Scotland needs to say ‘yes’ to growth

Scotland’s industry and business support organisations are putting their support behind a new campaign to get Scotland’s economy moving again.

The new campaign from Scottish Enterprise, which is launched tomorrow (Thursday 17 May), is calling on Scottish companies to say “Yes to Growth” and aims to stimulate greater investment by businesses.

It has received backing from a wide range of public sector partners including Business Gateway, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland, as well as endorsement by key industry organisations including CBI Scotland, Institute of Directors Scotland and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Recognising that, understandably, some companies are putting off their investment plans due to the current economic conditions, the campaign invites companies to come forward with new proposals that will help them grow their business, and which Scottish Enterprise and its partners can support with advice, expertise and possible funding.

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “The reality is that we can only get Scotland’s economy moving again if we can get Scottish companies investing. We know that companies that are continuing to focus on their growth, by identifying new opportunities and going after them, are bucking the trend and outperforming the norm.

“By encouraging more companies to increase their innovation, develop new products or enter new overseas markets, we can also help to increase our R&D and export activity and improve Scotland’s overall economic performance.”

Scottish Enterprise is targeting companies which want to create long term sustainable jobs, develop a new product or service, diversify into a new market or trade internationally for the first time, as these are the areas with the largest business and economic growth opportunities.

The agency has streamlined its processes and cut its red tape to make it easier and faster for them to support companies who come forward via the campaign.

Finance Secretary John Swinney commented, “The Scottish Government, our enterprise agencies and partners across the public sector are working tirelessly to secure new jobs and investment to Scotland. The global economic downturn demonstrated how interconnected world markets are and just as this has proved to be a challenge over the past couple of years it also now provides an exciting opportunity for new investment and growth, which this new campaign capitalises on.

“The Scottish Government Economic Strategy sets out a clear direction for Scotland to develop growth companies, growth sectors and growth markets for inward investment and exporting. This innovative campaign invites companies to come forward with growth plans, so that Scottish Enterprise can help them realise their ambitions and contribute to Scotland’s economic success.”

Scottish Enterprise points to a range of companies which are already seeing big results for their business as a result of making new investment. They include:

  • Perthshire ice cream manufacturer Mackies diversified its business by targeting the premium crisps market in 2009. As a result, the company has achieved £700,000 of overseas sales in its first year and now trades in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.
  • Specialist protective coatings company, Gemini Corrosion Services, wanted to capitalise on its competitive advantage in the oil industry. By starting to trade overseas, together with developing new products, the company has doubled its turnover in just one year.
  • Brewdog, the Aberdeenshire-based craft brewer, had aspirations to expand and knew that exporting would create opportunities for growth. Alongside the introduction of innovative bars to its operations, the company now trades in 27 countries, resulting in year-on-year growth of 200%.
  • Roslin-based Solid Form Solutions wanted to break into new overseas territory and diversify into unfamiliar markets. One visit to a global biotechnology conference in Korea has led to £900,000 worth of new business with other global opportunies being progressed on the back of this relationship.

Ms Wilson added: “Given some of the more negative stories about the economy, we want to send a more positive message to Scottish companies and give them the confidence to invest by letting them see the results others are achieving.”

Throughout the campaign, Scottish Enterprise will be working with its partners across the public sector to ensure that companies can benefit from a wide spectrum of support. This includes working in partnership with Business Gateway as well drawing on expertise from colleagues in SDI, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland.

Hugh Lightbody, Chief Officer at the Business Gateway National Unit, said, "At Business Gateway we are seeing more and more businesses coming to us for support. We also know there are a considerable number of enterprises operating across Scotland that have significant growth potential but are hesitant about pushing forward development plans due to the challenging economic climate.

"It is vitally important that we get these businesses moving again and that is why Business Gateway is continuing to work closely with Scottish Enterprise and its other public sector partners to create a robust network that will provide effective, targeted support where it is needed most."

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, welcomed the new campaign, "In tough economic times across the world, it's important that businesses and social enterprises in every part of Scotland are encouraged and helped to remain ambitious.

"Highlands and Islands businesses with growth potential can access a broad range of expertise and support through HIE, from product development to innovation, leadership and growing international trade. We look forward to collaborating with Scottish Enterprise to ensure that companies throughout the country are aware of the services we can offer."

Scottish Chambers of Commerce Chief Executive, Liz Cameron, said, "We are fully supportive of Scottish Enterprise's push to get companies investing in their growth. We would encourage our members to get involved with the Yes to Growth campaign and put forward their growth proposals.

“Alongside our own 'Business is Good for Scotland' theme, which recognises the contribution that businesses and our members make to the economy, there is no better time for Scottish companies to think about how they can grow and prosper now and in the future.”

Notes to editors

The ‘Yes to Growth’ campaign encourages companies to put forward their growth projects that will improve their bottom line in four key areas:

· creating long term and sustainable jobs

· developing a new product or service

· diversifying into a new market at home or overseas

· trading internationally for the first time.

Companies can submit their growth ideas and projects by completing a short form at - which will be live from Thursday 17 May 2012. If a company comes forward with a project in one or more of these areas and can demonstrate that the project will have a significant impact on their growth or turnover, then Scottish Enterprise will say ‘yes’ to helping them realise their potential.

The ‘Yes to Growth’ campaign is aligned to Scottish Enterprise’s priorities, outlined in its business plan, published in March, which highlights how it would help support more companies over the next year.

This included increasing the international sales of supported businesses by up to £1.7 billion; working with 400 companies to develop new products or processes; generating £250 million of capital investment through its Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants; and securing £75 million of new business investment in research and development through its R&D and SMART: Scotland grants.

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