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Scottish entrepreneurs backed by Greg Hands on visit to Edinburgh

Visiting the brand new Entrepreneurial Centre in Edinburgh, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands met with Scottish entrepreneurs.

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The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands, today (8 January 2016) met with a number of inspiring Scottish entrepreneurs when he visited the brand new Entrepreneurial Centre in Edinburgh.

The site, which is situated at RBS’s headquarters, will host a number of entrepreneur support organisations including social enterprise Entrepreneurial Spark and is due to open in mid-February. In the first six months it will support over 80 entrepreneurs and their businesses through free facilites, mentoring, networking opportunities and workshops.

Entrepreneurial Spark is the world’s largest free business accelerator for early stage and growing ventures. They have 10 sites across the whole of the UK, including three in Scotland where it has already made a significant impact by support almost 400 companies, securing £20 million investment and helping to create over 1,000 new jobs.

The Chief Secretary met with a number of entrepreneurs who will take up residency at the site once it opens, including:

  • Julie Shaw-Bins, Brand Oath
  • Derek Phillips, Clarus Site Solutions
  • Mark Cairns, Coach Logic
  • Neil Johnson, Duke Street
  • Phil Mowat, Tie Club
  • Andrew Bone, Airts
  • Lorna Clayton, Academic Families
  • Sally-Anne Hunter, Commando Spirit
  • Alex Feechan, Findra

The government is determined to back entrepreneurs and small businesses - the key drivers of the UK economy. The UK’s small businesses employ 12.4 million people and have a combined annual turnover of £1.2 trillion. Over 350,000 small and medium-sized are based in Scotland employing 1.2 million people.

Already, Start-Up Loans have provided £180 million of funding to 33,600 entrepreneurs, with over 1,700 loans given to start ups in Scotland. The government also cut the cumulative burden of regulation by over £10 billion in the last Parliament.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands said:

The government understands that small businesses are crucial to our economy, creating millions of jobs and driving productivity, which is why we want Scotland and the rest of the UK to be the best place in Europe to start and grow a business. I am looking forward to meeting the entrepreneurs supported by Entrepreneurial Spark in Edinburgh.

The invaluable support that Entrepreneurial Spark is providing, along with the RBS and UK government’s backing of small businesses, means we can help nurture Britain’s ever expanding pool of entrepreneurial talent and ensure that local economic growth is supported across the country.

Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Spark, Jim Duffy, said:

We are delighted that Entrepreneurial Spark will be moving into the new RBS Entrepreneurial Centre. The support we’ve had to date from RBS has really helped Entrepreneurial Spark in our own entrepreneurial journey, from providing cash investment and physical space in our new cities, through to opening up the bank’s extensive business network to us.

We have seen a great number of technology entrepreneurs come through the Edinburgh Hatchery to date, so will seek to build upon this success as we further enhance our tech start-up offering in Edinburgh, whilst also supporting entrepreneurs from each and every other sector.

We’re pleased to welcome Greg Hands MP into this impressive new facility and have the chance to talk entrepreneurship with him and Entrepreneurial Spark Chiclets.

Head of Entrepreneurship at RBS, Gordon Merrylees, said:

Start-up businesses need to be innovative and forward thinking to thrive and support customers well, and so does RBS.

We are opening up our headquarters in order to support entrepreneurs with free facilities and access to our business experts and networks.

Not only will this help support the UK economy but, by working so closely with start-up businesses, it will also ensure RBS continually improves the service we provide our customers.

As part of his trip to Edinburgh, the Chief Secretary will also be negotiating the Scottish Fiscal Framework with Deputy First Minister John Swinney. The new fiscal framework forms part of the Scotland Bill which transfers power to Scotland.

Published 8 January 2016