Scottish Enterprise cheers record investment of nearly £570m in Scots firms

Scottish Enterprise has injected more than £568 million into Scotland’s economy in 2020/21, it has revealed today, hailing its “unprecedented” support for businesses against the backdrop of the pandemic.

The organisation – Scotland's national economic development agency and a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government – said the “record” level of funding ensured it backed more firms than ever before.

It also said its support resulted in more than £1 billion in additional planned private sector investment that secured almost 7,000 planned Real Living Wage jobs for communities across Scotland. The £1bn-plus sum comprised planned research and development (R&D) investment of £444m; planned capital expenditure of £366m; and growth funding raised by businesses of £254m.

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Furthermore, the agency highlighted support it provided specifically to help firms withstand the impact of Covid.

The agency said projects helping it achieve its targets include Arcola Energy creating jobs at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (pictured). Picture: contributed.

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Scottish Enterprise noted that it works with domestic and international businesses, and said its support “helped drive innovation and investment in key assets to help companies become more resilient and grow both at home and target markets overseas”.

Projects it backed included “significant” inward investments, adopting new ways of working including using digital, research and development, early-stage company equity investments and entrepreneurship. A high proportion of investment went to projects that will advance the country’s low-carbon economic transformation, it added.

It said live projects contributing to key achievements included life sciences firm LumiraDx outlining a major investment in its current Scottish operations, and Arcola Energy confirming plans to set up shop at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee.

Scottish Enterprise in May said businesses and organisations would need to demonstrate their net-zero commitment as a condition of its support, as it laid out spending plans of £400m.

The organisation’s interim chief executive Linda Hanna today said: “Scottish Enterprise is determined to play a key role in supporting Scotland’s economic recovery and deliver a future green economy that is fair for all. Our performance over the past year shows we are on the path to achieving that.

“We are incredibly proud of these significant achievements in such an extraordinary year… 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."

Maximising

Scottish Enterprise said that in response to the pandemic hampering global travel, it pivoted its support for exporters in Scotland, maximising digital channels and delivering more than 100 trade events to almost 5,000 people. “As a result, companies were able to forecast international export sales in excess of £1bn,” the agency added.

It also pointed out that at the outset of the pandemic, it designed, developed and rolled out emergency funds, resulting in £220m of grants “providing a critical life-line to 4,000 business to help safeguard more than 70,000 jobs”

The team also coordinated more than 1,600 offers of industry support to quickly accelerate and scale up Scottish manufacturing of personal protective equipment supplies and laboratory equipment to help meet immediate demand.

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

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