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A bright future for inward investment in Scotland

24 Mar 2021 • 3 minute read

Why are international companies drawn to Scotland? Find out from Mark Hallan

View from Edinburgh's Princes Gardens towards Edinburgh Castle

From incredible talent, cost savings and collaboration opportunities, our Director of Global Investment, Mark Hallan, 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 Inward Investment at Scottish Development International

Mark Hallan, Director of Inward Investment at Scottish Development International

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

  • 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 opens in a new window  

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.

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.

Looking ahead

The global impact of Covid-19 on inward investment opens in a new window  was significant in 2020, reports UNCTAD. Scotland was not immune to this.

The transition to net zero emissions opens huge opportunities to innovate and grow your business in Scotland. COP26 shone a spotlight on how Scotland can develop sustainable solutions and export them to the world. And as recent investments show, 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.

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