Ministers are to plough an additional £5 million into ‘end-to-end’ support for Scots startups, it was announced today.

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes said the funding forms part of the ‘next steps’ in providing one of the best government-backed support networks for startups in Europe.

Ms Forbes unveiled the new measures during a visit to the National Robotarium, Heriot-Watt university’s world-leading robotics and AI research centre in Edinburgh.

In addition, she said that the Scottish Government’s flagship tech education and mentorship programme, Techscaler, will partner with business funding competition Scottish EDGE.

She said: “Innovation is at the very heart of our economy. We have the talent, the skills and the facilities to make Scotland one of Europe’s fastest-growing start-up economies: an economy that is strong, successful and dynamic.

“This package of measures, which builds on the multi-million investment the Scottish Government is already making into our start-up business community, forms the next step in providing one of the most comprehensive government-backed support networks in Europe.

“The partnership between Codebase and Scottish EDGE also underlines our joined-up approach to fostering and nurturing Scotland’s young and vibrant business community. My message to Scotland’s innovators, entrepreneurs and disruptors is simple but clear: this Government believes in you and we will back you.”

The £5 million package is in line with the recommendations of the Logan report of developing a world-class technology sector, and the Pathways report which is focused on expanding the number of women starting and scaling-up businesses.

The package includes:

  • funding to expand the business funding competition Scottish EDGE, helping broaden and tailor the range of financial support available to fledgling businesses
  • the development of pre-start support, aimed at stimulating the earliest stages of business creation and product development for under-represented groups.
  • support to maximise the economic impact of university spin-out companies, and commercialise research
  • investing in initiatives that will attract the world’s top talent and showcase Scotland as a global destination for start-up founders and investors.

Sir Tom Hunter, founder of the Hunter Foundation, said: “Scottish EDGE is a proven, world-class model of delivering finance to potential high growth early stage businesses and that has been independently verified.

“I am delighted the Deputy First Minister has recognised that and added significant additional resource to Scottish EDGE. When business and government come together as they do in financing Scottish EDGE it can drive real economic growth by building the pipeline of entrepreneurial businesses, employment and the taxes that pay for public services.”

Ana Stewart, entrepreneur, investor and author of the Pathways report on under-representation of women in entrepreneurship, said: “This  is a meaningful step forward in tackling the extreme gender imbalance which currently exists in entrepreneurship. I look forward to engaging and supporting the government and other partners in enacting change whilst building on the existing momentum created since the publication of the Pathways report.

“Change will not happen overnight so I am also encouraged to see the adoption of a more strategic approach with a multi-year investment – a critical component if we are to tackle these persistent challenges.”