Former Skyscanner senior exec Mark Logan will advise on how IT industry can help drive recovery
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Former Skyscanner chief operating officer Mark Logan has been appointed to oversee work to turn Scotland into a world-class technology hub as part of the post-Covid economic recovery.
Logan, who is now a professor of computing at the University of Glasgow, will advise the Scottish Government on implementing the recommendations of his independent review of the Scottish tech sector ecosystem, which was published in August 2020.
The programme to implement his recommendations will be supported by £7m of Scottish Government funding in its first year. This will include £1m to make strategic investments in organisations and activities such as tech conferences, meet-ups or training programmes that create the best possible environment for Scottish start-ups to succeed.
Procurement for a network of growth-focused entrepreneurial hubs known as ‘tech scalers’ will also open for bids later this year.
It is expected that there will be five tech scalers around Scotland by 2022, with the aim of supporting around 300 start-ups over the next five years.
Logan will be supported by a gender-balanced advisory board made up of entrepreneurs and digital leaders, including Lesley Eccles, founder and CEO of HelloRelish and co-founder of gaming platform Fanduel; Roan Lavery, co-founder of online accounting firm FreeAgent; Sarah Ronald, founder of Nile HQ service design agency; and Stephen Ingledew, executive chair of FinTech Scotland.
Finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “Mark is one of the most respected figures in Scotland’s tech scene and his experience, passion and global profile will be invaluable in our joint mission to elevate the tech ecosystem to world-class level. The expertise and industry perspective of the advisory board will also be instrumental in ensuring we create the conditions and infrastructure needed to incubate a stream of start-ups that reach sustained profitability and can do so at scale.
“From attracting young people into computing science courses to supporting a community of high-growth businesses, this programme of work will be critical in determining the future contribution of Scotland’s tech sector to our economic recovery.”
Logan said: “It’s very exciting to witness the shared sense of mission and ambition across government, industry and the education sector in bringing the tech ecosystem review’s recommendations to life. I’m pleased to have the support of such an experienced board as we strive to make Scotland a leading technology economy.”
The appointment was welcomed by tech industry body ScotlandIS.
ScotlandIS interim CEO Karen Meechan said: “Scotland’s tech ecosystem will be given a great boost by today’s news that Mark Logan will lead the tech scalers programme. I have no doubt that the programme will help create the conditions for incubation and growth for Scotland’s tech companies and build on the good foundations and support that already exist.”