Scotland is set to become an ‘innovation nation’ thanks to a £78 million funding package which will help Scottish businesses develop almost 1,000 new inventions, products and services.
Improving Scottish businesses
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement while speaking to 80 business leaders and Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) members.
The money will be used to create more business opportunities for Scottish entrepreneurs. Businesses will be able to come up with 1,000 new commercial products using the funding.
‘‘We want to support ambitious and innovative companies in every corner of Scotland. And we want those companies to develop and profit from new products, which improve the wellbeing of individuals around the world,’’ said Sturgeon.
The £78 million fund will be available to business between now and 2018 and will offer a bespoke support service of financial support and specialist advice. The money will also be used to create more of an open dialogue between universities and around 1,200 Scottish businesses.
The measure is the next step in Sturgeon’s plan to improve Scotland’s economic strategy which focuses on investment, innovation, internationalisation and inclusive growth.
Earlier in September, the First Minister announced a strategy to create three new ‘innovation hubs’ in London, Brussels and Dublin.
London is not a ‘threat’ to Scotland
During her presentation the First Minister was asked whether she sees London as a threat to Scotland’s economic prosperity. Sturgeon replied by saying that she felt for too long Scotland has had a far too negative a view upon the English capital.
‘‘This is probably a self-criticism of the government as opposed to trying to suggest it has been a feature of businesses, but I think for too long we have seen London as a threat,’’ commented Sturgeon.
‘‘We’ve seen London almost, in economic terms, as a rival. Of course we will want to compete and be competitive, but actually I think there is more in it for us to see London as an opportunity.’’
Previous First Ministers have viewed London as a threat to Scotland. During the referendum campaign for Scottish independence, Alex Salmond once called London ‘‘the dark star of the economy, inexorably sucking in resources, people and energy.’’
But Sturgeon has a different opinion, stating that ‘‘it’s a major international centre. Businesses and companies will seek to locate and to invest in London, but as they expand they might see Scotland as good value place to expand into.’’
‘‘So, particularly with London, it is about seeing it as an opportunity and not just as a rival in terms of economic investment.’’