Scottish entrepreneur claims Scots have a “lack of ambition”

Posted on 26 Jun 2012

Despite findings from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) which showed a 4% rise in self-employment in Scotland compared to the same time last year, Scottish businessman Sir Tom Hunter has described Scots as lacking entrepreneurial drive.

The GEM received £5m in funding from Sir Hunter in 2000 to help set the research institute up.

Professor Jonathan Levie of Strathclyde University’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship was responsible for the research, and remarked that the increase in people expecting to become self-employed within the next three years is likely to lead to the creation of new businesses within Scotland.

“However, while there is room for optimism, more needs to be done to turn the intention to start a business into reality. Scottish entrepreneurs still face challenges in getting funding, customers and staff,” said Professor Levie.

In particular, access to finance is cited as the problem that causes the biggest headaches for entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business.

According to the research findings from GEM, 50% of non-entrepreneurs think it would be their biggest hurdle and just under half of those in business cite it as the biggest difficulty.

Sir Hunter is widely renowned as Scotland’s first ‘homegrown’ millionaire, and has invested in a wide variety of national firms, including Wyevale Garden Centres and Merlin Entertainments, the company behind Alton Towers. He lost out heavily in the recession, but remains a staunch supporter of Scottish business.

Sir Hunter said that although the figures were encouraging, to succeed on the global stage, “we need to do more.”

“We need ambition that avoids or jumps the hurdles, innovation that doesn’t expect government to provide, or you or me to solve problems. We need entrepreneurs that get on with it,” he argued.