Thursday’s referendum in Scotland on independence is being watched by a number of industries there, including its small tech sector.
According to Computerworld U.S. an estimated 79,000 people work in IT out of a workforce of 2.5 million. But because tech is an international business, with software and services sold around the world and consultants moving across borders, people in the industry are worried about the implications of a Yes vote.
As a member of the United Kingdom, residents of Scotland can leverage the advantages of being part of a larger nation. As part of the European Union, Scots can take advantage of a large market.
If Scots vote to secede, questions of currency and foreign investment, EU market access and international trade will have to be settled.
Small wonder the piece quotes Euan Mackenzie, the head of an Edinburgh software development for entrepreneurs as saying, “I’ve never been so scared in my life.”
He worries that independence will make funding harder for startups, there will be a loss of research funding to Scottish universities and even that transportation links to London and Europe will be impacted.
Those on the Yes side argue that Scotland could have its own currency, with the advantages that comes with it — being able to set its own rates to attract investment, for example — as well as policies to foster innovation.
On the other hand, as one expert who conducted a study pointed out, no one knows if devaluing a currency and lower corporate taxes will attract the kind of investment Scotland wants.