Entrepreneurial Campus 10-year plan unveiled

A 10-year plan to help create entrepreneurial campuses at 45 universities and colleges across Scotland has been launched by First Minister Humza Yousaf during his visit to a technology campus in Brussels.

Strengthening global networks and supporting more university start up businesses is among a raft of actions in The Entrepreneurial Campus plan.

The Scottish Government said a £5.5 million increase in the 2023-24 University Innovation Fund will help universities deliver the blueprint and Scotland’s National Innovation Strategy.

The Entrepreneurial Campus report recommendations include:

  • teaching practical entrepreneurial skills as part of the wider university and college curriculum
  • encouraging collaboration between education institutions by strengthening global networks
  • supporting more spin-out companies to commercialise research and create innovative products
  • attracting alumni and experienced entrepreneurs back into colleges and universities as practitioners and mentors

The Entrepreneurial Campus report was drawn up by Ross Tuffee, a business founder and investor with more than 30 years’ experience working with scaling up businesses, and Honorary Professor Joe Little, digital entrepreneur in residence at the University of Stirling.

It was commissioned by Chief Entrepreneur Mark Logan in his role as a senior Scottish Government adviser.

The First Minister launched the blueprint alongside Tuffee during the visit to BeCentral Tech Campus, one of a series of engagements designed to maintain Scotland’s relationship Scotland’s relationship with the European Union.

The First Minister said: “Evidence from around the world tells a compelling story of how entrepreneurship, properly harnessed, can drive innovation and economic growth.

“It is an area where we want to learn from, and work with, international partners in order to drive innovation across Scotland’s universities and colleges, which are some of the best in the world.

“Publication of this blueprint marks our clear commitment to supporting enterprise and innovation.

“We can capitalise on the world-leading research and development work that already goes on in our higher education institutions – by inspiring and encouraging students and staff to engage with entrepreneurship and innovation learning.

“This publication also marks an important milestone as a key action from our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, helping maintain Scotland’s excellent reputation as a world-class entrepreneurial nation.

“I am confident it will lead to more students going on to found start-ups or taking up employment with one of our growing businesses, helping them develop and grow while retaining skills and talent in Scotland.”

Little said: “What was striking in researching world-class entrepreneurial campuses around the globe was the significant regional economic growth they generated. The main factors being a more focused entrepreneurial mindset among faculty and students and a more mature engagement with industry.

“Their students don’t just get a degree and go elsewhere, they stay, build businesses, creating a virtuous cycle of growth. We must translate these lessons for the benefit of all in Scotland.”

Tuffee added: “Scotland has an incredible opportunity to scale the socio-economic impact of its academic institutions by inspiring and supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs. We need to normalize entrepreneurship as a valid career path.

“We can create the conditions that underpin this acceleration by bringing together successful entrepreneurs with students and staff and aligning funding and physical support cross our regions. This is a 10-year strategy but we have to start now.”

The Scottish Government said it is increasing the number of start-ups through the national £42 million TechScaler network which offers mentoring and incubation space for new tech businesses.