• Dougie Potter

SMEs – no risk, no reward?

Updated: Feb 3


Behaviour and Motivation of Businesses in Scotland (Ipsos Mori 2018)

Research conducted by Ipsos Mori across Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland was commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2018 because at the time

  • Scotland produced only half as many scaling start-ups versus the rest of UK.

  • Scotland was below the EU average for medium sized enterprises engaging in innovative behaviours.


The Research grouped businesses into three categories: Growth Averse (don’t want to grow), Ambivalent (want to grow little and slowly) and Ambitious (actively want to grow). As you can see from the diagram above

- Growth Averse prioritise lifestyle choices

- Growth Ambivalent fear risk

- Growth Ambitious want rewards


Across the piece, however, SMEs cited a lack of skills, a lack of time and resource, financial constraints and uncertainty about the future as barriers to future growth.


That is perhaps why when we move forward to Scotland in 2021 and look at the National Performance Framework Indicators we see that the number of registered businesses per 10,000 adults has remained fairly static around 390 since 2016 and the number of High Growth businesses remains flat at 1.1% over the same period.

In addition, the percentage of innovative businesses dropped from 45% in 2017 survey to 32.2% in 2019, which is the latest data available.


Remember, most of this data is pre-covid. It may be even worse now!


What’s happening is that the very people the support structure in Scotland is set up to help don’t have the time, money or inclination to take what they see as unnecessary risks to attain the rewards from growth.


That is quite a conundrum. How do you solve it?


Reduce Risk and Increase Reward


What if there was a proven system for innovation that could reduce risk and increase reward for SMEs who were not Growth Averse?


There is! It is known as Innovation Engineering, and has been used by tens of thousands of SMEs to deliver successful innovations. That is not an opinion or an empty boast. It is simply a fact, based on freely available data.


The Innovation Engineering Institute has the only data base in the world with over £15 billion pounds worth of innovations in its pipeline as evidence. It has proven tools and techniques embedded in a total system for innovation guaranteed to reduce risk. Their own benchmarking comparisons with conventional business processes show a 10x greater innovation success rate alongside a 72% increase in value and 6x faster rate to market.


Significant rewards await any Growth Ambivalent or Growth Ambitious SME that has the vision to embed this system in their business. The team at Eureka!Europe stands ready to work with any SMEs that want to make that vision a reality


Create Time and Space


Of course, creating the time and space for SMEs to learn and apply innovation skills is a different kind of challenge.

One which requires the combined efforts of partners across the Scottish ecosystem to address.


My Call to Action to those public and private stakeholders is simple


- Read the Scottish Government Research that has been conducted with SMEs here.

- Look at the National Performance Framework Indicators to see the impact here.

- Collaborate NOW, with us to drive sustainable economic growth for Scotland here.


Surely the time is nigh for Scotland to realise its full innovation potential. Through Innovation Engineering an opportunity exists to bring about the change that has eluded us for so long.

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