Plan for growth

Logan calls for ‘tech-scalers’ to help fuel recovery

Mark Logan

Mark Logan: collaboration

Former Skyscanner executive Mark Logan is recommending Scotland creates a nationwide network of “Tech-Scaler centres”, incubation facilities that would help support growth of the technology sector.

In a new report, commissioned by the government, he recommends they are set up in six cities nationwide, probably Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling and Inverness.

They would provides long-term, affordable, high-quality incubation space and a valuable network-building and education resource.

The idea forms a key part of his report for Finance Secretary Kate Forbes who commissioned Mr Logan in May to advise on how technology can put Scotland back on the road to growth.

Mr Logan, who helped the flight comparison site Skyscanner gain a market value of over $1.5 billion during his time as chief operating officer, has made 34 recommendations which also include establishing a new fund to make strategic investments in the Scottish tech sector, assigning key performance indicators on university spin-outs and subsidising the conference sector to raise the profile of the sector with investors.

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He says that apart from notable successes the country is not yet producing enough new digital start-ups to reaching the “tipping point” where the whole marketplace becomes self-sustaining.

He calls for a cross-sector and collaborative approach and makes particular recommendations on education, saying “we should treat Computing Science likes Maths or Physics at secondary school level.. change of this kind is necessary if we are serious about Scotland’s future in the global technology arena.”

Universities should be assigned a key performance indicator to increase the number of locally-resident Software Engineering/Computing Science graduates, and to increase both the number and quality of spin-outs.

The report recommends that Codeclan, the re-skilling academy, is set a target to triple its annual number of graduates, to be implemented over a 24-month period and that the organisation is part-funded by government to support this expansion using the Foundational Talent Fund.

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