Leach has a point.
The country that gave us haggis, kilts and Billy Connolly is also Europe’s best location for foreign direct investment and a breeding ground for new businesses.
Scotland was recently awarded European Region of the Future 2008 by the Financial Times FDI magazine, beating off competition from 38 other nations and regions in Europe. The number of enterprises in the country has increased by 20 per cent between 1999 and 2007 with SMEs accounting for 99 per cent of enterprises and 53 per cent of employment
“It’s a fantastic place to build a company,” says Leach, who set up his digital media agency there in 1997 and now turns over £70m.
“It has a thriving economy, a good quality of life and labour is slightly cheaper. Plus, two of Britain’s top universities [St Andrews and Edinburgh] are here, so we get bundles of smart graduates.”
When Leach needs a spot of entrepreneurial advice, he doesn’t have to search hard. His mentor is fellow countryman Mel Young, who set up The Big Issue – the weekly magazine sold by homeless people – in Scotland in the early nineties.
“I worked in The Big Issue’s marketing department for a couple of years and we met there. He’s one of those really inspiring, committed guys – and he’s based down the road in the Edinburgh port of Leith.”