2Richard Y. Weaver
Lexington, MA 02173
2Glasgow Caledonian University
Telephone: 1617-862-6007, 244-141-337-4028
Fax: 1617-862-1027, 244-141-337-4206
This paper examines the development, implementation and effectiveness of the Business Birthrate Strategy in Scotland which is a program developed by Scottish Enterprise?the UK government funded economic development organisation?to establish an entrepreneurial reformation in Scotland. It examines the reasons why increasing new firm formation was found to be both a key factor in establishing a growing economy and why Scotland had a historic problem with its own rate of venture creation which it would have to overcome if its economy were to grow. The Strategy developed from these findings defined the major areas of change required nationally as: change in attitudes towards entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, change in the educational system, and change in the mechanics of to access capital, and sought to involve the widest community in the solutions for each. Published in 1994 the strategy set as an overall target the creation of 25,000 extra new businesses ,and nation-wide awareness of the processes and practices of entrepreneurship by the year 2000. Different methods were used to solve each area but all involved partnership from differing sectors of the community as well as support across the political parties. Progress in each area has been charted and the results of the post intervention review show positive effect in all areas.
Various data collection techniques were employed to develop the strategy, and evaluate progress. These included surveys, personal interviews, and desk research. Dunn & Bradstreet provided a valuable source of secondary data. MORI, the international survey company, provided the primary data source both pre and post campaign. During the campaign surveys were carried out on specific aspects to assist in tactical definition as well as gauge the likely response of key groups. The strategy formulation used an "Enquiry Process" which was developed specifically for this exercise which has proved successful and therefore has been used since to define other key economic strategies. Principally it involves series of small and large group meetings iterating research findings into strategy at different levels and thus gaining acceptance and ownership of the strategy by the key implementing groups as it progresses.
Interventions can be developed which can change attitudes and perceptions of key aspects of entrepreneurship. Government however cannot do these on its own and a key finding of the Business Birthrate Strategy has been the critical need for active partners outside government if real change is to take place. The press and media have a significant role to play in any national change and it is imperative that they are an integral part of the process as well. The education system at all levels and ages is ready to embrace entrepreneurship as it sees it as a key life skill for people in the 21st Century. Access to capital must be viewed in all its aspects and as a competitiveness issue if any real progress is to be made. Post intervention studies show that already positive changes are occurring both in the attitudes of the Scottish population to entrepreneurship and the number of new firms being created.
Concerted action involving the whole community?including government?can have a significant positive action on new venture creation. Since the problems and challenges that Scotland had to overcome contain generic elements which could be common across many countries then it is likely that these processes and solutions can be used elsewhere.