ScotlandIS CEO Karen Meechan recently featured in The Herald’s Special Technology report, discussing how some of the trade body’s initiatives are aimed at encouraging support and investment to Scottish tech and cyber companies – but more needs to be done.
Post pandemic, the world has witnessed a rapid digital transformation, opening new avenues for businesses while also exposing them to unprecedented cybersecurity threats. Scotland, with its burgeoning technology sector and thriving innovation ecosystem, finds itself at the forefront of the battle against cyber-attacks. As the importance of cybersecurity continues to soar, bringing investment opportunities to Scottish cyber companies becomes not only a strategic move, but a necessity for their growth and the nation’s digital resilience.
Investment serves as a catalyst in the growth trajectory of many technology companies, acting as fuel for innovation, expansion, and market competitiveness. Beyond monetary support, investment brings strategic partnerships, industry expertise, and valuable networks that amplify a tech company’s market presence and global reach.
For many years, ScotlandIS, the trade body and cluster management organisation for Scotland’s digital tech sector, has been cultivating a vibrant technology ecosystem, and Scotland’s cybersecurity sector is no exception. With universities producing top-tier cybersecurity graduates, government initiatives supporting cyber innovation, and a cluster of forward-thinking startups and established companies, Scotland is positioned to be a cybersecurity hub. However, for these companies to thrive, they require a significant influx of investment.
The 2022 DCMS (now DSIT) backed UK cyber sectoral analysis showed healthy investment in the UK cybersecurity sector in 2021, however only a very small proportion of that investment went to Scottish companies (0.5% of total investment value).This figure has declined, and in fact there were no dedicated cyber security fundraisings in Scotland in 2022. The harsh reality is there are not enough Scottish investors investing in cyber companies and not enough cyber investment finding its way to Scotland.
With a view to increasing investment levels into Scotland, last year ScotlandIS held “Cyber Showcase” which saw 12 companies pitch to investors and buyers after completing a six-week pitching training programme. The day was very well received, and helped to highlight how difficult it is to attract investors away from the bright lights of London and explore companies from other regions. With this in mind, ScotlandIS has secured Scottish Enterprise funding to support a cohort of six cyber product companies visiting London this September, to exhibit and pitch at the International Cyber Expo.
The significance of attracting investment opportunities to Scottish tech companies in general cannot be overstated. It positions Scotland as a global leader in fields like cybersecurity, fosters collaboration, and nurtures a skilled workforce.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, investing in Scottish tech companies becomes not just an opportunity but a responsibility, and one that ScotlandIS take seriously.
To be investment-ready, companies need support. There are several options out there, including our own Future Ready platform which launched earlier this year. This online knowledge hub of business support and resources was developed as a direct result of feedback from members. With Future Ready, ScotlandIS aims to ensure that Scotland’s small businesses have the tools they need for growth.
ScotlandIS has one of the largest networks in Scotland’s tech ecosystem and our participation in organisations like UKC3, Global Epic and our own Scottish Cluster Ecosystem Alliance means that our wider network has UK and international reach, as well as reach into the sectors that digital technology cuts across. This connectivity translates into expanded opportunities, heightened visibility, and the potential to overcome challenges collectively, ultimately contributing to enhanced competitiveness and success in the dynamic tech landscape.
You can hear more from our network and the organisations currently strengthening the country’s technology ecosystem, including the cyber landscape, at ScotlandIS’ annual conference, ScotSoft, due to take place in Edinburgh on 28th September.