Deputy First Minister announces new £5m funding package for Scotland at the National Robotarium



Conan Bradley, CTO of Bioliberty, a tech start-up based at the National Robotarium, meets Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes
Conan Bradley, CTO of Bioliberty, a tech start-up based at the National Robotarium, meets Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes

The National Robotarium, one of Heriot-Watt’s flagship Global Research Institutes, hosted the newly appointed Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Kate Forbes MSP, on Monday 20 May.

The Cabinet Secretary chose the UK’s centre for robotics and AI as the venue to announce a new £5 million funding package, created by the Scottish Government to boost the economy and attract international investment.

Targeted at start-up businesses, spinouts and female entrepreneurs, the scheme will help deliver end-to-end support as part of the government’s ongoing commitment to developing a world-class technology sector in Scotland.

During the visit, led by National Robotarium Business Development Manager, Lisa Farrell, and Chief Operating Officer, Steve Maclaren, alongside Heriot-Watt University’s Vice-Principal and Provost, Professor Steve McLaughlin, the Deputy First Minister met a number of start-up tech companies, who are advancing their business and technology through access to the centre’s high-spec laboratories, office space and robotics expertise.

Companies benefitting from the National Robotarium’s business acceleration support include Frontier Robotics, BioLiberty, Crover, Touchlab Ltd and newest residents, Danu Robotics, all of whom spoke to the Economy Secretary about how crucial centres like the National Robotarium are for growing Scotland’s start-up business community and retaining its tech talent and skills base.

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes said:

“Innovation is at the very heart of our economy. We have the talent, the skills and the facilities to make Scotland one of Europe’s fastest-growing start-up economies: an economy that is strong, successful and dynamic.

“This package of measures, which builds on the multi-million investment the Scottish Government is already making into our start-up business community, forms the next step in providing one of the most comprehensive government-backed support networks in Europe.”

Business Development Manager, Lisa Farrell said:

“It was an honour to host the Deputy First Minister and showcase some of the start-ups that are getting a head-start through our business incubation and acceleration support.

“Facilities like the National Robotarium are proven to attract a range of talented and dynamic companies in their infancy. However, we need to ensure that we have a supportive infrastructure that allows them to remain in Scotland while they grow their business and scale-up production.

“I welcome the announcement that the Scottish Government are committed to delivering additional resource that will foster real economic growth through its start-up community and grow its roster of female entrepreneurs.”

Also in attendance were Mark Logan, Chief Entrepreneurial Advisor to the Scottish Government, and Ana Stewart, a tech entrepreneur and investment partner, both of whom produced a Pathways report last year that highlighted recommendations for improving under-representation of women in entrepreneurship.


Louise Jack | Communications Manager