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Scottish Enterprise has announced unprecedented support for businesses after investing over £568 million in Scotland’s economy in 2020/21.

The record level of funding ensured the country’s national economic development agency supported more firms than ever before, resulting in more than £1 billion* additional planned private sector investment that secured almost 7,000 planned Real Living Wage jobs for communities across Scotland.

Working with domestic and international businesses, Scottish Enterprise's support helped drive innovation and investment in key assets to help companies become more resilient and grow both at home and target markets overseas.

Projects supported by Scottish Enterprise included significant inward investments, adopting new ways of working including using digital, research & development, early-stage company equity investments and entrepreneurship.  To help Scotland achieve its net zero aspirations, a high proportion of investment went to projects that will advance the country’s low carbon economic transformation.

Scottish Enterprise Interim Chief Executive, Linda Hanna, commented:

“Scottish Enterprise is determined to play a key role in supporting Scotland’s economic recovery and deliver a future green economy that is fair for all.  Our performance over the past year shows we are on the path to achieving that.

“We are incredibly proud of these significant achievements in such an extraordinary year but none of it would have been possible without the hard work, determination and strength of Scottish Enterprise colleagues and the many businesses we had the privilege to work with.

“Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic and Brexit, Scotland was able to maintain solid levels of investment which has helped sustain and create employment for many thousands of people.  Scotland is very much open for business and we look forward to working with our communities to develop further economic opportunities throughout the year ahead."

This strong performance was evident across all services provided by Scottish Enterprise.

In response to the impact of the pandemic on global travel, the agency completely pivoted its support for exporters in Scotland, maximising digital channels to their full effect and delivering more than 100 trade events to almost 5,000 individuals.  Digitising export support was critical to help identify and support future trade international opportunities.

As a result, companies were able to forecast international export sales in excess of £1 billion.

At the outset of the pandemic, Scottish Enterprise designed, developed and rolled out emergency COVID funds resulting in £220 million of grants providing a critical life-line to 4,000 business to help safeguard more than 70,000 jobs.

Linda continued:

“As we fast approach the half-way point of this performance year we are seeing encouraging signs with continued appetite for investment.  We can look to the future with optimism and together with businesses, industries and our partners, Scottish Enterprise is taking action together to deliver more, better jobs and places for the future that will enable shared wealth and wellbeing."

Key takeaways

  • Over 2020/21 Scottish Enterprise invested over £568m into domestic and international businesses, boosting Scotland’s economy.
  • As well as record breaking investment, Scottish Enterprise also supported businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, offering digital support and facilitating emergency funding.

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Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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