Scottish Government Plans to Make Scotland a Global Innovation Leader

Scottish Parliament Africa

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a range of measures to help increase innovation, provide greater business support and boost the country’s economy.

In Scotland’s programme for government, delivered in the Scottish parliament, Nicola Sturgeon announced a range of measures designed to provide greater support for Scottish businesses and position the country as a pioneer and innovator in fields including Fintech, clean energy, life sciences and the creative industries.

Following the previous week’s announcement of a 70% increase in government funding for research and development, Ms Sturgeon also revealed:

  • A network of trade envoys to champion Scotland’s interests in key markets and increase exports
  • The global network of business hubs which includes London, Dublin, Brussels and Berlin will expand to include Paris, as France is the country’s third largest expert partner
  • The government will invest in the establishment of the industry-led body Fintech Scotland, with the goal of Edinburgh becoming one of the world’s top ten global Fintech hubs.
  • An additional £10 million funding for the screen industries
  • The government will establish and fund a new Unlocking Ambition Challenge to support 40 of the country’s most promising entrepreneurs.
  • The establishment of a new strategic board (chaired by by Nora Senior, former Chair of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce) to ensure the £2 billion annually invested in enterprise and skills is focused on delivering what industry and the economy requires
  • A new enterprise agency for the South of Scotland, to replicate the success of Highlands & Islands Enterprise in the North of the country.

Scottish National Investment Bank

Possibly more significant, was the announcement of the creation of a Scottish National Investment Bank, to provide access to ‘long term, patient capital’.

Benny Higgins, the CEO of Tesco Bank will develop the Bank’s remit, governance, operating model and approach to managing financial risk.

National Infrastructure

The first minister also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to improving the country’s infrastructure. She promised to deliver ‘next generation broadband’ to 100% of the country’s residential and business premises by 2021.

Future-proofing Scotland’s travel infrastructure was also mentioned. The government plans to ‘massively expand’ the number of charging points for electric vehicles across the entire country, as well as making the A9 Scotland’s first ‘fully electric’ enabled highway.

In addition, plans for an Innovation Fund to encourage business and academia to develop solutions to some of Scotland’s specific challenges for greater adoption of electric vehicles such as charging points in areas with a high proportion of  tenement buildings.

DIGIT will of course follow the Scotland programme for government and bring you the latest news and updates as they happen…

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