Skip to main content

13/11/13 11:30

‘Scotland CAN DO’

Swinney pledges £3m for Scotland’s future entrepreneurs.

Finance Secretary John Swinney today announced the publication of Scotland CAN DO – Becoming a World-leading Entrepreneurial and Innovative Nation.

The launch was held in Edinburgh City Council’s flagship Business Centre at Waverley Court, and was attended by a range of innovative companies who demonstrate that the CAN DO attitude is alive and well in Scotland.

The Framework highlights the importance the Scottish Government attaches to entrepreneurship and innovation, the values that will inform our work and our future priorities for action within the current powers of the Scottish Parliament. Mr Swinney has signalled the Scottish Government’s commitment by earmarking £3m of funding for innovative measures to encourage a new age of entrepreneurship across Scotland. Just as importantly, Scotland CAN DO asks what you can do - as an individual, an entrepreneur or an innovative business - to help create the types of businesses that will have the biggest positive impact on Scotland and on the world.

Our ambition is to achieve:

  • an increase in entrepreneurship and innovation activity from individuals and businesses in Scotland resulting in more businesses being formed and new products and services from existing businesses;
  • more people from all walks of life with the ambition and skills to create, lead and grow successful businesses;
  • an education system with entrepreneurship and innovation at its core, seizing the opportunities presented by Curriculum for Excellence, college reform and the world-leading strength of our universities;
  • more of our knowledge and intellectual capital being commercialised and greatly increased collaboration between business and the academic sector; and
  • a greater focus on, and share of, global markets as our business leaders grow in confidence and expand their horizons internationally.

Launching the framework, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to attend the launch of Scotland CAN DO. As a nation we can be proud of our unique heritage of entrepreneurship, inventiveness and innovation. But history is just that unless it inspires us to new heights of ambition.

“The CAN DO spirit is evident in the approach taken by the innovative companies I have met here this morning. I have also been encouraged by the number and quality of applicants to the Scottish EDGE Fund competition, which is now in its 3rd round. To date the fund has created 59 jobs as well as £600,000 in turnover and £1.4m in further investment, reinforcing the difference EDGE can make to early stage businesses.

“Scotland CAN DO will be a platform for us all – across the public, private and third sectors - to further sharpen our focus on creating sustainable economic growth. This excellent facility here in Edinburgh exemplifies the kind of joined-up thinking that’s required.

“Our vision is of Scotland as a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation - a CAN DO place for business. We invite all of our enterprising citizens, businesses and organisations to join with us, in a Team Scotland effort, to make that vision a reality”.

Welcoming the publication, entrepreneur Alison Grieve from Safetray said:

“Entrepreneurs don’t work in a vacuum and here at Safetray we have benefited, and continue to benefit, from a range of support and advice. For example, the Road to Investment Workshops, accessed through Business Gateway’s High Growth Pipeline, helped prepare me for investment when I was starting out.

“Most recently, we have been supported through the Innovation Support Grant, which we accessed through Scottish Enterprise, to develop a new product (the G-Hold) for the tablet computing industry. As a consequence of this support, we are in talks with three of the largest tablet case manufacturers in the world about incorporating the G-Hold into their cases.”

Cllr Gordon Munro, Vice-Convener of the Economy Committee said:

“This announcement is very welcome as we must nurture entrepreneurial talent. If just a fifth of self-employed people took on one member of staff, there would be an extra 40,000 jobs in the Scottish economy.

“In Edinburgh we have already opened four incubators during the last year. These include Entrepreneurial Spark in Edinburgh Park, which will support 30 local high-growth start-ups each year, and the Creative Exchange in Leith, which provides affordable workspace for up to 80 people.”

Notes to editors

During his visit Mr Swinney met with a range of entrepreneurial and innovative businesses who have benefitted from the support of the Scottish Government and its partners. These included:

Touch Bionics, a world-renowned producer of upper body prosthetics

  • Safetray, a manufacturer of an innovative drinks tray that reduces the risk of spillage
  • Whirligro, which creates space-saving solutions for growing food, herbs, and flowers
  • Robop, whose robotic hawks make it easy to keep unwanted birds off your property
  • The Framework identifies four themes for action to help Scotland become a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation.

These are:

Capable – our entrepreneurs and innovators have the support, skills, and finance to start and develop growth enterprises.

Ambitious – Scotland is a nation that values and celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation.

Networked –our entrepreneurs and innovators are able to network and work together to help fulfil their ambitions.

Demand and Opportunities – stimulating demand and market opportunities to accelerate the development of new products and services.

We will be preparing a Team Scotland action plan to further develop the priorities in this framework over the period 2014/15 and 2015/16.

The Framework has also been published in an expanded interactive format, with additional case studies and details of current activity.

The Framework can be found at:

Please contact us at: #scotlandcando