More competitive businesses
Internationally competitive companies achieve better performance and growth, so we provide the right support and advice to help businesses innovate and invest
We will work with companies to develop fair and more productive business practices, encouraging diversity in the workforce by supporting high value jobs, youth employment and more women into leadership roles because companies that do these things report real benefits for their employees and for their bottom line.
Through our workplace innovation service, sector productivity plans and the continued development of workplace practices outlined in the Scottish Business Pledge, we will encourage companies to take a sustainable approach to growing their business and improving performance.
This work is part of our wider approach to equality, outlined in our Equalities Mainstreaming Report.
Innovation can unlock productivity and international opportunities. Driving up business innovation levels is a priority and we have already made good progress in supporting more companies to start innovating. We need to make sure these companies keep innovating to maintain competitiveness and this will be a focus for 2017/18.
Service innovation is a growing trend and drives changes to the way companies serve their customers. We are working with European partners to learn from good practice in shaping our own service innovation offering in 2017/18.
In the 21st century economy it is important that companies and sectors make the most of digital technologies and the insights from data analysis to improve their processes, reduce costs and improve services to customers so this will be an important focus for our service development this next year.
We will continue to help businesses with high growth potential stretch themselves and enter new markets, supporting them to develop and attract skilled talent, build international connections and secure investment of scale.
Our investment arm, the Scottish Investment Bank, aims to positively influence the growth finance market in Scotland to work more effectively. We will continue to work with key partners and investors to help businesses access loan, grant and equity finance, which we know is a critical factor in supporting companies to grow.
We will support the Scottish Government to establish the new Scottish Growth Scheme which will offer additional support for SMEs struggling to raise the finance they need to grow.
The Scottish Investment Bank’s financial readiness service will help even more companies access appropriate funding that will support their growth. We will launch online services including a virtual advisor tool, funding guides and videos that companies can access at a time that suits them. We will also introduce new events that raise awareness of the help and support available and provide information about funding options for companies. Specific support will also be introduced aimed at companies that have received investment from us.
We will establish a fund that connects Scottish companies to opportunities to improve public sector services. The demand for faster, better, more accessible public services is growing and we know that Scottish companies have the capability to develop innovative solutions. The fund will provide the support needed to help the companies develop and commercialise innovative technology for the public sector.
We will introduce a new scale-up service that helps companies with the highest potential achieve their ambitions faster. Support will centre on meeting the specific needs of companies that are growing fast, helping them to tap into resources that already exist more easily and evolving what is currently available to address any gaps such as sales and marketing support, investment and attracting talent.
We will continue to collaborate with public and private sector partners including Business Gateway, Local Authorities, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and key organisations including the Scottish Chambers Network and Entrepreneurial Scotland with a focus on streamlining and joining up support.