SE chief: ‘I suffer from imposter syndrome’

Claudia Cavalluzzo and Steve Dunlop
Steve Dunlop with Claudia Cavalluzzo, director of Converge Challenge

Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, admitted to an audience of early-stage growth companies that he suffers from “imposter syndrome” but was determined to drive through his new agenda for the agency.

Outlining his plan to make Scottish Enterprise more “inclusive”, he said that the one issue that had emerged from briefings with staff was the fear of failure, which he shared.

“One reason for that is public criticism,” he told those attending the Converge Challenge dinner in Edinburgh. He set out his plan to put Scottish Enterprise at the centre of a restructured economy and said that “tomorrow is day one of being brave.”

Speaking in public for the first time since unveiling Scottish Enterprise’s new strategy, he explained how he had been a PE teacher and head of Scottish Canals but admitted that he questioned his own abilities.

“I have imposter syndrome. Canal man. School teacher. But I am going to give this a good go,” he said.

Last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also admitted to suffering from imposter syndrome, a condition which fills people with anxiety and doubts about their abilities.

Mr Dunlop told the gathering of young companies and investors at the Dovecot Studios that the strategy will mean reshaping its approach to international trade, its relationship with its GlobalScot network and how it gets firms ready for the new Scottish National Investment Bank to help fund them.

Fundamentally, Scottish Enterprise will reach out to those left behind, but who had much to offer, he said.

“We will not be focused just on high growth businesses, but how we create an economy that embraces inclusive growth. The ‘cold spots’ have to be addressed because the current model is not reaching them,” he said.

“I would like to democratise entrepreneurship. The kids in the north of Glasgow are as entrepreneurial as anyone else. They are just in the wrong economy.” 

See also

Nagging doubts? You may be suffering imposter syndrome

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