“The Next Start-Up Nation: A Manifesto for an Independent, Entrepreneurial and Ambitious Scotland”

How could Scotland become a more entrepreneurial and ambitious country if it were to achieve independence? This is the subject of a report by Professor Ross Brown from the University of St Andrews who was commissioned by the Scottish think tank, Reform Scotland.


Professor Brown writes that Scotland has an uneasy relationship with entrepreneurialism, and that this has to change. If Scotland became independent, its economy would be heavily reliant on innovation and would require a culture that celebrates entrepreneurs, as well as better funding and support for start-ups.

Among Professor Brown’s recommendations are:

  • The scrapping of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and their replacement with a new set of institutions focused on supporting high-growth ventures.
  • Abolition of the First Minister’s Council of Economic Advisors, who are “academic economists who simply don’t understand how businesses function and operate”. This should be replaced with a National Entrepreneurship Council composed of successful entrepreneurs, investors, financial institutions, key business angels, and entrepreneurship policy experts.
  • Copying Israel’s “strategic and sophisticated” government intervention which has shaped shaping the massive growth and success of that country’s high-tech sector.
  • Making it easier for innovators to access growth capital and advice in order to scale up their businesses.
  • The targeting of women, immigrants and people with disabilities to unleash hidden entrepreneurial power in the economy.

“What Professor Brown proposes is nothing less than a revolution in the way Scotland views and supports its entrepreneurs. In a competitive global economy, these are the people that can make the difference for Scotland, that create the jobs and pay the taxes that support our public services, and they deserve better support than they currently get.

Chris Deerin, Director, Reform Scotland


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