Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation - Delivery Plans October 2022

The Delivery Plans set out how we will work with partners to implement the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

This document is part of a collection

Programme 1: Entrepreneurial People and Culture

Outcomes & Objectives

There is strong evidence that new, high growth companies deliver disproportionate economic impact. They are significantly more productive and innovative than average, pay more, are highly absorptive of skilled labour and radiate innovation to their customers and supply chains – driving job creation and wage growth beyond their own businesses.

For these reasons, the aim of the programme is to establish Scotland as a world-class entrepreneurial nation with a much stronger pipeline of scaling businesses and founded on a culture that encourages, promotes and celebrates entrepreneurial activity in every sector of our economy.

Although these outcomes are only deliverable in the longer-term, it is also the case that investment in entrepreneurialism will realise benefits on a sliding scale. Positive impacts in relation to mitigating the current cost crisis will begin to be seen in smaller pools of businesses in shorter time, broadening out thereafter to embed resilience and growth more deeply over the life- cycle of this Strategy.


Project 1: Embed first rate entrepreneurial learning across the education and skills systems by promoting the best available project-based entrepreneurial learning across the school and post-16 education curricula. This means building new partnerships between business and our education system, offering schools, colleges and universities a network of relationships with high- quality start-ups and individual entrepreneurs, providing young people with inspirational mentors and role models. This work will focus initially on schools in areas of multiple deprivation. It means embedding entrepreneurship in the Young Person's Guarantee, adapting the apprenticeship system to make it work for start-ups and early stage scale-ups, and working with the university and college sector to build entrepreneurial campus infrastructure.

Project 2: Create major, new world-class entrepreneurial infrastructure of institutions and programmes providing a high intensity pathway for high-growth companies, expanding the scope of the current tech-scaler programme to become 'start-up scalers', world-class incubation and developmental environments for all high growth start-ups; supporting this network through the creation of a national system of 'pre-scaler hubs' to stimulate the early stages of high growth entrepreneurship and provide the expanding scaler network with a steady supply of promising new businesses; developing and aligning private sector incubators within our national entrepreneurial infrastructure; and, in doing all of this, focussing rigidly on the need to ensure barrier-free access to support programmes for under-represented groups.

Project 3: Attract and retain the very best entrepreneurial talent from at home and abroad, making the best use of international networks and diaspora to attract talent and investment; leveraging Scotland's strength in corporate sectors (such as financial services) in order to develop innovative, industry-led pathways to redirect talent into building new companies; building strategic partnerships with ecosystems in other countries to create company exchange programmes, new commercial partnerships and international trade opportunities for Scottish businesses; and supporting universities to attract entrepreneurial students from around the world by providing post-education pathways that help retain their expertise.

Project 4: Build an entrepreneurial mind-set in every sector of our economy, expanding the application of entrepreneurial thinking and approaches to public service reform; ensuring people working in the public and third sectors have an opportunity to undertake entrepreneurial training as part of their ongoing professional development; building on the success of our CivTech programme by leveraging public procurement to stimulate more business start- ups and support Scottish scale ups; making engagement with CivTech a mandatory part of the way in which the big change programmes of Government are delivered; proactively promoting business start-up opportunities to those at risk of redundancy through the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) programme; and implementing metrics to reward entrepreneurial approaches and activity within public sector bodies.


Measures of success will include:

  • Early stage entrepreneurial activity [TEA rate as calculated by GEM]
  • Number of businesses surviving (3 years) [new businesses identified through the registration of administrative units (VAT & PAYE)]
  • Number of high-growth registered businesses [enterprises with average annualised growth greater than 20% per annum, over a three year period. Growth can be measured by the number of employees or by turnover]
  • Number of spin-offs
  • Evaluation of individual projects

As specific projects are developed we will consider what further measures can be put in place, for example around skills, that will enable us to track progress and impact against identified outcomes.

NSET Phase: Delivered by 31 October 2022

Project 1:

Since the publication of NSET, we and Scottish Enterprise have:

  • Given support to the Bridge to Business and Scotland's Enterprising Schools programmes, both delivered by Young Enterprise Scotland, and to the Prince's Trust Scotland enterprise programme.
  • Included entrepreneurship within the Young Person's Guarantee as part of our work to embed first rate entrepreneurial learning across the education and skills system and provide parity of esteem between enterprise and other positive destinations.
  • Convened a Steering Group which now meets every six weeks, and updated the Young Person's Guarantee website to include 'enterprise opportunities'.
  • Taken forward various strands of work under the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review Programme, to support educational 'funnel- wideners'. These include:
  • The establishment of a teacher-led organisation (Scottish Teachers Advancing Computing Science or 'STACS') to deliver pedagogical improvements to computing science education and the upskilling of computing science teachers.
  • £2 million invested in computing science hardware in schools.
  • Development of a plan for a pilot programme of teacher up-skilling improvements, to be delivered in the Aberdeen City Council local authority area.

Project 2:

Since the publication of NSET, we have:

  • Appointed Professor Mark Logan as Chief Entrepreneur, alongside his ongoing work as chief adviser to the STER Programme.
  • Delivered £20 million of direct investment and £70 million of private sector leverage into Scottish companies through Scottish Enterprise Growth Investments.
  • Formed a strategic partnership with Smart Things Accelerator Centre (STAC) providing support to a new cohort of companies specialising in the internet of things.
  • Worked with Young Enterprise Scotland, Women's Enterprise Scotland, Mint Ventures and Investing in Women to support women and young people to access entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Made plans for arrangements to support Professor Logan in his Chief Entrepreneur role.
  • Agreed a contract worth £42 million over 5 years with CodeBase to deliver Scotland's Tech Scaler network. Tech Scalers are a major piece of infrastructure designed to support the creation of more tech start-ups in Scotland, and to help them to grow to scale. This project is foundational to the success of Programme 1.
  • The Tech Scaler contract will see £42 million invested into core infrastructure and support services. This anchor investment will complement and strengthen the already significant investment flowing into the ecosystem via the public and private sector.
  • Through this new contract, we will now be able to provide long-term incubation space and world-class support including intensive founder team education, access to the "market-square" and expert mentorship to equip teams with techniques needed to grow their companies successfully.
  • CodeBase has an outstanding track record as a tech scaler incubator, starting Europe's largest tech incubator and broadening to Aberdeen and Stirling.
  • The network will act as a focal point for investors from outside Scotland to understand the opportunities available here in our ecosystem and will provide a platform on which to integrate additional reinforcing capabilities, for example, internationally renowned accelerator programmes and talent attraction. We are working closely with Scottish Enterprise to maximise the impact of this new network.

Project 3:

Since the publication of NSET, we have:

  • Published a 'Statement of Requirements' for a contract to provide marketing and branding for international audiences.Successfully tendered a short-term contract, to provide marketing and branding support.

Project 4:

Since the publication of NSET, we have:

  • Launched an internal transformation programme which will consider, amongst other things, embedding entrepreneurial thinking and techniques into the way that we work.

NSET Phase: In Delivery

Project 1:

  • Publish the findings of the independent whole system review of the women in enterprise support landscape and barriers facing women in enterprise which is being led by Ana Stewart. The review was launched in February 2022 and is expected to report by early 2023. The review's recommendations will inform the development of future policy and interventions.
  • Progress the work currently underway to develop an enterprise resource pack to provide more information to Developing Young Workforce co-ordinators and educators.
  • Commence regional information delivery sessions.

Project 2:

  • Progress the mobilisation period for the Tech Scaler contract to a successful conclusion, to stand up 6 of the 7 Hub locations from 1 November.
  • The new network will cover seven sites including Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness and Dumfries and will work with core delivery partners like Barclay's Eagle Labs, ONE and others. A seventh Hub (Dumfries) will be activated at a later date, once there is more clarity on likely demand and requirements. Services in a Tech Scaler will also be fully available virtually.
  • To qualify for tenancy in the Tech Scaler network, start-ups pass an assessment process. Tech Scalers also include a "market square" environment, which provides tech meet-ups and other events so founders can learn from each other, and build a sense of community and shared experience.

Project 3:

  • Deliver the branding and marketing strategy that is currently under development and which is expected to be delivered by Autumn 2022.

NSET Phase: Delivery Pending

Project 1:

  • Following the completion and publication of the Stewart Review on women's entrepreneurship, a response to its recommendations will be developed.
  • Work with partners including Young Enterprise Scotland and in the education sector to create stronger links between education and enterprise in school/employer engagement, including through creating links between the careers service and enterprise activity.

Project 2:

  • Deliverables under this project are deeply connected to the success and growth of tech- scaler network.
  • There are many different ways to conceive and deliver the services required by the Project brief, and it may be the case that different solutions and partners will be appropriate for different areas and sectoral domains.
  • This means that, between 2022 and Spring 2024, we will complete the next stage in this Project, which will be to define the key minimum attributes for each new service required, e.g. challenges support must address, links to key networks, access to the tech-scaler/ start-up scaler bank of commercial education and links to investors.
  • This is commonly referred to as a 'discovery phase' and will involve extensive user research, consultation and collaboration with stakeholders.

NSET Phase: In Development

  • The Programme is presently operating at full capacity to deliver the very substantial commitments made in relation to standing- up the new tech-scaler network, work on the Stewart Review, establishing the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur and developing the branding and marketing strategy.
  • Successful delivery of these commitments is fundamental to the success of Programme 1 and we will therefore commence design on other actions once we are confident that these foundational commitments are in place.

Development to begin

Project 1:

  • Develop entrepreneurial learning pathways in educational settings.
  • Establish a network of role models to engage with school and post-16 education curricula.
  • Increase the number of talented early stage company founders by leveraging Scotland's strength in large corporate sectors (e.g. financial services) especially those with a deep experience of large corporate businesses and their need for innovation.
  • Increase the number and diversity of entrepreneurs choosing to establish businesses in Scotland.
  • Ensure there are clear and effective post education pathways to entrepreneurship.

Project 2:

  • Establishment of Entrepreneurial Campuses.
  • Launch of Pre-Scaler Hub Network, creating a new form of business support for prospective high growth company founders.
  • Expansion of existing Tech Scaler Network to other sectors.
  • Improvements to better develop and align private sector incubators.
  • Actions to attract world's best private sector accelerators to Scotland.

Project 3:

  • Development of innovative pathways to redirect talent into building new companies.
  • Development of strategic partnerships with ecosystems in other countries.
  • Creation of new, company exchange programmes, commercial partnerships and opportunities for international trade.
  • Development of post-education pathways, to help Universities and Scottish ecosystems more widely retain the skills and expertise of international students.

Project 4:

  • Ensure people at risk of redundancy are provided with the best possible advice and support to start their own business.
  • Develop more detailed proposals on the involvement of CivTech and its underpinning methodology in major public service reform.
  • Provide access to effective entrepreneurial training to key staff in the public and third sectors, ensuring that the benefits of entrepreneurial thinking and approaches are reflected in the outcomes generate by these sectors.

Working with Stakeholders & Partners

Who are we relying on for delivery of the programme?

  • Education Scotland
  • Local authorities
  • Educational institutions
  • Businesses/corporates/ entrepreneurs
  • Enterprise & Skills agencies/ Business Gateway
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • Young Enterprise Scotland
  • Prince's Trust
  • Converge Challenge
  • Pre/tech scalers

Who are we involving and how (partners/stakeholders)?

  • Universities Scotland
  • Colleges Scotland
  • Chief Entrepreneur
  • 'Ecosystem' members – Start-Up Grind, Future X, Entrepreneurial Scotland, Turing Fest etc.
  • EDGE Scotland
  • Hunter Foundation
  • Unions
  • Social Security Scotland
  • UK Government

Who and where will benefit (people, places and sectors)?

  • Students
  • Entrepreneurs
  • All regions
  • All sectors


A Programme Delivery Board has been established, consisting of senior figures responsible for implementation, the Chief Entrepreneur, representatives from the entrepreneurial ecosystem and local government. In addition, each of the projects will be accountable via project leads, delivery partners, NSET Programmes, the NSET Portfolio Board and, ultimately, to the NSET Delivery Board.

Delivery phased timeline

This timeline provides the pipeline of activity and planned milestones as it stands. As budgets become clearer and time progresses other projects and milestones will be added and timelines updated.

Phase 01: What we have delivered to date

May 2022

Enterprise in Young Person’s Guarantee Steering Group convened

July 2022

Chief Entrepreneur announced

July 2022

Tech-scaler contract announced

Phase 02: What we are already doing

Nov 2022

Mobilisation of tech-scaler sites commences

Early 2023

Stewart Review published

Early 2023

Government response to Stewart review

Apr 2023

Entrepreneurship embedded within the Young Person’s Guarantee

Apr 2023

Government ‘blueprint’ for Entrepreneurial Campuses complete

Phase 03: What we are planning to deliver

Mid 2024

Discovery phase for future tech-scaler hubs complete



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