Scottish Enterprise helps generate £1.3bn

COMPANIES supported by Scottish Enterprise (SE) enjoyed combined turnover growth of £1.3 billion in the 2014-15 financial year, it was revealed yesterday.
SEs Rhona Allison: We work intensively with companiesSEs Rhona Allison: We work intensively with companies
SEs Rhona Allison: We work intensively with companies

The news was praised by Deputy First Minister John Swinney as a welcome boost to Scotland’s economy, and the amount achieved fell within the target of £1.2-£1.4bn that SE set in the previous year.

The organisation said its “account management” service entails a manager working “intensively” with a company’s management team to understand its main hurdles and identify new growth opportunities. Key areas of focus are exporting, innovation, business efficiency and leadership.

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The enterprise agency said there was growth overall among the account-managed companies which provided it with turnover statistics, including strong increases in sectors such as technologies and engineering, and financial and businesses services.

Swinney said he was “delighted” to see strong growth this year from companies operating in key industries such as these, adding that the enabling technologies and information and computer technology sector is expected to achieve strong international growth next year. Companies in that sector foresee the greatest significant growth in the current financial year.

Swinney added: “The Scottish Government is working closely with Scottish Enterprise and other agencies to support companies to expand, connect with new and emerging markets, and to retain Scotland’s position as the best place to do business.”

SE’s senior director of company growth Rhona Allison added: “Companies tell us that our account-management service is helping them to grow and expand, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing such positive figures around turnover growth.

“We work intensively with these companies because we know that’s what generates the greatest economic impact for Scotland.

“These are ambitious companies who have clearly shown that by innovating, investing in their future and searching out new opportunities in international markets, they can grow their operations and create jobs.”

SE said that under the account-management service, support tailored to each company’s specific needs is provided by specialists from across the enterprise organisation as well as Scottish Development International and partner organisations, to help companies tackle specific issues.

Meanwhile, Social Investment Scotland (SIS) yesterday highlighted the role professional services can play in the development of the social enterprise sector.

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The lender of finance to Scotland’s third sector is launching a campaign to open up the world of social investment, and is hosting a series of workshops, aimed at both those in a professional advisory role and third-sector organisations, taking place across Scotland until January next year.

Alastair Davis, chief executive of SIS, said: “Over the past year, we have seen a significant increase in the supply and availability of social investment funds. During that time, SIS has secured £23 million of new or renewed investment commitments.

“However, we need to ensure that demand keeps pace with supply, which means that we need to continue increasing awareness and understanding of social investment amongst third sector organisations.”

Since 2001, SIS has invested more than £43m in almost 200 organisations across Scotland.