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Growing specialism

Edinburgh takes global lead in emerging cleantech investment

Michael Groves Topolytics

Waste management company Topolytics is among the capital’s cleantech companies

Edinburgh is the world’s top destination for investment in environmentally-friendly technology, or cleantech – highlighting a growing tech specialism in Scotland.

The sector embraces biofuels, fuel cells, solar, water remediation, and renewable power generation.

The emergence of cleantech as a growing Scottish industry is one of the findings in Tech Nation’s latest annual state-of-the-nation analysis. It also revealed that the UK is the fourth in the world for scale-up investment, and shows that Edinburgh is in the top 15 of UK cities that has benefited from scale-up tech investment.

On current and forecast investment the technology sector in Edinburgh has been twinned with Herzliya in Israel and Strasbourg in France.

Glasgow has been twinned with Sofia in Bulgaria and Montreuil in France, and Dundee with Buenos Aires in Argentina and Boulder in Colorado – highlighting synergies between the tech communities.  

The findings from Tech Nation’s, ‘UK tech on the global stage’ report will be discussed at ten major cities across the UK in nine weeks, supported by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

Tech Nation used the roadshow to present the findings of the report in the context of Scotland which has 9,045 digital tech businesses, employs around 58,000 people and a combined turnover of 3.86 billion.

It’s great to see Edinburgh getting a significant percentage of the scale-up investment

– Ross Stupart

Liz Scott, head of entrepreneur engagement at Tech Nation, said: “The nation is truly delivering on its tech promise, and fast-becoming one of the strongest tech economies in the world. It was great to share our findings with leading tech business in Edinburgh to discuss what this means for Scotland.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell commented: “This report shows Scottish expertise – backed by UK Government funding – provides the perfect environment for companies to flourish here. We are at the forefront in pushing the boundaries in areas such as artificial intelligence, big data, cyber security, fintech and gaming and the UK Government will continue to champion the digital tech sector and support its growth.”

Ross Stupart, partner and RSM’s head of Technology and Media in Scotland, added: “The findings of Tech Nation’s latest report make for some encouraging reading for the regional technology sector. Whilst we cannot deny that this sector, like any other, is not impervious to the political and economic headwinds, its growing strength is demonstrating its importance to the future growth of the UK in a global context.

“And it’s great to see Edinburgh getting a significant percentage of the scale-up investment, despite competition from other global tech hubs; and significant growth in budding industries such as Cleantech.

“It also illustrates that UK clusters like Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are contributing to the government’s ambition, as set out in its Industrial Strategy, to become the world’s leading hub for tech by 2030.”

Seminars are taking place in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Reading.

At each session Tech Nation’s entrepreneur engagement managers present an introduction to the report findings and a local deep-dive into the findings and implications specific to the local region. This is followed by a panel session made up of local tech business founders, investors, professionals and local authority representatives, and ends with a Q&A session and networking. 

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