SCOTLAND is one step away from being in the elite tier of entrepreneurial countries, according to a new report carried out by the University of Strathclyde, but a lack of funding is still discouraging people from starting out on their own.
The findings, on Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rates by the university’s Hunter Centre, measure business creation in 31 nations, and shows that Scotland is now at the base of a group of nations forming the middle of three TEA bands. In 2002, the country was in the middle of the lowest band but it now ranks ahead of the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Italy, Finland, Croatia, Japan and France.
As well as the funding issue, the report suggests that female TEA remains 'stubbornly low', with women less than half as likely to be entrepreneurs as male counterparts.
Hunter Centre director Dr Jonathan Levie said: 'Attitudinal change and TEA rates are a strong reflection of the UK leading Europe out of recession, but we should exercise a deal of caution over an over-zealous play on these results - I think we all remember that first Dutch game.'
Entrepreneurial Exchange chief executive John Anderson welcomed the findings, saying: 'Probably the most pleasing aspect of the GEM results is the fact that many more Scots are now seeking to become entrepreneurs by choice rather than by necessity. The exchange has been leading the charge in terms of highlighting the work of the entrepreneurial community and in introducing entrepreneurship into the educational syllabus.
'Ten years ago, the man and woman in the street probably wouldn’t have known what an entrepreneur was. If they did, then the image of an entrepreneur would probably have been negative.'
JOHN BOWKER AND SHARON WARD