Scottish tech leaders confident of rapid growth

Health tech businesses are growing

Most tech industry leaders in Scotland are confident that the sector will ‘grow rapidly’ in the next five years.

UKTN canvassed 72 key players of whom 79% agreed that the sector looks set for growth during the next five years.

Despite pressures in the wider economy a similar number (76%) feel that Scotland has become ‘more attractive’ to start a tech firm in the past five years.

A total of 86% said there were advantages to setting up and running their firms in the country.

Amy Burnett of survey sponsor KPMG, said the survey showed Scotland is “a hotbed for the industry, is open to investment and poised for significant growth in the coming years.”

The report ranked fintech as a strength for Scotland followed closely by health tech, with climate tech and deep tech cited as emerging specialisms.

A third of respondents highlighted the ability to secure funding as the main challenge in the sector. Other concerns included the availability of skilled staff.

More support for entrepreneurs was cited as the most popular factor that could drive tech growth, with many respondents raising concerns about a mismatch between the skills required in the tech sector and the educational curriculum in schools and colleges, calling for initiatives to reform educational curriculums to meet skills gaps.

Respondents feel that attracting more global tech businesses to Scotland could encourage more strategic partnerships across the tech sector and foster innovation, while encouraging growing businesses to stay in Scotland.

Ms Burnett added: “The tech industry is growing at one and a half times the overall economy; it now includes close to 15,000 firms and 400,000 employees. Covering all areas from net zero to clean tech, the scale is wide, the scope epic and the possibilities endless.

Amy Burnett
Amy Burnett: the tech ecosytem is flourishing

“The tech ecosystem has flourished in recent years, and as a result Scotland is really putting itself on the global map. So much so that it is now a vital contributor to the health and wellbeing of our economy.”

Of the survey respondents, more than half (56%) worked in or near Edinburgh, 25% worked in or near Glasgow and the rest were split across Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling, Dumfries and Inverness.

The majority of respondents (58%) were tech company founders or owners, and respondents otherwise represented business support organisations, service providers, investors, tech event organisers and academics.

Oscar Hornstein, senior reporter at UKTN, said: “Despite the nation’s history of excellence in science and technology, it has yet to establish the kind of reputation as a tech hub already seen in places like London.

“The pieces, however, are all there for Scottish tech to go from strength to strength, with world-class research and educational institutions nurturing new generations of talent and growing support from local government and industry bodies like fintech Scotland.”

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