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Clydesdale Bank Praises Alliance

CLYDESDALE Bank is "absolutely delighted" with the opportunities to lend to members of the Entrepreneurial Exchange which are arising from the partnership it formed with this energetic Glasgow-based network last year, it said.

The bank and the Entrepreneurial Exchange are both hailing the benefits of their three-year alliance, launched last autumn, ahead of the Exchange's annual conference in Gleneagles today. This event will be attended by more than 240 people.

Entrepreneurial Exchange chief executive John Anderson is upbeat about the difference his members are making to the Scottish economy.

However, he said he was perplexed by the finding of the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), published this week, that Scotland has a "lost generation" of potential entrepreneurs in their thirties.

Mr Anderson said: "There is a lot of exciting stuff going on."

However, recognising the robustness of the GEM methodology, he added: "Just because we spend our lives in a buoyant, positive mood, clearly that message isn't getting out to the broader population."

Mr Anderson said he would, with the Exchange's board, consider whether it should be playing a greater part in trying to change the broader "attitude and culture" in light of the latest GEM for Scotland, which is produced by Strathclyde University's Hunter Centre.

He meanwhile highlighted the importance to Exchange members of a recent event at which Clydesdale Bank provided advice on the best way of approaching the issue of funding with banks. Funding availability is a crucial issue for entrepreneurs amid the tight credit conditions which have continued in the wake of the global financial crisis and deep recession. Similar future events are being planned.

Scott McKerracher, regional director for Clydesdale Bank in Scotland, acknowledged the lending opportunities generated for his Glasgow-based institution from the tie-up with the Entrepreneurial Exchange.

Asked by The Herald if the alliance had led to more introductions to Clydesdale of companies to which the bank was interested in lending, Mr McKerracher replied: "Definitely. We have picked up a number of oppor- tunities, some of which have meant business we have written and some of which are in ongoing dialogue at the moment."

Commenting on the latest GEM's finding that Scotland had a "lost generation" of thirty-something entrepreneurs, Mr McKerracher said: "I am probably less negative. I still see lots of new businesses approaching us, and businesses looking to grow, in that sort of bracket of people.

"I guess the thing would be there is probably always more we could do - maybe that is what the survey is thrusting at. But there are some great businesses being set up and some businesses growing really fast."

He highlighted the food and drink, healthcare and oil and gas sectors as ones in which there "tends to be a lot happening".

Mr McKerracher meanwhile noted that Clydesdale continued to pick up a lot of business customers from rivals and said he was "really quite enthused with how things are going".ian mcconnell business editor

9 Jun 2011


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