Ambitious Scots

Ambition – or the lack of it – was at the heart of the agenda at the GlobalScot conference in Glasgow this week. More than 300 GlobalScots, and local Scots, came together to discuss how to give Scottish businesses a much-needed leg-up onto the global stage.

It was apparent from early on that ambition, as understood by the GlobalScots, was rather different to the ambition of the local Scots.

Local Scots were talking about growing businesses of scale and reaching the £10m mark; the GlobalScots were talking about businesses of scale turning over hundreds of millions.

Our aspirations seem tiny in comparison, something compounded by the fact that Scottish Enterprise identifies a business of scale as one with the potential to turnover £5milion in three years and have global aspirations.

I wrote about high growth and rapid growth companies for my Scotland on Sunday column a few weeks ago ( ) and was genuinely impressed with the SE approach.

Now, after listening to our GlobalScots, I think SE needs to raise the bar much higher in order to raise the aspirations and ambitions of our indigenous organisations. I’m not critical of what is being done, just anxious that our small country culture is encouraged to think bigger and faster than ever before.