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by Sofia Villegas
17 May 2024
John Swinney pledges to build tech sector during first major speech

First Minister John Swinney | Alamy

John Swinney pledges to build tech sector during first major speech

First Minister John Swinney has pledged his government will “build” the tech sector as part of its plans to boost the Scottish economy. 

During a speech in Glasgow, the newly appointed first minister said he is “determined” to ensure Scotland remains a leading start-up nation.

Swinney said: “Scotland is still some way behind other comparable countries, like Ireland and Finland, in the number of tech companies that we have. We will not match that performance overnight, but I’m determined to do whatever I can to help build the tech sector.”

He continued: “I want that sector to be fuelled by an effective and embedded partnership with our universities. We’ve already demonstrated a hunger to work in partnership with businesses to develop new industries and businesses that will create the wealth of tomorrow. Our universities have the talent and the spaces to make all of that happen, and we must support them to make that possible.”

Swinney also indicated his government will continue supporting the Techscaler programme. 

He said: "It's not talked about that Scotland is well on its way to delivering one of the finest state-funded ecosystems in Europe, dedicated to the creation of high-growth startup businesses.

"I want our Techscaler programme to be much better known so we can help drive more investment to these truly exciting enterprises. It’s another example of the government helping to kickstart and encourage industries for the future."

Since launching in 2022, the programme has attracted £52m in investment, supporting more than 500 startups. In March, it also launched its first overseas hub, in Silicon Valley, offering 12 businesses the opportunity to network and grow.

Swinney also praised Scotland’s success in small satellite manufacturing and the screen sector, as well as in food and drink, financial services and tourism.

He added: “Scotland is open for business and open for investment. My government will do everything we can to ensure that is the case in the future."

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