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Firms 'must remain agile'

Entrepreneurs urged to ignore instability

jim-duffy-portraitScottish entrepreneurs have been urged to ignore the extraordinary political events engulfing the world and focus on building their businesses. 

Jim Duffy, who founded the accelerator programme Entrepreneurial Spark in 2011, said it is not good enough for businesses to use Brexit, Trump and currency fluctuations as excuses for not doing enough to plan for expansion.

With potentially years of economic instability ahead, he said it is critical that businesses remain agile and adapt to market conditions.

Mr Duffy, speaking ahead of a gathering of business leaders in Edinburgh tonight, said: “Brexit is now under way – it’s happening and Donald Trump getting the keys to the nuclear codes has sent the markets crazy – for now. Everything has changed yet everything remains the same.

“Scottish businesses which are complaining about these changes and hedging their bets may be using these events as an excuse.  It’s not time to hunker down and batten down the hatches. 

“The Bank of Scotland yesterday released figures stating that more than 500,000 adults in Scotland expect to start their own business.  We are known for start-ups, but have not hit the jackpot yet in our scale-up mentality.

“It’s time for Scottish businesses to stop looking externally for excuses to justify a lack of growth or investment. I want to see a more upbeat message from our economic development agencies.  Let’s stop staring at our navels.

“We’re conditioned as a nation to be cautious and it’s time for us to think bigger.  It’s a mindset and it is just as relevant at start-up stage as it is when scaling up.”

He added: “I talk to investors and entrepreneurs across the UK every day and I can tell you the money is out there to help enterprises grow. All it takes is hard work and willingness for massive action.  But investors want to see appetite for scale.

“There are always opportunities, even in adversity. Scottish businesses need to adapt and grow, no matter who is in the White House or what international regimes we are a part of.”

Mr Duffy was quick to acknowledge the contribution made by Scottish ministers in helping foster an entrepreneurial culture. 

“The Scottish Government as far as I can see has its eye on the ball,” he said.

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