Role of the key business support and economic development organisations
Business Gateway and local authorities
Local authorities play a vital role in supporting economic and business growth through the delivery of Business Gateway; local economic development and services such as planning, procurement, environmental health and trading standards that impact on business; and their own role as major employers and purchasers of goods and services.
Business Gateway provides a wide range of support and advice to individual entrepreneurs looking to start a business, and to new and existing businesses looking to grow and develop. Alongside a particular focus on start-up and early stage growth, the nature and intensity of support is determined by business needs and their potential for economic impact. Businesses demonstrating higher growth potential receive more intensive support or are transferred on to the relevant enterprise agency.
The economic development role of local authorities varies across the country and includes activities such as town centre and place regeneration; area marketing and promotion; inward investment and trade promotion; business support; business property and infrastructure development; skills and inclusion; employability support; sector initiatives; and strategy development and economic intelligence.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
HIE is the economic development agency for the north and north-west of Scotland with a unique remit which integrates economic and community development. It operates in an area which covers more than half of Scotland's land mass - including almost 100 inhabited islands. Its role is to lead regional growth and development in line with Scotland's Economic Strategy, improving competitiveness and helping to build a fairer society. HIE's aim is for the region to be a highly successful and competitive region in which increasing numbers of people choose to live, work, study and invest.
SE seeks to build Scotland's international competiveness as Scotland's main economic development agency. Its core service to growth businesses is centred on account management, which delivers support to help ambitious companies meet their aspirations. It also provides a range of services to the wider business base, looks to develop growth sectors, and has a particular focus on supporting high-impact entrepreneurial businesses which have the potential to make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.
The SG sets the overall strategy to support economic growth as well as economic development policy. It provides funding for business support through its agencies, local government, and other publicly supported organisations, often on a programme basis, and also sets a number of underpinning policies.
National, regional and local levels of public sector economic development
National - Aligning themselves with the overall direction of Scotland's Economic Strategy, SE, HIE and SDS all work across Scotland to deliver national priorities, support nationally important key sectors, and provide consistent support to firms, including through account management.
Regional - Regional partnerships are emerging that respond to regional economic opportunities, address issues that go beyond local boundaries, and can be used to reinforce regional economic policy making (as outlined by the Review's Regional Partnerships project).
Local - People's experience of the economy is shaped by the area in which they live. Local authorities deliver support impacting significantly on local economic development including services provided through Business Gateway and local regeneration. They also address issues such as derelict land, land use planning, licencing, and community empowerment.
Skills Development Scotland
As the national skills agency, SDS works with businesses to understand and support their skills needs, workforce planning and talent pipeline. It works closely with national, regional and local partners to ensure that employers are able to recruit the right people with the right skills, that they can develop and grow their businesses through high performing, productive, and fair workplaces, and that individuals have the skills and confidence to progress. It supports business by leading skills planning and developing a clear and robust intelligence base that is based on industry / economic needs and can be used to inform investment. Work-based learning programmes are provided in the form of Modern, Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships.
South of Scotland vehicle
Recognising the unique circumstances of the south of Scotland, Ministers are committed to establishing a new vehicle to support the enterprise and skills needs of the south of Scotland to respond to the area's specific opportunities and challenges and to drive growth. This vehicle will be key in developing a vision for long-term sustainable inclusive growth across the area and support and direct its delivery. Progress in developing the South of Scotland vehicle is set out appropriate separate project report.
Together, these sit in a wider context of economic development activity provided by other public sector partners such as VisitScotland, and private and not-for-profit support organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, SCDI, Entrepreneurial Scotland, E-Spark, Women's Enterprise Scotland, Interface and others.