New Enterprise Hub launched in Scotland to help engineering start-ups

An aerial view of the Learning & teaching and Graham Hills campus buildings

The Royal Academy of Engineering has launched a major new initiative to support engineering and technology entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses in Scotland.

Its Enterprise Hub Scotland, based at the University of Strathclyde, will focus on helping local entrepreneurs to commercialise deep tech innovations, spin out companies from universities and attract further external investment.

The Enterprise Hub has already supported 35 early-stage entrepreneurs in Scotland and awarded £1.6 million in total grant funding to date. The Hub is supported by Glasgow City Council, Glasgow City Innovation District, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

Led by Senior Enterprise Manager Emma Loedel, it will champion engineering excellence across Scotland and support local entrepreneurs who are tackling complex environmental, economic and societal challenges.

Exciting step

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Scotland has a proud history of innovation and a rich heritage that underpins its engineering economy today.

"Opening our first Enterprise Hub in Scotland marks an exciting step in the Academy’s journey to support ambitious, high-potential engineering and deep tech entrepreneurs across the country. I am delighted that the Academy is launching this new initiative in my home city of Glasgow within the vibrant ecosystem that is growing through the Glasgow City Innovation District.  

This is another bold strategic investment by our Academy and I look forward to seeing the innovative, home-grown talent that this exciting venture will support in the future.

Gillian Gregg, Head of Regional Engagement at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “The Enterprise Hub can provide a shop window for local innovators to a global network of investors who specialise in sectors where Scotland is strong.

“We’re incredibly excited to launch this new Enterprise Hub to champion a diverse pool of entrepreneurs across Scotland and help them to realise their full potential. We look forward to collaborating further with other organisations within Scotland’s dynamic innovation ecosystem to support local commercialisation and investment in engineering and technology.”

Innovation ecosystem

Recent Academy research highlights some of the current opportunities and challenges facing Scotland’s innovation ecosystem. Engineering Economy & Place, ananalysis done with Metro Dynamics in 2023, showed that the engineering economy accounted for more than a quarter (26.4%) of all Scottish jobs, with particular engineering employment hotspots found in Aberdeenshire and West Lothian.

Nearly a third of the UK’s deep tech companies are based in Edinburgh, partly thanks to support from organisations focused on developing local economic activity, such as that from Scottish Enterprise. Scotland also leads the UK in investment in spinout companies operating in critical technology sectors such as semiconductors and telecommunications, according to the Academy’s Spotlight on spinouts analysis with Beauhurst.

However, Scotland produces spinouts at a rate 50% lower than the rest of the UK, relative to the amount of research funding received. British Business Bank research indicates that the average equity deal for small to medium enterprises was smaller than the UK average, and the Scottish National Investment Bank has previously identified a funding gap of between £217 million and £1.5 billion for scaleups.

Attract investment

Enterprise Hub Scotland will help to address these challenges by collaborating with other organisations to support engineers and innovators to develop their commercial skills, offering mentoring and profiling deep tech talent within Scotland. The Academy’s network of expert Fellows, funders, business leaders and policymakers will also be able to help attract investment for local entrepreneurs.

Continuing the success of the Academy’s Enterprise Hubs in Northern Ireland and Wales, Enterprise Hub Scotland will offer programmes for entrepreneurial engineers at different career stages, with benefits including: Equity-free funding; smart and flexible training, designed around the needs of entrepreneurs; access to the unique mentoring capability of the highly talented engineers and business leaders that make up the Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship; a dedicated presence in the UK’s nations and regions, embedded in the local ecosystem; and long-lasting ongoing benefit and support from the Academy’s global network.