The growing confidence of Scottish business

  • "Delivering a positive environment for business to thrive is what drives the Scottish Government’s work"

Foreword by the RT Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland

There is much to be inspired by in this year’s report. I am pleased by the inclusion of a dedicated Scottish chapter, along with portraits of 46 Scottish companies, a near 10% increase on last year. This is testament to a growing confidence and capability in our business community.

The portraits illustrate resourcefulness and commitment to innovation to ensure that we meet the challenges ahead – a future where it is crucial that we do not just consume, but instead design and produce the innovations that will create wealth, jobs and drive progress.

Delivering a positive environment for business to thrive is what drives the Scottish Government’s work – this will be achieved not just through our excellent public agencies, but through collaboration with partners in the private and third sectors, too. Under the banner of Scotland CAN DO, partners from all sectors work together to promote, support and celebrate entrepreneurial activity.

Research has shown an increasing number of adults, particularly young adults, see themselves starting their own business and this suggests our approach is paying off. To have a successful future, we must have a strong base to work from and I am delighted that we have a record number, more than 365,000, of SMEs operating in Scotland and employing more than 55% of our workforce. Making the most of international opportunities is essential, not least with the continuing uncertainties surrounding Brexit and the direct threat it poses to jobs, investment and living standards. It remains a priority of the Scottish Government to protect our place in Europe, including our continued place in the single market.

We demonstrate this commitment through our innovation and investment hubs operating in Dublin, Brussels, London and Berlin, and by expanding our efforts through Scottish Development International to promote our exports in Europe. Meanwhile – for the fifth year in a row – Scotland remains the top UK location outside London for foreign direct investment.

It’s not just about what we do, though, it’s about how we do it. The Scottish Business Pledge is a voluntary commitment by companies to adopt fair practices we know benefit companies, employees and the wider society. It recognises and celebrates the achievements and ambition of businesses operating in Scotland, while helping to shift the tide in favour of greater equality.

My hope is that more and more businesses – not just in Scotland, but globally – will recognise the benefits of such a values-led approach. I hope this year’s LSEG report will help to inspire the next generation of world-changing businesses.