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Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise International Operations provides an overview of last year’s inward investment in the new edition of World Class Scotland 2015.

Broomielaw, Glasgow

Foreign investment is crucial to the Scottish economy but, once it has been attracted, it is every bit as important to support it. Our enterprise agencies are making the country a destination of choice for the world’s companies.

Scotland is a land that combines rich history and culture with world leading industries - famous for our excellence in education and strengths in invention and research.

After hosting the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games last year, we’re enjoying significant profile on the global stage, which means there has never been a better time to invest in Scotland.

We already have a strong record in inward investment, thanks to our excellent business support, physical infrastructure and academic achievement. Our approach to supporting the growth of industry clusters, for example, has seen concentrations of companies develop in leading industries such as oil and gas in Aberdeen, life sciences in Edinburgh and Dundee and financial services in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Inward investment assistance

SDI-assisted inward investment companies are employing more people than planned, doing more R&D and have broadened their product range while located here.

Paul Lewis, Managing Director Scottish Development International

This is supported by our well-developed transport links, with five major international airports serving more than 150 destinations. All this is underpinned by a highly skilled workforce, with the highest educational attainment of any part of the UK. In fact, more than 50% of the working population has further education attainment.

Set against this background, it is no surprise that we consistently attract significant foreign direct investment. In fact, this rose to new levels in the last financial year, with Scottish Development International (SDI) securing 91 inward investment projects in 2014-15 - an increase of nearly 17% on the year before. Impressively, the number of jobs secured through this activity rose by nearly 30% to more than 9,600.

In addition, Scotland recently recorded a third successive year as the UK’s most successful inward investment location outside of London in the well respected annual EY's (formerly Ernst & Young) UK Attractiveness Survey.

As important as the work we do to bring new investment into Scotland is our support for overseas companies once they are here.

A strong inward investment community is good news for our economy, with analysis showing higher employment and labour productivity in SDI-assisted inward investor companies.

We know that most SDI-assisted inward investment companies are employing more people than planned, doing more R&D and have broadened their product range while located here.

Every year for the last five years the number of expansion projects by existing investors has increased (more than 200 in total) - demonstrating that, once here, our investors are enjoying ongoing growth.

At SDI, we remain focused on building on this momentum. We are continuing to work with national governments, local authorities and universities to make the connections which will help generate more new investment and jobs, and really deliver for Scotland.

Download the new edition of World Class Scotland 

(PDF; 43 MB - may take some time to download, depending on your broadband connection)