My Column

Head in the Cloud....

  • Date: Monday 19th September 2016
column Picture

It’s pleasing to see that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Scotland – but not in the manner in which you might expect.

When you think of entrepreneurs, you tend to think of the Bransons, the Zuckerbergs, or the Sugars of this world stepping out of private jets and into vast glass and chrome edifices, then netting millions before the rest of the population has even got out of bed.

It’s tempting to study them for unique attributes. What is the secret of their success?

However, increasingly entrepreneurs look more like the average person – and there’s nothing special about them.

In fact, more than half of all Scottish businesses are now home-based, and they’re making a significant contribution to the economy – more than £6billion to be precise.

We’re not alone in that either; according to a new report based on data collected by the Centre for Economic and Business Research and YouGov, Britain’s growing number of home businesses are worth a staggering £94billion to the UK economy, and that figure is set to grow.

Nevertheless, in Scotland, the figures are particularly encouraging. Indeed, we have an estimated 184,000 home businesses, representing an impressive 54 per cent share of the country’s total number of enterprises.

It’s proof positive that individuals can successfully strike out on their own with little more than their wits, skills and an internet connection.

It also suggests that the face of UK business is undergoing a seismic shift as more and more reject traditional office roles and the daily commute.

Technology is the great leveller of course, and in this instance, cloud is leading the charge. Despite the name, it’s not just a load of vapour; the benefits are extremely tangible. You may even be using it already – be it through your social media, banking, or music and video storage.

Cloud is allowing greater agility, increased flexibility, and heightened mobility, in turn enabling homegrown businesses to communicate anywhere and at any time, from any device.

For years now, indigenous enterprises have complained that web connections have just not been fast or dependable enough in order for them to realistically exist. Edinburgh is now firmly known as one of the UK’s leading tech hubs, but its achievements have masked a disparity. Such opportunity has not been translated to the more remote areas of Scotland.

Those communities have collectively sought better government investment in recent times, and rightly so – but the new figures suggest that we’re now finally getting there, tearing down even more barriers to tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

The Scottish Government and its partners are aiming to extend superfast broadband to around 95 per cent of the country by March 2018. For budding businesses, that can only mean better, faster service, greater productivity, and closer relationships.

Superfast broadband can undoubtedly create fresh means of connecting with customers – but it is the cloud that is serving to further close the gap, while importantly reducing complexity and hardware costs, lowering licensing overheads, and enabling greater scalability. In other words, businesses can quickly expand or scale down in line with market conditions.

It’s revolutionising small enterprises in ways that could barely have been imagined just a few years ago, and ushering in the dawn of a new type of entrepreneur.


Take a look in the mirror. You’re exactly what the future of Scottish entrepreneurialism looks like.

Back to column listings

Recent News

News Archive