In 2020, 97.4 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand was met by renewable sources, and greenhouse gases in the country are half the levels of 30 years ago. The UK’s new net zero strategy articulates the central role of renewables in a sustainable energy transition; Scotland’s entrepreneurs are well placed to support.
With Scotland’s public sector demonstrating good progress against environmental goals, how does the private sector stack up in comparison?
Scotland is home to thousands of budding businesses focused on the renewable energy transition – from those dedicated to renewable energy generation and storage, to others focused on consumer usage and more conservative home and business consumption.
Take Intelligent Growth Solutions for example, a Scottish-grown business with some big ideas about tackling food shortages and cutting down carbon footprint from transportation by developing world-leading vertical farming solutions. Or Pawprint, the fast-growing Scottish app which is helping empower individuals to understand the impact they are making on the planet, supported by their employers. Or Renewco Power, who have raised £24m of funding in order to build renewable energy infrastructure capable of powering 2 million homes within five years.
Further, Scotland continues to carve out a leading position in the tech and energy sectors; to see more business owners relocating to take advantage of these favourable tailwinds, and making Scotland the home for their activity and growth, would be no surprise.
In my day-to-day supporting clients at Cazenove Capital, I see first-hand the opportunities for business owners focused on the renewable energy sector and broader sustainability – both to grow their business and contribute to global sustainability challenges. Indeed, Scottish business owners show real innovation in the many and varied solutions they have developed, aimed at reducing our carbon footprint.
We are fortunate to have local government policy that is strongly supportive of businesses and their activity. As a result, private sector appetite for localised investment is strong. So much so that, post-pandemic, private equity in Scotland has rebounded strongly, resulting in a surge in deal flow in the first half of the year. This, combined with a strong local angel investing community makes Scotland an attractive place for business owners. Indeed, figures from LINC Scotland demonstrate investment levels from Scotland’s business angel community into start-ups reached a record £70.2m of investments in the first half of 2021.
Scotland’s historic tendency towards innovation and entrepreneurship, combined with growing private sector interest to deliver on climate objectives, is attracting new investors to seek renewable opportunities in Scotland. Small business owners are well placed to benefit from this investment.
Scotland’s business community has historically played a central role in the UK economy. Now our local business community is playing a central role in the even more critical transition to net zero.
By implementing the right support – in both a public and private capacity – local entrepreneurs will continue to drive this transition.
Bob Hair, Wealth Planning Director, Regional Head of Scotland, Cazenove Capital