Forbes confirms £45m plan to build tech nation
Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has confirmed that she will provide £45 million to back the recommendations of the Logan Review into building a technology nation.
A programme of action already in motion includes five tech scaler hubs with the potential to create 300 startups, alongside a £1m ecosystem fund to support meet-ups and events. A similar sum will be invested in teaching computing science and £1.5m committed to re-skilling workers.
A chief entrepreneur officer will also soon be appointed to help ensure that entrepreneurship ambitions are embedded in policy development.
The locations and contractor of the tech scalers are expected to be confirmed in the coming months. The Ecosystem Fund was set up in October and has made 34 awards to deliver meet ups, events and other projects.
The Scottish Government, together with a local authority, will launch a teacher upskilling pilot scheme.
The £1 million Digital Start Fund supports people on benefits or low income to undertake courses which could lead to a well-paid career in tech. A further £500,000 has been invested in Digital Skills Pipeline; a set of modular courses from beginner level to advanced coding.
Together with the University of Glasgow, the Scottish Government has established the Scottish Teachers Advancing Computing Science organisation. It is led by two teachers and will drive improvements.
In a parliamentary statement, Ms Forbes said: “The Scottish Government is committed to the most radical reforms of the Scottish entrepreneurial system since devolution. Our ambition is to establish Scotland as one of Europe’s leading start-up economies.
“These game changing tech scalers will deliver one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive state-funded environments in Europe for the creation and growth of start-ups.
“Tech scalers will put Scotland on the global start-up map and we will promote their services relentlessly to attract the world’s best talent to scale up their businesses in Scotland.
“A key ambition in our strategy to transform the economy is to help establish Scotland as a world-class entrepreneurial country, founded on a culture that encourages, promotes and celebrates entrepreneurial activity.”
Mark Logan, a former executive at the travel search engine company Skyscanner, was commissioned to set out a plan to build a technology nation.
He said: “These coordinated initiatives are part of the most significant strategic investment in Scotland’s high-technology industry ever seen in Scotland.
“Together, they create the perfect environment for starting and scaling technology-based businesses, with the many opportunities for our people that will result from that. It’s a very exciting time for the sector.”
Karen Meechan, CEO of ScotlandIS, described the announcement as a further step-change in the Scottish Government’s support to grow the nation’s tech ecosystem.
“The investment in new teachers and reskilling is particularly welcome given the recruitment challenges that many are facing in the sector.
“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver these proposals as soon as practical.”
Sainsbury’s partners Fintech Scotland
FinTech Scotland has announced that Edinburgh-based Sainsbury’’s Bank is joining its group of strategic partners.
It will enable the supermarket bank to collaborate with innovative leaders in technology, helping to shape customer services.
Sainsbury’s Bank will help progress the actions from the FinTech Research & Innovation Roadmap published by FinTech Scotland in March.
More specifically the bank will participate in projects around everyday personal banking and SME banking.