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.

Our Values and Approach

Today in Scotland it is right that all of our people should have the opportunity to benefit from sustainable economic growth.

In driving forward entrepreneurship and innovation, we believe that:

  • The ambition, drive and leadership of individuals is crucial and must be nurtured and developed within school and beyond. An entrepreneurial mindset can be learned and a culture that supports it created.
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative companies are found across all business sectors. While many innovations are technology-based, other forms of innovation can equally provide a competitive advantage - it is the potential to create value and accelerate
    growth that is important.
  • A range of business models are important, including employee ownership, co-operatives and social enterprises.
  • There should be greater inclusion and involvement in entrepreneurship and innovation across society.
  • Internal entrepreneurship and innovation - intrapreneurship - is crucial to companies wishing to keep their competitive edge in a global market.
  • Design, design-thinking and creativity are part of an innovative approach.
  • Increasing collaboration within and beyond Scotland, and involving the public, private and third sectors working together, is key to success.
  • The public sector has an important role in creating a supportive business environment for entrepreneurship and innovation; in being a role model for innovation; through novel approaches to procurement; and in seeking to stimulate both innovation and market demand.
  • Constitutional change in Scotland could provide a range of policy and financial levers to further promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Scotland.

Case Study

Innovation Through Employee Ownership

Co-operative Development Scotland ( CDS) is the arm of Scottish Enterprise working in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models.

An employee-owned business is one in which the employees hold the majority of the shares either directly or through an employee benefit trust. Employee ownership gives employees a meaningful stake in their organisation together with a genuine say in how it is run.

Since its employee buyout in 2002, Dyce based manufacturing and engineering business Woollard & Henry has seen a remarkable 30 per cent increase on profitability every year, innovating with new products and markets. Operating in a declining industry, the employees had to find new markets for their products and new uses for their skills.

The company developed an international customer base within the paper industry and now exports more than 60 per cent of its output, and supplies 23 out of the 28 global producers of currency. It also provides high quality bespoke solutions to the oil and gas sector. As a result, employee numbers have risen from 22 to 57.


Email: Tom Craig,

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