Scottish Enterprise has provided targeted support to 231 entrepreneurs leading early stage companies to increase their ambition, competitiveness and capacity for internationalisation.
The figure exceeds its first year target (130-180) of a three-year plan designed to provide high growth early stage companies in Scotland* with targeted training and support to give them the best chance for creating internationally competitive ventures. Over three years, Scottish Enterprise aims to assist 550-700 entrepreneurs in total.
To deliver on its objective of helping more companies in Scotland scale up and positively impact the economy, Scottish Enterprise provides tailored support aimed at different aspects of early stage company growth, from advice on commercialising ideas to growth funding and business management.
Help from Scottish Enterprise includes its High Growth Spinout and Start-Up programmes, as well as partnerships with other organisations and Scottish universities on initiatives such as the Engage Invest Exploit investor showcase.
Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spinout Programme supports the transition of pre-commercial leading-edge technologies, emerging from Scotland’s universities, research institutes and NHS Boards, into high growth companies with secured investment. Entry criteria include a demonstrable market opportunity for the new technology, a team with a clear plan for commercialisation, a path to ownership of intellectual property rights and realistic project costs. Successful applications receive bespoke business mentoring and advice, funding and ongoing entrepreneurship training.
Recent examples of companies created through this support include Mironid, which recently completed an initial £4.3m Series A investment, and SIRAKOSS Limited, which has secured a series of patents in key international markets after its own successful Series A funding round of £3.1m.
The High Growth Start-Up programme helps growth entrepreneurs to create and develop new businesses which have the potential to achieve significant revenues (£5m) or external investment (£10m) within 5 years. It only works with businesses which meet its eligibility criteria after a rigorous assessment and evaluation of the business opportunity. It primarily focuses on companies working in the Energy, Technology and Engineering, Life Sciences and Chemicals and Digital sectors, but which often play into other sectors.
David Hunter, inventor and Managing Director of Shot Scope, a wearable golf game analytics tool, said that Scottish Enterprise support has been fundamental to his company’s successful launch of a brand new product. He said: “Without Scottish Enterprise support we wouldn’t be in the position we are today, having designed, manufactured and now launched a brand new wearable technology which will help golfers the world over improve their games.
“The support we’ve received has ranged from an initial SMART SCOTLAND grant to assistance with setting up a manufacturing facility in Scotland, guidance on business management, and an invitation to last year’s PGA Merchandise Show where we were able to introduce Shot Scope to various international markets.
“For entrepreneurs with the drive to make their ideas a reality, Scottish Enterprise can provide the advice and support at an early stage. This makes all the difference to a small company with big ambitions.”
East Coast Oil & Gas (EC-OG) operates in the oil and gas sector, having built an excellent track record in subsea intervention engineering services since 2013. EC-OG has designed and patented the Subsea Power Hub (SPH), a world-first renewable energy source. Still in its pre-commercialisation stage, it has worked closely with Scottish Enterprise to develop its commercial strategy.
Managing Director of EC-OG Richard Knox said: “The support available for start-up businesses in Scotland is tremendous, from Business Gateway through to Scottish Enterprise and various other initiatives. I’m often told by company leaders from other countries that they wish they could enjoy the same infrastructure that we have here, and I can only agree with them.
EC-OG is currently manufacturing its first prototypes of the SPH, offering it to the market in the following year, if not before.
Richard Knox continued: “Scottish Enterprise ‘got’ our concept from the beginning and provided real assistance and expertise around both oil and gas sector considerations and business development. This helped us take a step back and re-assess our business plan to make it more resilient, sustainable and ultimately more commercial.
“Having Scottish Enterprise to guide and support us has helped us to accelerate our initial timetable and expand our ambition to the point where we’re now looking at ourselves as a global business. We’ve worked hard to make our vision a reality, and we are very excited to bring this new product to market.”
Angela Scott is Chief Operating Officer of TC Biopharm which has worked with Scottish Enterprise since its inception. She said: “We approached Scottish Enterprise once we had a solid business plan for some assistance and advice on where to get funding. It responded by connecting us with the right partners and resources to get funding and find a suitable location to set-up. It also supported us with in-depth discussion and tailored advice on the best way to harness our ideas and the opportunities they present.
“In a few short years we have gone from a small founding team to 35 staff, based in cutting-edge facilities at Eurocentral, and with a very healthy pipeline of new products and commercial partnership opportunities both here and internationally. We could not have done this as effectively, or as quickly, without Scottish Enterprise’s helpful and proactive support.”
Eleanor Mitchell, High Growth Ventures Director at Scottish Enterprise said: “Companies like Shot Scope, East Coast Oil and Gas, Mironid, SIRAKOSS and TC Biopharm are perfect examples of many commercially viable, innovative and passionate companies looking to do great things in and beyond Scotland.
“It is so important to equip our early stage entrepreneurs from the beginning to think big and approach their ideas strategically, so that they have the best chance of success. By focussing entrepreneurship support at the crucial earlier stages of growth, we will help more companies develop sustainably, yet at pace, which will have a positive impact on the economy.”