I blame the media.
No, we’re not talking superinjunctions this time; it’s just a bit of a misunderstanding, that’s all. But passions are running high.
As I’m sure most of my regular readers are aware, I’m involved in a community (a tribe?) with an interest in the Scottish entrepreneurial scene. In case you missed it, there was a bit of a furore last week, about the latest GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) report that shows Scotland lagging behind most other countries when it comes to new business start-ups.
The report surveys 2000 people every year, asking them about their attitudes to setting up a business and the likelihood that they will do so. The annual report started in 2000, and the data collection techniques are comparable, so there is no reason to doubt the data. So why the fuss?
Well, the problem is that those of us in our community (tribe/clan?) don’t recognise what the report is saying. In our circles, the Scottish entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking. Certainly, in my role as CEO of SIE, I see plenty of amazing young people with great passion and drive, who plan to start their own businesses.
There is clearly a mismatch in perceptions. If we are seeing all these amazing entrepreneurial people, why is the survey not picking them up? If it is, then our own viewpoint is blinkering our view of the reality amongst the general population of Scotland.
So why do I blame the media? Are they not just reporting the facts? Well, yes they are, if the report is a true reflection of the situation in Scotland. But people believe what they read in the papers and what they hear in the media (old and new). So if we want perceptions and attitudes to change, we need to get much more positive in our reporting. Of course the media should report the facts, but can’t it also shine a light on all the good work that is being done by a number of organisations to encourage the spirit of enterprise in Scotland?