Scotland CAN DO: becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation

Framework for our future priorities for action in creating an entrepreneurial and innovative nation.

What are Entrepreneurship and Innovation Important?

"Entrepreneurship is the engine fuelling innovative employment generation and economic growth. Only by creating an environment where entrepreneurship can prosper and where entrepreneurs can try new ideas and empower others can we ensure that many of the world's problems will not go unaddressed." Klaus Schwab, Chair World Economic Forum 2009

Entrepreneurship and innovation are important because of the contribution they can make to securing the Government's purpose of creating sustainable economic growth. This is through:

  • improving Scotland's competitiveness through businesses which have the greatest potential for growth, internationalisation and economic benefit, including through the creation of jobs; and
  • finding solutions to society's most difficult problems and so creating a more equitable and sustainable future.

As the Government Economic Strategy (2011) states: "Scotland is a country rich in economic potential. Our people are creative, ambitious and resilient and we are home to world-class entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers. It is vital we harvest
the opportunity that this provides." [6]

Entrepreneurship and innovation are also key elements of the European Union's Europe 2020 aim of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The resources available through the European programmes from 2014-20, including the Horizon 2020 programme, can potentially accelerate Scotland's ambition to be a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation. So too can our continued membership of the EU's Smart Specialisation Platform, [7] which promotes a focus on those areas within a region or country that provide unique competitive advantage.

Innovation is seen as the engine of long term economic development and has underpinned much of the UK's productivity growth. As Nesta highlighted in its recent publication Plan I - The Case for Innovation-Led Growth, "63 per cent of productivity growth in the last decade came either directly or indirectly from innovation". [8] Investment in innovation is a prominent feature in the strategies of many successful small economies, including Finland [9] and Denmark. [10]

It is also crucial to consider that demand from consumers, whether individuals, businesses or the public sector, is the most important factor in the success or failure of businesses. Innovation and entrepreneurship can help stimulate that demand and generate market opportunities for new products and services, leading to economic growth.

Case Study

Real-life Entrepreneurs

The Federation of Small Businesses' ( FSB) Real-Life Entrepreneurs campaign [11] is designed to celebrate and support the UK's small businesses community.

The small business lobby organisation, which has 200,000 members - 19,000 of them in Scotland - believe that turning a good idea into a business is one of the most positive acts an individual can perform for themselves and the community in which they live.

Case Study

Creative Clyde

Creative Clyde [12] is a flourishing, vibrant centre for media, technology and creatively minded businesses. In August 2013, 11 creative and digital businesses in Glasgow won £620,000 between them to develop innovative new products and services. The funding was awarded at the conclusion of The Digital and Creative Clyde Launchpad competition, run by the Technology Strategy Board in partnership with Creative Clyde. Winning bids include a digital tag for wireless monitoring and security applications; a 3D virtual reality technology that creates branding and training experiences; and computer games rendering technology that will help make feature films easier and cheaper to produce.


Email: Tom Craig,

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