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Scottish Tech Sector Poised for Rapid Growth, Industry Leaders Predict

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LONDON (Bywire News) – In an exciting update from industry leaders, nearly 80% of tech bosses in Scotland have expressed confidence that the sector is set to experience rapid growth over the next five years. The findings, revealed in a UKTN report sponsored by KPMG, provide an inside view of Scotland’s tech industry, showcasing the experiences of those at the helm of tech companies and support organisations.

The report, which surveyed 72 key players in the Scottish tech landscape, found that 76% of respondents believe Scotland has become a more attractive location to launch a tech firm in the past five years. Furthermore, an overwhelming 86% said they would encourage similar firms to set up shop in Scotland, with 80% emphasising the advantages they had experienced while establishing and running their businesses in the region.

Amy Burnett, Emerging Giants lead for Scotland at KPMG in the UK, commented on the report’s findings, stating, “It is great to read such positive noise from business leaders when it comes to the tech industry in Scotland. What the results of this report show are that the region is clearly a hotbed for the industry, is open to investment and poised for significant growth in the coming years.”

The report identified fintech as a particular strength for Scotland, closely followed by health tech, with climate tech and deep tech cited as emerging specialisms. However, tech leaders also highlighted the ability to secure funding and hiring the right talent as the main challenges facing the sector. Almost a third of respondents reported personally experiencing difficulties in securing funding for their businesses.

To drive tech growth, respondents called for more support for entrepreneurs and initiatives to reform educational curricula to address the mismatch between the skills required in the tech sector and those currently taught in schools and colleges. Attracting more global tech businesses to Scotland was also seen as a potential catalyst for fostering strategic partnerships, encouraging innovation, and incentivising growing businesses to remain in the country.

Burnett emphasised the tech industry’s vital role in the Scottish economy, stating, “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. 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.”

The survey respondents represented a diverse geographical spread, with more than half (56%) working in or near Edinburgh, 25% in or near Glasgow, and the remainder split across Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling, Dumfries, and Inverness. The majority of respondents (58%) were tech company founders or owners, with others representing business support organisations, service providers, investors, tech event organisers, and academics.

Oscar Hornstein, senior reporter at UKTN, highlighted Scotland’s rich history of innovation and the potential for the nation to establish itself as a global tech hub. Despite challenges such as access to funding, limited facilities, and the need to build a global reputation, Hornstein believes that stronger government support, increased global networking efforts, and a focus on attracting diverse talent could help Scottish tech “leap over those hurdles and cement its place as a European tech powerhouse.”

The report also revealed that there are 8,680 Scottish registered tech businesses, with tech startups enjoying a combined value of £16.6 billion. In 2023 alone, startups in the tech industry secured £343 million in venture capital investment, further underlining the sector’s growing prominence and potential.

As Scotland’s tech ecosystem continues to thrive, industry leaders remain optimistic about the future, with the sector poised to play an increasingly vital role in driving economic growth and innovation in the years to come.

(Editing by Michael O’Sullivan)

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