Techscaler’s ‘Startup First Steps’ founders course launches

Innovation minister Richard Lochhead with Techscaler by CodeBase team and startup founders at Barclays Eagle Labs in Glasgow

CODEBASE’s Techscaler programme has set its sights on creating more entrepreneurs to fuel the Scottish economy, rolling out the ‘Startup First Steps’ founders course across Scotland, aimed at building entrepreneurial mindset, and moving the dial on company creation to drive economic development.

In the Scottish Government-commissioned Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review (STER) in 2020, authored by Scotland’s Chief Entrepreneur Mark Logan, the report revealed that while Scotland’s Total Early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate had more than doubled in the decade since 2010, Scotland’s TEA rate remains below that of many other advanced economies, and that we need more high growth firms to drive growth, productivity, and innovation.

Techscaler, the Scottish Government’s £42 million programme to support the growth of tech startups, was awarded to CodeBase, the UK’s largest technology incubator, in July 2022 as part of recommendations from the STER report.  Techscaler offers a suite of support to startup founders in Scotland including mentorship, community, workspace, and education. Techscaler courses are tailored to each stage of the startup journey, from ideation through to scaling, and beyond.  The range of programmes include Startup Basics, Startup First Steps, and Startup Next Steps, delivered in a hybrid model, online and in person across 7 regional Techscaler hubs in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Dundee, Aberdeen, Dumfries, and Inverness. 

‘Startup First Steps’ is a practical course, designed for current or prospective startup founders in Scotland who are in the early stages of their startup journey with the goal of taking a first version of a product into the market. Sessions will be highly collaborative, with lectures from industry experts and practical activities and group discussions to apply session teachings.

Richard Lochhead, Minister for Small Business, Trade and Innovation, attended a pre-workshop mixer with a selection of cohort participants at the Glasgow Barclays Eagle Lab campus on Wednesday 3rd May. The Minister met with startup founders, course organisers, and mentors to discuss the programme.

In March, Techscaler launched its first advanced scaleup skills development programme in partnership with Silicon Valley-based Reforge, with 47 individuals from 17 organisations participating in a four-week intensive course. The hosting of Techscaler Hubs in several locations across Scotland, along with delivering accessible educational courses, mentorship, and community online, enables people across the country to participate and moves the sole focus of engagement beyond the central belt.

In April, the Scottish Government announced a link-up initiative between Techscaler and the NHS, a partnership to provide world-class expertise and support to young businesses with high growth potential. The partnership gives NHS test bed participants access to Techscaler membership, and Techscaler members will gain access to NHS regional test beds, which will let entrepreneurs work alongside clinicians and have access to anonymised patient data for product and concept testing.

Applications for Techscaler membership are open, interested founders are invited to apply and express interest in upcoming educational cohort programmes. More information can be found at

Scottish Government Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Creating new businesses, generating new ideas and encouraging entrepreneurship through programmes like Techscaler is a key part of the Scottish Government’s ambition to build a wellbeing economy that benefits everyone in Scotland.”

“I was delighted to meet with the first cohort taking part in our national Techscaler network’s ‘Start-up First Steps’ educational programme and hear how it is providing a supportive and collaborative environment for entrepreneurs and start-ups to turn their ideas into reality.”

Jim Newbery, VP of Education at CodeBase, said: “Startup First Steps is a course for founders who are looking to develop an idea into a minimum viable product, through learning early stage best practice and applying tried and tested playbooks.”

“Like all of CodeBase’s programmes, the impact of Techscaler’s Startup First Steps course extends far beyond the workshops; it’s about fostering community and providing space to grow. This is what enables companies to scale, driving overall economic development.”

Genna Masterton, founder of The Gifted Kind, a digital learning platform to support wellbeing in the early years, said: “It’s exciting to be part of Startup First Steps and learn the ropes alongside others who are in the same boat.  I’ve wanted to explore this idea for so long, Techscaler has helped me take the plunge and believe it’s possible.”

Richie Wan, founder of recruitment technology startup RefermyJobs, said: “Techscaler has been great as the course modules are tailored and relevant to an early stage start-up. The community managers have been so welcoming and have been fantastic in building engagement. I feel this is crucial for any founder as we aren’t alone in this journey.”

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