RSE Enterprise Fellowship programme boosts economy

An evaluation and economic impact assessment carried out by economic consultancy Biggar Economics has found that the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Enterprise Fellowship programme has added almost £170 million to annual global GVA, including £77m in Scotland.

RSE Enterprise Fellowship programme boosts economy

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, RSE chief executive

The report, commissioned by the RSE, which is Scotland’s national academy, has revealed that the programme has led to the creation of more than 3,000 jobs, nearly half (1,395) of which are in Scotland and over 200 businesses.

The report also highlighted that for every £1 investment, the Fellowship programme is estimated to have generated almost £10 for the UK economy and £6 for the Scottish economy.

The study also found that businesses created by Fellows are more sustainable than the average, with over 81% of businesses created still operating beyond five years. Average survival rates for start-ups and spin-outs currently show that around 45% survive to their fifth year.

Biggar Economics predicts the annual economic impact of the Enterprise Fellowship will continue to grow as more fellowships are completed and as existing ones continue to expand.

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, RSE chief executive, said: “This report shows that the Enterprise Fellowship programme is enabling us to identify talented and emerging entrepreneurs and help them develop their ideas, which in turn are bringing about huge benefits for the economy and society.

“The fact that over four-fifths of the companies set up by our Enterprise Fellows are still in business after five years, when high-tech companies have notoriously high failure rates, is testament to the success of the Enterprise Fellowship programme and evidences the value of ongoing investment.”

Professor Andy Porter, vice president business, RSE, and former enterprise fellow, said: “We always suspected that our Enterprise Fellows were generating huge impact commercially, and this report allows us to see the proof in real, financial numbers.

“However, still not captured, even within this report, is the impact from the 25% of Enterprise Fellows that have gone on to become serial entrepreneurs, founding multiple successful businesses. It is this kind of long-term sustainability that the Fellowship programme is aimed at and we want to encourage more of this in future.”

Dr. Caroline Barelle, former Enterprise Fellow and CEO of Elasmogen, a biopharmaceutical company, said: “I didn’t know about legals, employing people, how you get investment, how you spin a company out, how you put a board together. The Fellowship offered that. It gave me the framework and the support system to go through the process. It helped make a conversion from talking science to pitching science.”

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