Scottish Enterprise chairman calls for Scottish companies to aspire to double-digit growth

Scottish Enterprise Chairman Crawford Gillies has called for more Scottish companies to say ‘yes’ to growth opportunities and push their growth into double digits.

Speaking to an audience of a hundred Scottish companies, Mr Gillies said: “The reports out this week about the UK economy are undoubtedly concerning and we know economic recovery is still fragile.

“Although we’re still only expecting marginal growth over the next year, we know there are many, many companies outperforming the norm by exploiting outstanding opportunities and bucking the trend for their sectors.”

Mr Gillies highlighted examples of Scottish companies that are already achieving their growth ambitions and outperforming their market competitors.

These included companies such as Fraserburgh-based craft brewer, BrewDog, which achieved turnover growth of 87% between 2009 and 2010, while the UK breweries and beer market only grew by 0.7% in the same period.

In the life sciences sector, Dunfermline-based Optos increased its turnover by 36.8% last year, while the UK market for medical equipment is expected to have contracted by 1% in the same period.

And similarly, Falkirk-based bus company Alexander Dennis Ltd has sustained its market leading position in the bus manufacturing sector despite operating in a recession. It has grown its UK market share to 50%, while new bus registrations in the UK fell by almost 14%.

In his speech, Mr Gillies points to strong leadership as the foundation for high performing businesses, encouraging business leaders to embrace a culture of saying ‘yes’ to new growth opportunities.

In particular, Mr Gillies pointed out the importance of investing in developing a new product or service, developing a new market at home or overseas, creating long term sustainable jobs and trading internationally for the first time. He said these were the areas that are likely to have the biggest impact on a company’s performance in the short term while also contributing most to Scotland’s economic growth.

“The challenge we face is to create a culture where strong leaders can drive company performance above and beyond market performance, a culture where more of our leaders employ a ‘can do’ rather than a ‘can’t do’ philosophy.

“I recognise that investment on this scale, in the current economic climate, can be daunting. But I want to encourage more companies to be bold and say ‘yes’ to their investment in growth now.“

Scottish Enterprise published its business plan last month in which it highlighted 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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