead to new opportunities and learn from successful entrepreneurs who navigated from start-up to scale-up and successful exit.
“Until now there have been very few opportunities for entrepreneurs from all walks of life to access the best support and advice if you don’t have the personal network or cash to pay for it – the Tech Ecosystem Fund marks the start of levelling the playing field as we move toward a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem that creates wealth and prosperity for the whole country.”
Gillian Fleming, chief executive of Mint Ventures, said that support from the fund allowed the women-led angel investment club to deliver an initial regional education programme to help women understand what is involved in becoming an angel investor.
Speaking about the impact of the funding, she said: “Crucially it allowed us to collaborate within the ecosystem and develop new networks, connecting potential angel investors with socially, ethically or environmentally responsible business start-ups looking for funding.
“Our mission is to democratise angel investing and make it more accessible to women from all walks of life. By doing this, we will not only empower women to make their own investment decisions, we will also unlock more early-stage equity investment, especially for women-led businesses which have for too long been under-represented and under-funded.”