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Strategy outlined

Scottish Investment Bank to be ‘lifted and shifted’ into new bank

New strategy: Lord Smith and Steve Dunlop (pic: Terry Murden)

The Scottish Investment Bank will be broken up and its operations split between Scottish Enterprise and the new Scottish National Investment Bank, it emerged today.

Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said SIB, which is managed by Scottish Enterprise, will become part of the SNIB which has a wider remit. It will operate independently of SE with its own board and management. It is due to begin operating in the middle of next year with a £2 billion taxpayer-funded budget over 10 years.

SIB has taken stakes in early stage growth firms alongside other partners, such as private equity and venture capital companies. 

Mr Dunlop, giving an update on SE’s strategy to the media at its Glasgow headquarters, said there were some complex arrangements to be worked out. While SIB clients would move to the new bank, some will also continue to be clients of Scottish Enterprise. 

The move will also affect the portion of SE’s budget allocated to running SIB and the income it derives from it.

“The Scottish Investment Bank will transition to the Scottish National Investment Bank. SIB will be lifted and shifted into it,” he said.

Some staff with SIB will remain with SE but most will move to SNIB which will have three key missions: carbon reduction, digital development and a focus on “place”.

On the wider SE strategy, Mr Dunlop said a one-stop point of entry will be created through a portal that would “democratise business support”.

He admitted that the agency’s greater focus on inclusivity and identifying business talent in economic ‘cold spots’ would require some form of measurement to allow for its success to be assessed.

As Scots we have no enemies in the world

– Lord Smith

“We are obsessed by measurement and we spend a lot of resource on measurement, but in economic development you cannot put £1 in and see a return straight away. Sometimes you are laying the ground work.”

He said there would be more emphasis on building partnerships with colleges and other institutions. High growth firms would still be supported, but the “hunting and gathering” for talent would be spread more widely.

The Global Scot network would be expanded from 700 to 2,500 in order to spread the message about Scotland.

Lord Smith said he had welcomed his appointment as chairman as an opportunity to “put something back”.

The 75-year-old, who has chaired blue chip firms such as Weir Group and Alliance Trust, took over on 1 August and said he had been “impressed by the quality of the team” at SE.

He said more effort would be made to harness the network of global Scots who provide Scottish firms with routes to export and expansion overseas.

“As Scots we have no enemies in the world,” he said, adding that at home he could see greater scope for agencies to work more closely in partnerships.

“Scotland is a small country. We should be able to get folk in a room and say ‘let’s co-operate, let’s work together.'”

See also:

Comment: Dunlop treads a path strewn with familiar obstacles

Scottish Enterprise responds to critics with more RSA for Scots

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