The newly formed Institute of Ecommerce will unveil its plans for fuelling the Scottish economy at an event for the business community hosted by Dean Lockhart MSP at Holyrood on Tuesday 4 February.

Established by practitioners for practitioners, the Institute aims to capitalise on the £55bn opportunity which ecommerce represents to Scotland, delivering support and training to thousands of Scottish businesses over the next five years.

The UK has the 3rd largest ecommerce turnover in the world, sitting only behind China and the USA. Worth £688 billion, this is the equivalent of German and French ecommerce combined and with 8% of the UK population, Scotland has the potential to generate around £55 billion in online sales.  It is estimated that worldwide retail ecommerce will be worth over US$6 trillion by 2021. 

Dr Peter Mowforth, co-founder of the Institute of Ecommerce said; “Ecommerce now accounts for £688 billion of the UK’s trade, with Government statistics recording it growing at a staggering 18%. Like never before, we need to equip businesses here in Scotland with the skills, techniques and tools to ensure that we don’t get left behind in what is fast becoming the primary mechanism for driving productivity, wealth and exports. Scotland’s Institute of Ecommerce represents a public-private partnership straddling the public sector, business and the education sector in a bold move to get Scotland firmly aboard the ecommerce train.”

The Institute of Ecommerce is partnering with The Business School at the University of Strathclyde to deliver the first Ecommerce course of its kind in the UK, targeted at senior ecommerce managers. Designed to close the skills gap which is the primary handbrake on the growth of ecommerce in Scotland, the first session of the pilot course – which was heavily oversubscribed – took place in January 2020. It is supported by Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland and runs until the end of June, with keynote speakers to include senior figures from Google and Amazon. 

Further specialist and beginners courses are in development as well as a programme of ecommerce grassroots clubs already running in Glasgow and Stirling and due to be extended to Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Digital Economy, Minister Kate Forbes MSP, said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring Scotland has a vibrant digital economy, with digital trade and ecommerce key to achieving this goal. As outlined in ‘A trading nation – an export plan for Scotland’, we support ecommerce programmes which improve productivity, increase competitiveness and allow businesses to reach their full potential in a digital world.

“The Institute of Ecommerce, and its work on analysing data, providing digital skills and building capacity amongst businesses, is helping Scotland achieve our ambition of becoming a leading digital nation.”

ENDS                                                                                                                                                      31 January 2020

For further information about the Institute of Ecommerce, please contact Gaynor Simpson at Vibrant on 07790 104073, email [email protected] or visit

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Notes to Editors

  • New ONS figures putting UK ecommerce turnover at £688bn a year, representing a £55bn a year opportunity for the Scottish economy.
  • The Institute of Ecommerce is a new, grassroots organisation, established by ecommerce practitioners for ecommerce practitioners, with academic support from The University of Strathclyde.
  • The practitioners behind the Institute of Ecommerce include:   
  • Dr Peter Mowforth, Founder and Director of the Institute of Ecommerce.  CEO at INDEZ, Scotland’s longest established web business. Formerly the Founding Director of The Turing Institute.
  • Dr John Anderson, a well-known specialist in entrepreneurship and growth.  Head of SME Engagement at Strathclyde Business School, where he acts as Programme Director on the Scale-Up Institute endorsed Growth Advantage Programme.
  • Gillian Crawford is a former a national newspaper journalist and commentator in Scotland. She has founded two successful ecommerce brands,  and  Gillian is chair of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE) Scotland and an ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland.
  • Graeme Harrowell, Managing Director of Dimensions, a provider of outsourced ecommerce fulfilment and delivery services throughout UK and Europe. Director of Rocio, a rapidly growing Scottish brand that designs, manufactures and sells luxury handmade wooden handbags with an artistic and sustainable focus.
  • Emil Stickland, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Ecommerce. Ecommerce Director at TRR Nutrition and LQ Collagen, two fast growing online supplement brands. Google Squared Alumni, CIMA Qualified, Finance Graduate – Durham University, Speaker and Author.
  • Feedback from the first session on the Ecommerce course includes;
  • Excellent: long time coming but so worthwhile”, Ken McLelland, YARD Direct
    • “Found the topics covered relevant and at the appropriate level. Lots of tips and ideas I can put into practice. Excellent start to the programme”, Teri Macinnes, The PaintShed
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