The right information, advice and support at the right time for business, wherever they are based in Scotland

Key points:

  • Provide significant funding each year to Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise agency to secure sustainable and inclusive growth across all of Scotland
  • Implementing the recommendations of the business-led Strategic Board
  • A single, online point of entry for business support – enabling businesses to rapidly navigate support and speed up decision making on eligibility-based support such as grants
  • We will develop new sector specific action plans for the Food and Drink Industry

We provide over £320 million each year to support Scottish Enterprise (£250m) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (£71m) to promote sustainable and inclusive growth through providing practical support and opportunities for sectors and businesses to develop, grow and invest in Scotland. Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s funding also provides support for community development.

We will maximise the impact of the investment we make in enterprise and skills development by implementing the recommendations of the business-led Strategic Board and ensuring our agencies operate as a single system that delivers the right information, advice and support at the right time for business. This includes building on the established success of the Partnership Action for Continued Employment (PACE) model by enhancing data-led analysis of sectoral and company resilience, to deliver through agencies a consistent yet targeted service to companies across Scotland, when they need support.

We know the importance leadership and management play in driving productivity and workplace innovation, growing fair work practices and in building a sustainable and inclusive economy. In recognition of this, our agencies will build on their current investment in this area and work alongside business, employers, colleges and universities and other partners, to bring forward an enhanced Scottish Business Leadership support offer in the first half of 2020/21. This will include considering options for a new leadership academy or similar model to oversee world class management/leadership training programmes that are accessible across Scotland.


Small businesses support 921,300 jobs in Scotland

We will work with Scottish Enterprise to maximise the impact of the Rural Leadership Programme. We will draw upon ‘graduates’ skills enabling them to: become pacesetters in their sectors and communities, - stimulating business innovation, creativity, know-how and collaboration; and contribute to the development of initiatives that will unleash the potential of rural communities.

We will make it easier and quicker to access business support with funding, training and advice for all company sizes and sectors available through the ‘Find Business Support’ website.

We will also launch the First Minister’s Award for Manufacturing Leadership to recognise the importance of leadership in the sector. This aims to improve efficiency and productivity and encourage collaboration and inclusivity.

We will also test a place-based approach to integrated business support for micro-enterprises operating in rural areas, recognising the different challenges they face such as gaining access to markets and connectivity issues. The approach will aim to deliver flexible support that is tailored to the needs of the business and its geographical location.

To achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the predominantly rural South of Scotland, we are creating a new enterprise agency from 1 April 2020. We have established the legal basis for the new agency in the South of Scotland Enterprise Act 2019. The agency will further sustainable inclusive economic and social development of the region as well as improving its amenity and environment. In advance of the statutory body, we have established South of Scotland Economic Partnership, and committed £13.3m in 2019-2020 to support SOSEP and the delivery of the new agency.

We have pledged £7.5m funding over 2017-2020 towards the Ambition 2030 Food and Drink Industry Strategy to help the sector double its turnover to £30bn by 2030. The strategy contains a range of actions with collaboration between government and industry to support food and drink businesses and help the sector grow. We have published, in collaboration with industry, a number of sectoral action plans covering: fruit and vegetables and potatoes; pigs; and venison; featuring a series of practical actions to drive economic growth in these sectors.

Key resources:

Scottish Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board

Working Collaboratively for a Better Scotland: Strategic Plan

Redundancy support for people and businesses in Scotland

Business rates guidance

Scottish Government: Non-domestic rates

Business growth accelerator relief

South of Scotland Economic Partnership