Jim McColl, the millionaire chairman of Clyde Blowers, said there was a clear appetite for more powers, and if it wasn't addressed then people might well pick independence over nothing.
He also hinted he may help lead or fund any public campaign for having more powers as a third option on the referendum ballot paper.
He told the Sunday Herald: "My fear would be that there are enough people out there that realise that the status quo isn't good enough.
"If the only option to get more powers is independence, then some people may be forced to go there that don't want to go there. That would be a strong argument for a third question [in the referendum]."
McColl, a supporter of the SNP and Alex Salmond but not of independence, said Westminster's attitude could also drive a break-up of the UK.
"All the polls are showing there isn't really the appetite yet.
"Maybe it would swing that way if the message coming from London was, 'Get back in your box, you're not getting anything else.' It would raise people's hackles."