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by Sofia Villegas
20 May 2024
Kate Forbes announces multi-million-pound package for Scottish start-ups

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes | Alamy

Kate Forbes announces multi-million-pound package for Scottish start-ups

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes has announced a £5m package to nurture high-growth start-ups. 

Forbes announced the cash boost during a visit to the National Robotarium - the UK's centre for robotics and artificial intelligence.

It comes after First Minister John Swinney pledged his government would “build” the tech sector as part of its plans to boost the Scottish economy last Friday. 

Forbes, who is also the economy secretary, said: “Innovation is at the very heart of our economy. We have the talent, the skills and the facilities to make Scotland one of Europe’s fastest-growing start-up economies, an economy that is strong, successful and dynamic.”

The funding forms part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to the Logan report on developing a world-class technology sector as well as the Pathways report, which aims to boost the number of female entrepreneurs.

Forbes continued: “This package of measures, which builds on the multi-million investment the Scottish Government is already making into our start-up business community, forms the next step in providing one of the most comprehensive government-backed support networks in Europe.”

The cash injection will help the business funding competition Scottish EDGE expand, which to date has awarded more than £25m in grants and loans. 

It will also help stimulate the earliest stages of business creation and product development for under-represented groups as well as initiatives working to promote Scotland as a global start-up hub.

Universities have also secured a part of the funding to support spinouts and commercialise research. 

During his speech, Swinney had already said he wanted the sector "to be fuelled" by partnerships with universities. 

Ana Stewart, author of the Pathways report, said: “This is a meaningful step forward in tackling the extreme gender imbalance which currently exists in entrepreneurship. I look forward to engaging and supporting the Government and other partners in enacting change whilst building on the existing momentum created since the publication of the Pathways report.

“Change will not happen overnight, so I am also encouraged to see the adoption of a more strategic approach with a multi-year investment - a critical component if we are to tackle these persistent challenges.”

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