Scottish entrepreneurs have global pulling power but need to be more inspiring to boost overseas trade, suggests research
International confidence in Scottish entrepreneurs is high, but a lack of innovation could dampen long-term trade prospects, according to new research published by Barclays.
The study interviewed 1,350 business leaders around the world on their perceptions of British entrepreneurs and their experiences trading with Scottish scale-ups.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of overseas businesses work with fast growing Scottish businesses or successful Scottish entrepreneurs, a higher proportion than several other areas of the UK including Northern Ireland (17%), Yorkshire (12%) and West Midlands (8%). But Scottish businesses are not attracting as much trade as areas like London (62%) and Wales (25%).
Scotland has long retained a reputation for innovation and China (32%), the US (29%) and UAE (26%) are most optimistic about Scotland’s potential to create the next Apple or Google on home shores. Yet this fell dramatically in the views of France (17%) and Germany (19%).
Outside of London, 30% of those polled* are aware of an Edinburgh based start-up hub, but more leaders are familiar with businesses in Liverpool (54%), Manchester (53%) and Cambridge (43%) demonstrating that there is still a job to be done to promote Scotland and its capital as tech hubs.
Trading with the UK post-Referendum
Following the UK’s EU Referendum vote, 61% of International business leaders say it won’t have any impact on the way they do business with UK entrepreneurs: 84% believe UK products and services will continue to offer good value,three quarters (76%) say they are confident that Britain will have a solid plan in place, while the ‘Made In Britain’ brand is a highly attractive for 74%. A further 60% say Brexit will actually improve their trade dealings with British companies.
Doing Business with UK entrepreneurs
Scottish entrepreneurs are described by overseas business leaders as co-operative (42%), hardworking (40%) and reliable (40%) but fall short on resilience (25%) and inspiration (30%).
Table 1: Common traits of UK entrepreneurs, as voted by global business leaders:
Co-operative – 42%
Reliable – 40%
Honest – 40%
Hardworking – 40%
Polite – 39%
Innovative – 39%
Smart – 38%
Passionate – 35%
Driven – 30%
Inspiring – 30%