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Collaboration 'key' to scheme

Investors urged to back £25m digital fund

Steven Morris: presented case to investors (photo by Terry Murden)

Potential investors were told today that a £25m fund would help turn Stirling into a digital hub.

ESM Investments is collaborating with Stirling Council and other interested parties to launch what is described as one of the first funds of its kind involving private and public sector support.

Individual and corporate investors are being sought to invest in ‘between seven and 10’ early stage technology companies seeking to scale up their operations.

Those attending the presentation at the Codebase incubator in the city heard that the council sees the fund as a key component of its wider digital strategy to transform the local economy.

Council CEO Stewart Carruth told those attending the pre-launch of the ESM Capital Growth Enterprise Investment Scheme Fund that the authority saw it as a means to expand beyond traditional industries and create new opportunities in the area.

“We are creating the conditions for businesses to locate here,” he said, adding that he was very keen to push the collaborative aspect of the scheme.

“The power of collaboration is greater than one individual,” he said.

In response to one question he said it would be consciously inclusive and aim to improve diversity in the workplace. This was already being tackled through social inclusion programmes aimed at helping those in poorer areas and in ensuring there was a proper gender balance in the workforce.

“It is scandalous that there so few women in digital,” he said. “For me, it is about securing the future of all our young people. For us as  a council I think that is a fantastic objective to have.”


Danny Meaney: providing insight into target companies (photo by Terry Murden)

Steven Morris, CEO of ESM Investments, said 20% of the firm’s current portfolio are run by women. “We are conscious of this. It is on our radar big time.”

Danny Meaney, founder of the Up Accelerator, will be helping to provide a health check on the targeted companies.

He explained that the 100 day accelerator programme will give insight and due diligence, designed to uncover exceptional companies, giving greater level of certainty to the fund.

See also:

Interview with Stewart Carruth and Steven Morris



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