THE founder and chief executive of the pro-independence group Business for Scotland has admitted losing “a significant amount of money” after his sole business venture was wound up.

Gordon Macintyre-Kemp, who is behind a new fundraising campaign for a second referendum, put more than £50,000 into a social media consultancy that ended with net assets of £594.

Intelligise Limited, which was based at Mr Macintyre-Kemp’s home in Jordanhill in Glasgow, was “dissolved via voluntary strike-off” in February 2016, the Herald can reveal.

In a video appeal for the “Business for Scotland Indyref2 Crowdfunder” last week, Mr Macintyre-Kemp said: “We’re business owners, directors and entrepreneurs.”

However he now has no outside business of his own, and is a full-time salaried employee of Business for Scotland, the donation-funded thinktank he set up in August 2012.

He said switching career to fight for a Yes vote cost him money.

Opposition parties questioned the organisation’s credibility in light of the admission.

Mr Macintyre-Kemp, 50, who formerly worked in marketing, founded Intelligise in 2009 as a “rapid growth optimisation social media and engagement marketing consultancy” aimed at blue chip firms keen to get more out of social media; he was its sole director and shareholder.

An archive copy of the now-vanished Intelligise website states: “We stay small so that Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp can lead every project with additional skills being brought in from a trusted list of best practice subcontractors as required.

“We assist clients to understand the new science of marketing and help them in the integration of social media, SEO, digital marketing, web analytics, microsite marketing, usability, online community and content management into a single, joined-up, rapid-growth strategy.”

But its accounts suggest much of the cash going through the firm came from Mr Macintyre-Kemp himself, with loans of £10,445, £7,000 and £35,000 in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The first two loans were subsequently repaid, according to the final set of accounts, which covered the year to 31 January 2014.

Debtors and cash at the bank then amounted to £51,819 and £783, giving total assets of £52,602, but the amount owed to creditors was £52,008, leaving net assets of £594.

Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “Given the weakness of argument put forward by Business for Scotland, it’s perhaps no surprise to see such a dearth of expertise on its leader’s CV. Real business leaders with real life experience had deep-seated concerns about separation. Perhaps it’s time for Business for Scotland to listen to people who actually know.”

A Labour source added: "Business for Scotland lost all credibility during the 2014 referendum and it is off to a bad start yet again with these revelations.”

Mr Macintyre-Kemp, who still calls himself @theintelligiser on Twitter, told The Herald: “I decided to change my career from running Intelligise to becoming a full-time campaigner for independence, and as a direct result of that the business did not carry on.

“If I were to look at how much I lost, in terms of moving from being a consultant to running this, then it would be a significant amount of money, but I don’t regret it one little bit.

“We have become an influential and important business network and an important part of the campaign.”

Asked if the Intelligise losses undermined his credibility to speak for business, he said: “No. Had I not switched to Business for Scotland, I don’t believe there would have been any issues. I would probably still be running Intelligise, and it would still be trading just now.”