WHAT are the biggest challenges facing founders in Scotland who want to grow and scale up their business? That was the question posed to entrepreneurs Lord Willie Haughey and Sir Tom Hunter on yesterday’s Go Radio Business Show.

Guest Caroline MacGregor, founder of Up-Scale, a consultancy that helps companies employing 50-100 staff to scale up, took on board Sir Tom’s advice that securing early-stage finance and peer-to-peer support was the “secret sauce” to success while Lord Haughey suggested that one of the obstacles to growth was resource.

“The message I am getting is that the biggest barrier is resource and that is in both skill and cash – [firms] are trying to get funding and I’m hearing people say they can’t get people,” he said. “I can see a bit of that in my own business.”

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Fife-based Ms MacGregor, who worked in big corporate businesses for many years where she “got a reputation for being able to take on the tough problems”, launched her own consulting business but within just a few months was approached to take on the role of chief people officer at the Dundee-based Snappy Group, the firm behind grocery ordering app Snappy Shopper.

Three years later, she is her own boss and relishing the challenge of helping other business gain the confidence to grow. She explained that when a start-up gets to a certain size, “often the wheels start to come off”, adding: “Things are getting hard, they can’t get their arms around the business in the way they did when it was smaller.

“I can get into that space and work with the founders, and get underneath the skin of these problems. Nine out of 10 problems are human problems and they are very challenging to solve.”

Asked by Lord Haughey how she measures her work, Ms MacGregor said that while it depended on the type of business, some founders simply needed help growing their confidence although other aspects – culture, values and leadership – could be harder to work on.

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But she added: “I am not there to tell – I am there to help them figure out what’s really happening and work together to solve it. You need to get right into the organisation and have conversations with people, and people have to trust you enough to be open and honest with you.”