Scottish Enterprise invests record £568m

Linda Hanna

Scottish Enterprise announced on Tuesday it provided “unprecedented support” for businesses in 2020-21 after investing over £568 million in Scotland’s economy.

“The record level of funding ensured the country’s national economic development agency supported more firms than ever before, resulting in more than £1 billion additional planned private sector investment that secured almost 7,000 planned Real Living Wage jobs for communities the length and breadth of Scotland …” said Scottish Enterprise.

“Projects supported by Scottish Enterprise included significant inward investments, adopting new ways of working including using digital, research & development, early-stage company equity investments and entrepreneurship.

“To help Scotland achieve its net zero aspirations, a high proportion of investment went to projects that will advance the country’s low carbon economic transformation.”

Scottish Enterprise interim chief executive Linda Hanna said: “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic and Brexit, Scotland was able to maintain solid levels of investment which has helped sustain and create employment for many thousands of people.

“Scotland is very much open for business and we look forward to working with our communities to develop further economic opportunities throughout the year ahead.”

Scottish Enterprise’s new CEO Adrian Gillespie starts work on September 1. Gillespie will join Scottish Enterprise from the University of Strathclyde.

In response to the impact of the pandemic on global travel, the agency pivoted its support for exporters in Scotland, maximising digital channels to full effect and delivering more than 100 trade events to almost 5,000 individuals.

“Digitising export support was critical to help identify and support future trade international opportunities,” said Scottish Enterprise.

“As a result, companies were able to forecast international export sales in excess of £1 billion.

“At the outset of the pandemic, Scottish Enterprise designed, developed and rolled out emergency COVID funds resulting in £220 million of grants providing a critical life-line to 4,000 business to help safeguard more than 70,000 jobs.

“The team also played a key role in providing COVID business advice and guidance via and coordinated more than 1,600 offers of industry support to quickly accelerate and scale up Scottish manufacturing of PPE supplies and laboratory equipment to help meet the immediate PPE challenge.”

Hanna added: “As we fast approach the half-way point of this performance year we are seeing encouraging signs with continued appetite for investment.

“We can look to the future with optimism and together with businesses, industries and our partners, Scottish Enterprise is taking action together to deliver more, better jobs and places for the future that will enable shared wealth and wellbeing.”