Scottish Enterprise’s new focus can unlock thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds

Scottish Enterprise’s new focus can unlock thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds

Scottish Enterprise has unveiled its future focus to help unlock thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds of global growth opportunities to deliver a more successful, greener and fairer economy.

The global economy moves quickly, and Scottish Enterprise has stressed that it must change its priorities, approach and structure to meet Scotland’s economic needs now and help shape Scotland’s future economy.

To deliver this, the agency is changing the way it works with Scottish businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them to face into persistent challenges and grow their companies through the introduction of a mission-based approach. This change will require a sustained effort over time on those opportunities that most effectively drive up levels of business innovation, capital investment and international activity for the greatest economic impact.

Businesses and entrepreneurs will experience intensive levels of Scottish Enterprise support with the ambition of delivering a step-change in Scotland’s economic performance.

Scottish Enterprise has previously achieved this when, 20 years ago, it 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.

With low levels of innovation and productivity recognised as barriers to business competitiveness, the time is right to again re-focus Scottish Enterprise’s resources across three new missions. Evidence shows there is significant potential to transform Scotland’s economy with these missions, and Scottish Enterprise’s core skills and expertise in innovation, investment and internationalisation can support a significant improvement in economic performance.

The three missions are: developing an energy transition, scaling innovation and entrepreneurship, and increasing productivity through capital investment in facilities and equipment.

The national economic development agency’s new plan, Our Focus on Economic Transformation, was officially launched by the First Minister during a visit to offshore intelligent energy management and energy storage technology company, Verlume, in Aberdeen today.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “Scottish Enterprise has an important role to play in driving the energy transition and advancing our vision of a fair, green and growing economy.

“This strategy builds on a strong track record of achievement and sets out how it will do this in alignment with the Scottish Government’s priorities: to support economic growth by creating high-value jobs, enabling innovation, boosting productivity and attracting investment.

“I welcome the specific emphasis Our Focus has on continuing to build close relationships with businesses and stakeholders to support that economic transformation.”

As part of these missions, Scottish Enterprise will target high growth opportunity areas of energy transition (including offshore wind and hydrogen production), space, photonics and quantum technology, industrial biotechnology, life sciences and fintech.

This approach will also mean increased agility and pace of delivery on major opportunities across the agency’s activities, as well as closer alignment and collaboration with partners. To support this, it also requires a change in the way the organisation is structured, how the missions are led and how they are embedded into the work of everyone at Scottish Enterprise.

As a result, Scottish Enterprise expects to help businesses create, safeguard and transition thousands of jobs by 2030. For example, the scaling innovation mission alone is expected to help businesses create over 60,000 jobs and enable companies in these industries to generate almost £14 billion additional annual turnover by 2030.

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Adrian Gillespie, commented: “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 need a future economy that drives up levels of investment and innovation that positively impacts economic performance and generates wealth for everyone in Scotland. We are changing the way we are organised, how we work and what we do, to help secure that.

“Our Focus is our blueprint to enable our businesses to deliver high value jobs, boost their levels of innovation and productivity, and create wealth for Scotland’s economy.

“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.”

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