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Scottish companies are set to benefit from an additional £658 million in revenue over the next three years, thanks to the innovation support they received from Scottish Enterprise during 2014/15.

Alexander Dennis Enviro500

This figure has more than doubled year on year which illustrates that more Scottish companies are embracing a culture of continual innovation for business growth.

As the world becomes closer, more connected and more competitive, companies need to do more and go further to ensure they are not left behind.

Jim Watson, director of innovation and enterprise at Scottish Enterprise

"We know that investment in innovation and R&D leads to business growth, increased productivity, greater opportunities and a globally competitive edge, making it crucial to the long-term success of the Scottish economy," explains Jim Watson, director of innovation and enterprise for Scottish Enterprise. "In fact, innovation accounts for some two-thirds of all the productivity in the economy.

“What is more, evidence shows that innovative companies grow nearly twice as fast in terms of sales than non-innovators, create more jobs and are more attractive to investors. 

"At Scottish Enterprise, we believe that innovation should be more than just an ‘add-on’ or a ‘nice-to-have’ for businesses. It should be the core culture of companies that strive for growth. It’s our role then, to work with companies to help them become more innovative by developing new products and services, streamlining processes or adapting business models  - recognising that innovation is more successful if it is focused on international markets.

“These latest figures are testament to our ongoing commitment to increasing innovation. What we need now is for more companies to embrace new ideas and new ways of doing things, and follow the likes of Alexander Dennis Limited in using innovative approaches to realise growth ambitions.”

Other key innovation and R&D results from 2014/15 

  • £149 million of additional commitments in R&D investment were secured through Scottish Enterprise assisted projects
  • 350 new companies received our innovation support with additional support from local authorities, Business Gateway, Interface, and UK IPO
  • Around 35 innovative companies participated in our deeper engagement programme. We help them benchmark their innovation performance against their competitors in Europe and develop innovation strategies to give them a competitive edge in their markets.  
  • Memoranda were signed with Norwegian oil major Statoil and Scottish manufacturer Devro – as part of our increased focus on working with larger companies to stimulate innovation with SMEs supply-chains
  • Informatics Ventures 3 was launched, as a partnership between Edinburgh University and Scottish Enterprise to support the creation and scaling of ambitious innovation based companies through increased entrepreneurial talent and investment

Driving change through innovation

Hear about some of our key achievements in 2014-2015
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2014/2015 also saw some significant elements of our longer-term strategy put in place, including continued support for the establishment of eight new innovation centres. 

Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, the innovation centres aim to encourage business growth that takes advantage of Scotland’s strengths in research within Scotland’s universities on the world stage. They will also drive forward change in some of Scotland’s major sector opportunities such as advanced manufacturing, big data, stratified medicine and industrial biotechnology.

Support for Scottish companies 

Companies that are successfully innovating with our help include Selkirk-based Spark Energy that outranks the ‘Big Six’ on customer service and is consistently focused on investing in innovation and business improvement. 

We supported the company last year with over £150,000 towards improving their customer service. Over the last three years the company has had annual sales growth of 97% and forecasts continued substantial growth in the next few years, with turnover in the coming year forecast at £130 million.

Similarly, with our help, Falkirk-based bus and coach manufacturer, Alexander Dennis Limited introduced the revolutionary Enviro400 single and double-decker bus models, which have captured 50% of the UK market. 

We also supported the development of their Enviro 500 double-decker for international markets. Since the Enviro500 was created, the company has sold 1,500 buses in less than two years into Hong Kong and other new markets in Asia and the Pacific Rim.  

Due to their ongoing investment in innovation over the last 7 years, Alexander Dennis Limited has grown from an annual turnover of £170 million to one in excess of £500 million, leading the world in midi-bus and double-decker vehicle production. 

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