A bright future for inward investment in Scotland

From incredible talent, cost savings and collaboration opportunities, our Director of Global Investment, Mark Hallan (pictured), explains why international companies are drawn to Scotland’s shores.

Latest investments in Scotland

There appears to be a renewed spring in the collective step of Scotland.

Whether it’s the departure from lockdown being in sight, the continuing roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme or the longer – and occasionally sunny - days now upon us after a seemingly endless dark winter, hope and optimism are in the air.

And that positive outlook has been enhanced by Scotland’s continued ability to attract global inward investment.

Mark Hallan, Director of Global Investment, Scottish Development International

In the past couple of weeks, several international companies have signalled their commitment to our towns and cities, bringing investment and high-quality jobs. These include:

  • US space firm, Mangata Networks, who will anchor its European operations in Scotland after it announced plans to open an R&D centre in Edinburgh, generating an initial 38 jobs with further investment, growth and employment opportunities in the pipeline
  • Life sciences giant LumiraDx, who will establish a global health research, development and manufacturing hub, which will create at least 500 new jobs in Scotland over the next three years
  • London-headquartered hydrogen technology company, Arcola Energy, who will deliver 135 jobs in Dundee after after moving into the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP)
  • Austrian tech company, SWARCO eVolt, who will also move into the former Michelin tyre factory site in Dundee after it secured the ChargePlace Scotland network contract, creating 18 new jobs

We’ve been delighted to support these businesses who chose to invest in Scotland because of our incredible talent, competitive cost base, world-class universities and supportive business environment.

Green recovery

These announcements underline the critical importance of inward investment to Scotland’s economy and the role it will play in our green-led recovery from Covid-19.

Inward investment is all around us. Whether it’s the food we eat, the utilities we use or the financial systems which support our companies, there’s not a part of our daily lives that’s not touched by some form of globally-owned business.

And the benefits of this are clear, particularly for a country with such an outward facing economy as Scotland. Inward investors constitute just 3% of Scotland’s businesses, yet are responsible for:

  • 34% of employment (624,000 jobs)
  • 50% of turnover (£119.6 billion)
  • 63% of business R&D
  • 77% of exports (£24.2 billion)

Source: Scotland’s Inward Investment Plan: Shaping Scotland’s Economy

However, to fully understand the benefits of inward investment we also need to understand the positive impact it has on homegrown businesses.

Benefits for all

Inward investment provides ‘spillover’ benefits that can be felt across Scotland’s economy, such as supporting wellbeing, providing supply chain opportunities, productivity improvements, spending on research and development and regional impact.

It creates a pathway for alliances to be formed between international businesses and Scotland's homegrown companies. For example, when announcing why his company chose to locate in Scotland, Mangata Networks CEO, Brian Holz, said:

"With the skills and available local talent, picking Scotland as our European hub was a natural choice…This is just the beginning of a long partnership and we relish the prospect of the wonderful things we will achieve together."

Inward investment is not a zero-sum game, where the gains of overseas companies come at the detriment of native businesses. Rather, it breaks down geographical barriers and provides a catalyst for innovation, the sharing of ideas and mutual growth. And the biggest winner of all is Scotland’s economy.

Look out for opportunities ahead of COP26

With the eyes of the world set to be on Scotland when Glasgow hosts COP26 in November, we are also scoping what global events we can use to raise awareness of our net zero ambitions and the opportunities to invest here.

The global impact of Covid-19 on inward investment was significant in 2020, reports UNCTAD. Scotland was not immune to this. But as the past couple of weeks have shown, there are green shoots of recovery.

Scotland remains very much open for business and an incredible place for companies to locate, invest and grow in. We’ll continue to highlight to global firms the benefits of settling on our shores.

Got a question about investment opportunities or trading with Scotland? We’re ready to help.

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