IS Scottish business facing a funding crisis? That might be too much of an exaggeration. But, when a leading entrepreneur such as Mike Welch echoes concern previously raised by Jim McColl, it is safe to say there is an issue to resolve.

While the major banks publicly declare they are keen to lend to small and medium-sized businesses, there is no doubt it has become harder for firms to secure the backing they need from the high street lenders since the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. And with the interest rate expected to rise again in May, as the Bank of England bids to bring inflation under control, it could be about to become more expensive to borrow from the traditional lenders.

Of course, Mr Welch, best known for creating and selling for £50 million, has something to gain by backing new and growing companies through his Full Circle Partners vehicle. But that does not make his observation about the funding gap faced by businesses as they seek the growth capital they need any less valid.

Granted, alternative funding sources have emerged since the financial crash, including crowdfunding and peer to peer lenders. But, anecdotally at least, it would not appear that they have come close to filling the void left as banks have tightened their activity.

On a more positive note, Mr Welch said that entrepreneurs today have a much more visible network of private investors, such as business angels, to pitch to for investment. His observation that the pipeline of business ideas and talent coming through in Scotland must surely be celebrated too.