Software and IT

Setting up your software and IT business in Scotland gives you access to a dynamic and supportive ecosystem including the best tech talent and creative minds - all the right ingredients to produce world-changing digital unicorns (think Skyscanner and FanDuel) and attract tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft.

Join our 9,400 tech companies

Our tech community has experience across the financial services, life sciences and energy sectors.

Access world-class research

Scotland has some of the best universities in the world, with expertise across data, cyber security, quantum, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Connect with a global community

Scotland is a magnet for thousands of international students, firms and workers from across the globe.

Source: ScotlandIS

Scotland's Digital Technologies 2019 summary report

What Scotland can offer your tech company

An attractive startup location

Scotland’s dynamic software and IT sector provides products and services across a range of end markets, from public services, banking and insurance through to renewables and biotech. You’ll find expertise from software development, data science, digital health, sensors and connectivity to artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis.

Our innovation labs encourage collaboration between companies, academic and public sector organisations so that innovative products can be designed and tested in real world scenarios.

Edinburgh, poised as the data capital of Europe, is already the UK's top city for startups, attracting more foreign investment than any other tech cluster in the UK, outside London, according to Tech Nation. Read our interview with Nigel Eccles, founder of FanDuel on what makes Edinburgh the ideal place for tech companies. 

Why Encompass travelled 10,000 miles to grow from Scotland

Glasgow-based software services firm, Encompass has grown globally from Scotland, with offices around the world in London, Hong Kong and Singapore. And now the company is pointing its commercial compass to even wider international expansion.

Watch our video clip with Alex Ford, Encompass VP of operations share her story.

Quantum technology revolution

Over the last 5 years Scotland has seen significant R&D investment into universities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde, across quantum computing, photonics, lasers, cryptography, industrial informatics, imaging and sensors.

Scotland’s growing cluster of small and medium enterprises in quantum technologies benefit from our ongoing support working closely with academics. One of the best-known examples is Glasgow-based M Squared Lasers – its award-winning products have led to breakthroughs in many areas of science, including the UK’s first commercially viable Quantum Accelerometer. Its customers include Nobel Prize-winning scientists, leading universities and innovative manufacturers.

The company's precision lasers provided the means for the European Space Agency project Sentinel 5P to measure pollutants such as ozone, formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide from space – it's the best data set that humanity has on the health of our planet.

"Our home city of Glasgow has a great tradition of science and engineering, where local companies have been developing optical technology for around 100 years. We are creating high-value jobs... The support of Scottish Enterprise will enable M Squared to scale its operations locally but equally continue stepping into new global markets.”

Dr Graeme Malcolm, founder and CEO of M Squared Lasers

One-to-one support

If you’d like to hear more about the experience of M Squared Lasers and how Scotland could be an ideal location for your business, we’re ready to help you access: 

  • Talent and skills that you need to grow your business
  • Financial support for your next big project
  • Connections to academia, suppliers and partners
  • Property searches and professional advice
  • Market insight and guidance on the best opportunities
  • Ongoing training and staff development

Everything you need to set up your business, grow and thrive in Scotland.

More on ways we can support your business

Technology innovation hubs and centres of excellence

Why Rasa chose Edinburgh

From Silicon Valley to the ‘data capital of Europe’, read about Rasa’s ambition for its new technology hub in Edinburgh and talent to match.

Read Rasa’s story

Pictured: Rasa co-founders Alan Nichol and Alex Weidauer

Rasa co-founders Alex Weidauer and Alan Nichol

Digital skills and flexible workspaces

You’ll find that Scotland’s skills clusters create the ideal environment for your business growth by bringing together talented people in the tech and creative communities, while providing flexible working space and easy access to potential collaborators. Here are some of Scotland’s best tech hubs:

CodeBase Digital Tech Hub, Edinburgh

The largest technology incubator in the UK, CodeBase provides affordable office space, services and unrivalled community support and networking for innovative technology companies.

Creative Clyde, Glasgow

A flourishing riverside community for media, technology and creatively-minded businesses that already counts BBC Scotland, STV, BIP Solutions, Film City Scotland and Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation as its residents.

Seabraes Zone, Dundee

Offering a dedicated space to build on Dundee’s success as a digital media and creative industries hub, Seabraes provides flexible commercial space for the digital community.

The Enterprise Park, Forres, Highlands

Fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation, the park provides an ideal soft landing and flexible location from which to grow your technology business.

Nexus, Inverness Campus, Highlands

Located within the University of the Highlands and Islands campus, Nexus offers a collaborative, innovative and flexible environment for businesses in technology, life sciences and health.

Supportive environment

ScotlandIS is the trade body for Scotland’s vibrant digital economy and the bridge to connect you to software and IT companies in Scotland. It’s the collective voice of industry, representing technology businesses at home and abroad across a wide range of sectors, covering telecoms, software, IT services, infrastructure specialists and digital media companies. 

ScotlandIS also employs data and cluster managers to provide focus on connecting and supporting companies and operations in these areas.

More about ScotlandIS

Scotland: Where Ideas Become Legend

Market opportunities

Financial services

Scotland is the UK’s largest centre for financial services and fintech outside of London. Alongside strengths in banking, insurance and asset management, Scotland has a vibrant and fast-growing fintech community.

Life sciences

Scotland’s exciting life sciences sector covers everything from agritech and aquaculture, to medical devices and diagnostics, clinical applications, pharmaceutical services and healthcare.

Green energy

Scotland's renewable energy resources offer big opportunities for international companies in software and IT, particularly in carbon capture, energy storage, and decarbonisation of heat and transport.

Space

With a growing Space cluster Scotland is the ideal place to develop data applications based on satellite-driven intelligence.

Software in Scotland guide (PDF, 10MB)

Got a question about the benefits of setting up your tech business in Scotland? Talk to our advisers.

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