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Working together to deliver economic prosperity for Scotland

In his final editorial looking at the year ahead, our interim Managing Director of International, Neil Francis outlines the importance of attracting private capital investment to Scotland

We may only have entered March, but a huge amount of work has already taken place this year to promote Scotland as a global investment destination.

Scottish Enterprise, our sister agencies and local partners have been working tirelessly both at home and overseas to highlight, support and deliver sustainable, low-carbon economic opportunities.

But we cannot do this alone.

There’s growing recognition about the importance of increasing the flow of private capital to businesses and projects in Scotland, while simultaneously improving our links with global financial centres.  Such investment not only promotes the creation of new businesses, but also helps early-stage firms realise their growth ambitions by removing a key barrier to expansion and increases the number of investors active in Scotland, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge with them.

That’s why Scottish Enterprise warmly welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government’s Global Capital Investment Plan in the spring of last year.

The final pillar of the Scottish Government’s strategy to internationalise Scotland’s economy, Investing with Purpose: Scotland’s Global Capital Investment Plan, contained 30 actions to increase private capital accessibility.  Similar to Scotland’s Inward Investment Plan, Investing with Purpose takes a targeted approach to attracting private capital investment by focusing on sectors that will drive future global growth and where Scotland has the resources, assets and companies to be a genuine world leader, such as:

  • Digital
  • Low Carbon Transition
  • Health & Life Sciences
  • High Value Manufacturing

Crucially, these sectors are also expected to deliver growth over the coming years due to global demand.

Investing with Purpose also signals to the market Scotland’s commitment to an open and transparent investment environment, aligned with our values that include the transition to net zero.  Alongside the obvious environmental benefits such an approach will deliver, we know there’s a strong global move towards responsible Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) investment.  This means positioning Scotland as a global centre of ethical finance will reap economic benefits, too.

So, these are exciting times.  And Scottish Enterprise is already playing a significant role in delivering the Global Capital Investment Plan’s ambitions.

We are integrating capital investment activities into everything we do.  Whether it’s utilising existing company and investor relationships via our Growth Investments teams or working with our inward investment specialists to explore private capital opportunities for global companies that have already chosen to locate in Scotland, Scottish Enterprise’s activities are fully interconnected.

All of this is helping Scottish Enterprise build an ‘Investor Ready’ pipeline of opportunities that allows us to engage with external partners to ensure we are maximising the greatest number of opportunities.  Together, we can then present our best propositions to potential investors, creating demand for investment in the most internationalised areas of our economy.

Sticking with the international theme, a key aim of Investing with Purpose is to gain a better understanding of global capital investors.  And this is where the worldwide reach of Scottish Development International (SDI) and our international networks will be fully utilised.

Across the world, we have powerful advocates for Scotland who are promoting our links with the global economy.  These include SDI trade and investment specialists based in more than 30 locations, members of our prestigious GlobalScot network, Scotland’s trade envoys and our wider diaspora.

We are mobilising these networks to expand and strengthen our investor relations.  Our global networks offer considerable skills and experience, and Scottish Enterprise will be tapping into this expertise to gain insights, intelligence and advocacy that will build investor relations and promote investment opportunities in Scotland.

Investment opportunities in Scotland will also be amplified at high-profile global events.  For example, the Green Investment Portfolio, which promotes market-ready projects requiring private capital that will help Scotland transition to a net zero economy by 2045, will be showcased at Expo2020 in Dubai later this month as part of our ‘Race to Net Zero’ events.

At the heart of all our activities will be collaboration.  We will be working closely with our local and national public sector partners both here in Scotland and in global financial hubs, such as the City of London, to ensure we maximise our global reach and showcase Scottish investment opportunities to potential investors.

And that spirit of partnership will be evident in our relationship with the private sector, where we will work closely with the markets both here and overseas.  This will ensure Scotland can secure increased levels of private sector capital to accelerate the development of investment opportunities.

Together, ‘Team Scotland’ aims to increase the value of investor ready capital investment projects by £1bn by the end of this year, as well as continuing to strengthen our global investor relations for both company and project capital investment across key geographical markets.

So, our message is clear: if you are looking for investment opportunities in sectors where Scotland is a world leader and you share our commitment towards achieving a net zero future, then Scottish Enterprise and our partners would love to hear from you.  Please get in touch.

Together, we can deliver an investment led recovery that delivers inclusive, sustainable economic growth benefiting all our communities.