Scottish Enterprise is working to help companies source the right funding to fuel growth

Group engineering director Ken Scott of Alexander Dennis
Group engineering director Ken Scott of Alexander Dennis
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Whether an early-stage small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a fully-established larger firm, Scottish Enterprise offers access to a range of funding options and support to ensure that Scotland’s diverse array of companies continue to grow and excel.

The public body, Scotland’s national economic development agency, offers tailored support on an individual basis, to help businesses across all sectors meet their overall objectives and ambitions.

Alexander Dennis has benefitted from Scottish Enterprise's funding and expertise

Alexander Dennis has benefitted from Scottish Enterprise's funding and expertise

At various stages of a company’s lifecycle, Scottish Enterprise can provide a diverse range of support including commercial equity investments with private sector partners; grants leading to the creation of jobs and increased innovation; loans to fund growth and expansion and an array of business advice and support.

Rhona Allison, a director at Scottish Enterprise, says: “We are focussed on growing the Scottish economy and a major part of that is how we work together with companies to understand their plans.

“We help ambitious companies grow and deliver more and better jobs for Scotland."

The organisation offers a wide range of funding options to companies in Scotland looking to realise their growth ambitions.

Alexander Dennis has benefitted from Scottish Enterprise's funding and expertise

Alexander Dennis has benefitted from Scottish Enterprise's funding and expertise

Allison explains: “Getting the right support at the right time to develop and grow your business can be critical to success, whether that is clarifying and focusing the strategic direction; deciding which markets to expand into; what innovation to invest in and when, then we can help by providing a comprehensive package of support to help companies deliver their ambitions.

She points to bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis as an example. The Falkirk-based company recently secured a €220 million contract to supply at least 70 of its Enviro500 double-decker buses for export to Berlin by 2020.

Alexander Dennis’ growth has more than tripled in the last ten years from an annual turnover of £170m in 2006 to consistently in excess of £600m, and is on track to deliver its strongest revenues ever in 2018. Scottish Enterprise has worked with and supported the firm through their growth journey.

That assistance included a £7.3m research and development (R&D) grant in 2016 – Scotland’s biggest at the time – which secured 101 jobs with the aim of reaching a £1 billion annual turnover by 2020.

Ambitious companies like Alexander Dennis can also access equity funding through the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

The Scottish Investment Bank can potentially provide equity funding of up to 50 per cent for businesses that have a gap in their overall funding package.

“The Scottish Investment Bank makes commercial investment alongside a range of private sector investors, including high-net worth individuals, venture capitalists and private-equity houses, at various stages of a company’s life cycle” adds Allison.

Last year, the bank invested £43m into 147 companies, leveraging more than £200m of private sector investment.

Scottish Enterprise can also provide commercial loans of between £250,000 and £2m, and up to £5m in exceptional circumstances, to growth-focussed companies that have a viable business plan and a clear ability to repay the debt.

To ensure businesses receive the right type of funding at the right time, the organisation suggests speaking to their team of experts as soon as possible.

“Experience tells us the earlier we start the conversation with a company about their plans for expansion or growth the better, and the more impact we and the company can have in delivering the overall objective,” says Allison.

And all companies in all sectors can benefit from Scottish Enterprise, and not just through funding, thanks to experienced advisors who are well connected throughout Scotland and beyond.

Furthermore, the organisation’s 600-strong GlobalScot network continues to link business expertise from across the world to help make sense of the international markets.

Allison says: “When we look at Scotland’s economy right now, we know important it is to encourage growth and innovation for all-sized organisations.

“Our role is to help stimulate that growth. We see massive opportunities across all sectors.”
Whatever the size, type or stage of a business, Scottish Enterprise can offer a wealth of assistance to assist its sustainability, innovation and that it contributes to Scotland’s prosperity.

Allison adds: “We have a suite of support that can help the majority of companies.

“If you are not already doing so, come and talk to us if you are a firm that is really going to add economic value and has aspirations to grow.

“We help businesses find the solution.”

To find out how Scottish Enterprise can help your business develop, visit