Agency re-focused

Productivity at heart of new Scottish Enterprise mission

Adrian Gillespie
Adrian Gillespie: new start

Scottish Enterprise is being tasked with a key role in boosting the country’s flagging productivity, leading the energy transition and supporting entrepreneurs.

The economic development agency, which is focused mainly on the central belt and north east, unveiled its new plan, Our Focus on Economic Transformation, at an event attended by the First Minister Humza Yousaf in Aberdeen.

The new plan follows a cut in government finance available for the development agencies, announced in Finance Secretary Shona Robison’s Scottish budget in December.

Despite the reduced funding available, Mr Yousaf said the new strategy will “support economic growth by creating high-value jobs, enabling innovation, boosting productivity and attracting investment.”

The agency will target high growth opportunities in areas of energy transition – including offshore wind and hydrogen production – space, photonics and quantum technology, industrial biotechnology, life sciences and fintech.

The scaling innovation mission alone is expected to help businesses create more than 60,000 jobs and enable companies in these industries to generate almost £14 billion additional annual turnover by 2030.

Twenty years ago Scottish Enterprise identified low levels of investment in early-stage companies and business R&D spend as barriers to growth.

The agency re-focused its resources to support companies to tackle these challenges, resulting in significant improvements in performance in the years since – for example the Risk Capital Market in Scotland has grown from £82m in 2005 to £953m in 2022.

During a visit to offshore intelligent energy management and energy storage technology company, Verlume, Scottish Enterprise chief executive Adrian Gillespie said the new strategy “signals the start of a different approach for Scottish Enterprise”

He said: “Scotland has a phenomenal opportunity to harness its unique capabilities to transform the economy and now is the time to sharpen our focus to help drive this.

“Scotland has an excellent track record, for example in Foreign Direct Investment, but there is room for improvement in other areas.

“We are changing the way we are organised, how we work and what we do.

“It signals the start of a different approach for Scottish Enterprise, making sure we do everything we can, alongside our partners, to support ambitious businesses and entrepreneurs and deliver a successful, growing economy for all of Scotland.

“To do this, we will focus on those opportunities that can deliver transformational growth.”tor are constrained, with partnership working to combine resources vital in supporting the agency’s objectives to unlock future transformational opportunities for Scottish businesses, projects and infrastructure.”

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