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Still ‘not nearly enough’ progress on technology education in Scotland



This concerns having great places to start and grow companies, while also developing the social networks of support, mentoring and shared learning that must surround them. Progress has been strong here.

Since launching at the end of 2022, one of STER’s major recommendations – the Techscaler incubation and learning network – now comprises eleven locations, and already includes more than 500 start-ups, 3,000 start-up members, 100 mentors and several world-class founder training programmes. Techscaler community events so far have reached an audience of 10,000 people.

READ MORE: Techscaler establishes Scottish foothold in Silicon Valley

Building on this platform, Techscaler has now launched in Silicon Valley so that Scotland’s start-ups can learn from, and build contacts with, international investors, start-ups and customers, while also establishing an inward investment channel back to Scotland.

Meanwhile, our best ecosystem assets are coming together to build a network of start-up support that is more than the sum of its parts.  For example, Techscaler has formed over 50 active partnerships with organisations such as Converge, Scottish Edge, Filament Stac, NHS Innovation Hubs, and AccelerateHER. The partnerships enable start-ups in these organisations to gain automatic membership of Techscaler and its resources.

Another success in this category arising from STER has been the Ecosystem Fund, which invests in ecosystem builders themselves to strengthen the social fabric – the “town-square” of the ecosystem – bringing more conferences to Scotland, supporting founder trips to major ecosystems, and helping to stimulate entrepreneurship throughout the country.

As an external measure of our progress in these programmes, several countries are approaching us about STER and the Techscaler network and are looking to emulate our approach.


STER recommended that a public-private partnership be formed to create a scale-up fund for Scotland that could act as a catalyst for the attraction of further scale-up capital that would accelerate Scotland’s ecosystem towards a critical mass of start-ups and scale-ups.

In response, the Northern Scale-up Fund has been created, led by Par Equity and supported by the National Investment Bank. It has raised £67 million so far with a second-close target of £120m, and with investments into start-ups already closing.

During the same period, the British Business Bank Investment Fund for Scotland was set up, while work is also well underway to create a Universities Innovation Fund, intended to help support spinouts as they emerge. These initiatives are not intended to replace private capital, but rather to accelerate its attraction into Scotland.


Scotland has more world-class universities per capita than any other country on earth. How can we leverage that extraordinary resource to stimulate more and stronger spin-out activity, and how can we equip and interest our graduates in entrepreneurial careers?

Following STER, the Scottish Government published The Entrepreneurial Campus proposal, to engage our universities in a discussion around these points. I’d like to see more funding brought to bear in this area, but progress has, in the meantime, still been strong, with many more universities than before working on more programmes for entrepreneurial stimulation.

And, in EIE week, we should note the great performance of Edinburgh University as a spin-out factory, not to mention Strathclyde’s award by the Triple E of European Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2023.

READ MORE: The tech workforce needs to be more diverse

A bright spot in computing science at school level that has been implemented from STER is the Scottish Teachers Advancing Computer Science (STACS) initiative, where teachers come together to help each other. STACS has a wonderful programme in place where Scotland’s most experienced computing science teachers continuously train new and less experienced teachers.

STACS has also developed fantastic resources for teaching first and second-year pupils. This is a model for how other subjects can be strengthened in Scotland, using the networked power of our teaching community.

That said, we’re otherwise not doing nearly enough at school level. The size of our tech sector is a function of how many engineers the country produces. I remain frustrated that some in Scotland’s education authorities haven’t yet inculcated the importance of this endeavour, nor embraced the need to work harder to increase computing science teacher numbers.

EIE’s return

EIE24 is a tremendous opportunity to showcase some of Scotland’s exciting start-ups and scale-up companies to international investors. I’m delighted by its return and in its new format, putting a greater focus on a smaller number of very strong companies, which will encourage investors to spend more time in Scotland’s ecosystem.

It’s vitally important that Scotland has a good number of high-quality conferences to bring people together, to establish relationships between founders and investors and between founders themselves. EIE is a major component of that environment.

It’s morning in the Scottish Tech Ecosystem

In summary, there’s lots to be excited about in Scotland’s tech sector. It feels like morning here. The day is ahead.

But we will only make that day a bright one if we stay the course on our work to build a great ecosystem for start-ups. We must believe in Scotland’s potential and execute against it too. We owe it both to our history and to our future to do so.

Professor Mark Logan is chief entrepreneurial advisor to the Scottish Government

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