Historically a pioneer and entrepreneurial powerhouse, Scotland has a proud tradition of innovation and new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, advanced manufacturing, precision medicine and the “internet of things” are driving the next generation of tech firms.
Our technology sector is increasingly important to the economy, contributing more than £5bn GVA last year.
Between 2010 and 2015 there was a 53% increase in the number of new tech businesses compared with a 19% increase in start-ups across Scottish business more generally. One of the biggest challenges for tech entrepreneurs is accessing funding. Often, a greal deal of investment is required for R&D before tech businesses can take their products to market. To assist, Johnston Carmichael has built a team of advisers who are highly experienced at helping fast growth businesses to maximise vital tax reliefs and access the capital they require to achieve growth. Last year alone we delivered £65m of tech-focused corporate finance deals.
As the go-to firm for Scotland’s tech innovators and incubators we also actively engage with and support the scene. Our approach includes partnerships with some of the Scotland’s most-informative technology schemes, including EIE, Scottish Edge and StartUp Summit. Across Scotland our team is now working with 500 up and coming technology SMEs.
Among the ambitious start ups we’re assisting is Aberdeen-based EBar Initiatives. Established by two RGU MBA graduates in response to the excruciatingly long bar queues that we all experience at major events, its first product is the EBar, a self-service beverage dispenser that pours the perfect pint in seconds. The business recently won £75,000 in funding from Scottish Edge, a Dragons’ Den-style competition for start ups.
Initially appointed by EBar as its accountancy partner, our relationship with the company will develop as it grows.
For example, when EBar entered its first external funding round, it invited us to undertake a review of its business plan which included challenging the founders’ forecast models and assumptions. Recently we’ve been working with EBar to explore a staff incentive scheme to encourage its team to excel and provide employees with a sense of ownership.
While we’re proud of the support we provide to the flourishing sector we recognise that there is no one size fits all. Our advisers have the experience to work with businesses at all stages of their growth.
By Emma Park, tax manager at Johnston Carmichael