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Our director of international trade and investment operations welcomes the news that 2014/2015 was a record year for inward investment in Scotland, and reflects on the reasons why Scotland is more popular than ever.

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So here’s the heart of the matter, as a small country our future economic prosperity is inextricably linked to our international competitiveness. Attracting new multi-national enterprises to Scotland and supporting those already here to grow is a critical component of this because amongst other things they strengthen our industrial clusters, deliver higher productivity and export much of their products and services.

And in Scotland we are good at it – in 2014 Scotland generated a record number of foreign investments.

Who invested here?

  • Ceridian: This payroll software and services company already set up a flagship office in Scotland in 2011. After experiencing sharp growth, the company decided to create a new Technology Centre of Excellence here in April of last year. 
  • Capita: This London-based business services was already one of Scotland’s largest private sector employers, employing around 5,000 Scots across 18 different Scottish locations. In July 2014 the company decided to invest an additional £11 million into its customer management centre and its IT services division. 
  • Concentrix: Hailing from the USA, Concentrix is a business services company that in September 2014 chose Glasgow as a base to set up a 22,000 square foot global delivery centre. The company received a £2.1 million grant to help them set up in Scotland.

Between April 2014 and March 2015, the teams of experienced staff here at Scottish Development International helped 91 international companies to invest in Scotland – a sizable increase of nearly 17% on the previous year.

These figures demonstrate that Scotland isn’t just renowned for its stunning landscapes and generations of heritage; we’re increasingly recognised for having one of the most vibrant and supportive business environments in the world.

Over 2,000 international companies already call Scotland home – and these figures are a sign this number will keep increasing.

What a year

2014 was an exceptional year for Scotland – and not just because of our record inward investments.

As thousands of visitors from across the world descended on Scotland for the Commonwealth Games in July, followed by the Ryder Cup in September, we proved that we can put on successful, large-scale, international events – and win a few trophies while we’re at it.

And it seems that these events may have paid off in business terms – when you include the rest of the UK, last year over a third of investments came from Commonwealth nations, and our golf-club toting buddies in the USA remained our second largest inward investor, contributing nearly 30% of investment.

In 2014 Scotland was also named as the most attractive place in the UK to invest outside of London by the EY Attractiveness Survey.

Why Scotland?

We know what companies look for when investing overseas. Above all they need an environment that supports the drivers of growth – innovation, talent and skills, and investment. In Scotland through specific sector approaches we connect these in a way no other country can.

Our association with Scotland has been a long and successful one.

Doug Sawers, Managing Director, Ceridian UK and Ireland

Of the 91 companies that invested here last year, 20 of them created R&D jobs. Scotland is the perfect home for R&D: our 19 higher education institutions have all been recognised as producing world-leading research. In fact, more research is conducted in Scotland than any other country, relative to wealth per head of population. 

The Forth Bridge has been named Scotland's sixth world heritage site. The bridge joins global icons such as the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China. Scotland offers great connections.

And did you know that Scotland has the highest educational attainment of any part of the UK? Companies here have access to a highly educated, skilled workforce with a strong work ethic. In fact, the impressive ratio of graduates per capita outshines most countries of comparable size in Europe.

Easy access to key markets

Companies that invest here don’t just benefit from one of the lowest tax rates in Europe and a range of public and private sector support – they also benefit from Scotland’s great connections.

Scotland is located on the doorstep of Europe, is well-connected to London, and the USA is just a short flight away. It’s this easy access to important markets that makes Scotland the ideal location to do business.

And that’s just the start. Throw in excellent, stable infrastructure and an enviable quality of life, and you begin to understand why so many foreign companies made the decision to invest in Scotland last year.

Contact us to find out more