Doing the business – Scotland is achieving strategic success

What makes Scotland so attractive to international investors? It’s a question we ask all the time and the feedback we get is always consistent.

The majority of companies tell us the quality of Scotland’s workforce is a major factor in their decision to locate here. That’s closely followed – if not matched – by our well-deserved international reputation for education, research, innovation, engineering – the list goes on.

We can reel off facts and figures about the number of foreign direct investment projects in Scotland (76 in 2012); Scottish jobs created through FDI (around 5,000 last year) and our ranking in terms of attractiveness to foreign investors (currently second only to London). But it’s when we stop to look at a cross-section of recent investments that we really get a picture of how well we’re doing.

Take this month, for example. We’re not even half way through, and we’ve already been able to highlight four international investment projects that between them will bring up to 1,500 new jobs into the country and support the growth of Scotland’s key sectors.

First, the French-based multi-channel customer services company Teleperformance announced it would be adding up to 1,000 jobs to its Scottish workforce across four locations – Airdrie, Erskine, Glasgow and Kilmarnock.

The same day saw one of Japan’s leading research investment companies, Riken Innovation Capital (RIC), sign a groundbreaking new partnership with one of the country’s leading research investment companies. RIC will become one of our key global investment partners, helping to support some of Scotland’s most promising life sciences and green technologies firms via a fund which aims to be worth $50m by the end of this year.

A week later, Canadian business process services firm CGI announced it will hire up to 250 professionals in Glasgow, almost doubling its Scottish workforce; and the following day direct marketing specialist Aquira, based in Shrewsbury, announced it was extending its Scottish base with a further 220 jobs.

The statements made by these companies just go to show how highly Scotland is regarded by international businesses:

Teleperformance UK, Ireland and South Africa CEO Alistair Niederer said the company’s decision to grow its Scottish operations were in part thanks to our ‘highly skilled and quality workforce’.

RIC President Kenji Okuma credited our ‘attractive environment for research and clinical studies’ and ‘sophisticated system of support for leading-edge technology companies’.

CGI UK President Tim Gregory also credited the ‘talent pool’ and acknowledged the importance of the support we’re offering through regional selective assistance (RSA) funding.

And Aquira’s CEO Mark Walton also praised the quality of our workforce and our worldwide reputation for business excellence.

What is particularly pleasing is that both CGI and Aquira already had operations in Scotland and their latest investment demonstrates the value they have already seen in having a base here.

In fact, just under 50% of all inward investment projects last year were follow-on investments and this is part of our overall efforts to build strategic relationships with both local management teams and their corporate headquarters overseas to ensure they understand Scotland’s proposition and how we can add value to their global operations.

There’s no question that funding support is one of the key tools we have in helping to attract inward investment to Scotland. But it’s by no means the only – or even the most important – one. Scotland offers many incentives over and above financial support, and it’s clear from what our inward investors are telling us that those are the reasons we remain one of the most successful countries in Europe for attracting FDI.

Growing relationships between Scotland and India

This week I’ve been in India, taking part in the country’s flagship conference for business process outsourcing (BPO) and legal process outsourcing (LPO) firms – NASSCOM BPM.

The event provided a great platform to further our aim of positioning Scotland as the preferred location for businesses in the BPO and LPO industry.

The financial and business services sector is worth around £17 billion to Scotland’s economy every year. It’s a major contributor to our inward investment figures and accounts for around £3.2 billion in annual export activity.

It’s a rapidly-growing sector – legal process outsourcing, for example, is currently worth around £600 million worldwide and growing at around 30% a year.

Having a presence at events like NASSCOM is vital if we’re to make sure Scotland continues to claim its share of this incredibly lucrative market.

NASSCOM 2013 India and Scotland

In the past week I’ve met with representatives from some of India’s top BPO and LPO companies, including existing investors Hinduja Global Solutions and NewGalexy.

Those I haven’t met in person we’ve reached in other ways – through Scottish experts presenting panel discussions at the conference and through interviews with key Indian media outlets.

As a result, Scotland has been presented to some of the most important existing and potential business contacts in India with our key messages delivered directly to a vital target audience.

Scotland is an ideal partner country for India. We offer excellent opportunities in key sectors where India‘s rapid development and economic growth has led to increasing demand – education, for example, and healthcare.

We will also watch with great interest as India’s banking and insurance sectors continue to expand.

Scotland already has a strong relationship with some of the largest companies in India, and inward investment from those companies now supports around 5,000 jobs.

I don’t expect to return to Scotland and immediately see an upsurge in activity with Indian financial and legal services firms, but we have at the very least planted some more strategic seeds.

And from those I’m sure we’ll see future relationships start to grow.

Further reading:

Eurobike 2013: innovation in bikes and business

Electric bikes might be in, single-speed ones might be out, but above all the bling and the batteries it’s the business of making contacts and collaborating that matters the most. 

And if you’ve got a great idea for the mountain biking business, you might want to attend one of the clinics coming up over the next few months. Details below. 

First, though, Scottoiler‘s Matt Ennen shares his notes from the trade show. 

A burgeoning sector

If Eurobike 2013 is anything to go by, there’s a big buzz and a positive future for cycling. Businesses are booming and the Eurobike show demonstrates how the market is still growing: each year more and more companies pour in to make contacts and exhibit their products. And we weren’t the only company with a motorcycle background: plenty of people want a piece of the cycle sector pie.

Electric bikes are taking off, thanks to product innovation

It seems like the boundaries between motorcycling and cycling are dissolving, not just on the manufacturers side but also for the bikes. E-Bikes were so dominant throughout the entire show that it was difficult to find a company that wasn’t in some involved in this rapidly-growing trend.

I went to the show with very little knowledge of the cycle market, so I was staggered by the sheer volume of electronic bikes. Product innovation has made the obstacles of  huge motors and batteries practically disappear over the last 12 months – the bikes are sleeker and lighter than ever. Electric support has also made it into the MTB scene and, when costs and weight drop a little further, even I might consider an electric mountain bike.

Not a single single-speed in sight

What I did expect, but didn’t find, were exhibits of single-speed bikes. Hailed last year as the newest trend, they seemed to have been forgotten and overshadowed by the boom in electric bikes. Perhaps this is a sign and warning for everyone involved in the cycle industry of just how quickly things can change.

Down to business: do your homework

Amidst all the bling and and the batteries, it would have been easy to forget why we went to the show. Once we’d seen the bikes, we got down to business: our main objective was to get a better feel for the European cycle market and to talk to potential distributors.

Even though Eurobike is a trade show, it has a very public feel to it. Distributors attend the show as visitors and most business is conducted behind the official facade of the stand or over a coffee in the courtyard.

It’s a great opportunity for businesses to speak to distributors, but you need to do your homework before you go:

  • make your appointments before you get there
  • make sure you have booked to speak with the people you want to speak with.
  • Bear in mind that some of the stand staff only speak German, so it’s worth brushing up on your language skills before you arrive.

Make contacts, follow leads, collaborate, innovate

Eurobike has been an interesting experience for us. The real value in going to something like this lies in meeting up with existing contacts and finding new leads, not in pushing your product.

It’s worth noting that no other European country represented itself as a cohesive whole. If Scottish Cycling were to exhibit at the Eurobike show it could take advantage of this new and innovative way to get noticed in the huge cycling industry. To really make a difference in the world of cycling, though, we’ll all have to work closely across trade, tourism and manufacturing.

Matt Ennen is marketing manager and MTB tearaway at Scottoiler.

Scottoiler logo

Mountain Bike innovation clinics

Got a great business idea for the mountain biking industry? Scottish Enterprise are hosting a number of clinics in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Kilmarnock in November, December, and January.

Go to the DMBinS website for more information

Turkey – the bridge between East and West

I’ve just returned from a visit to Turkey, where I accompanied ten Scottish organisations to explore the Turkish oil and gas market.

As Turkey imports around 90% of its oil and gas, you might wonder why this is important to Scottish companies – especially compared to other oil producing countries such as Australia, Brazil or Canada.

Quite simply, it’s down to location.

Turkey is one of the world’s most important energy corridors, with major pipelines running through the country transporting crude oil and natural gas from central Asia and the Middle East to Turkey for onward shipping to the rest of Europe.

Oil rig and support ship

It really is the bridge between East and West.

Recognising this, significant global energy companies have based themselves in Turkey while Turkish firms are increasing their influence in the region by investing and partnering in major international oil and gas projects.

The Turkish government is also committed to reducing the level of its imported oil and gas, introducing new laws making it easier for oil and gas exploration as well as developing new opportunities around shale gas and renewables.

It is not just in oil and gas where Turkey’s geographic location is making it an attractive location for international companies.

Over the past ten years Turkey has attracted $123 billion of foreign direct investment from a wide range of industries. It is fast becoming a hub for many European companies looking to do more business in central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

With Istanbul only a four hour direct flight away from Edinburgh, there is no reason why Scottish companies could not do the same.

Turkey’s economy has also been transformed in recent years.

Economic growth in 2011 was 8.5% – outstripping all other European countries.  It is also forecast to be the fastest growing OECD economy between 2012 and 2017.

With around a quarter of the population under 30, a rising middle class and the Government’s attempts to attract more high value sectors, this growth is set to continue.

And with it there could be some real opportunities for Scottish companies, especially as the sectors Turkey is focusing on match our own capabilities.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve met with a number of CEOs and senior executives of leading Turkish firms in the construction, healthcare, financial services and ICT sectors.

Partnering with Scottish companies could help them to increase innovation, improve productivity and increase competitiveness while giving our companies a new route into this important market and the wider region.

Entering any new market brings challenges and Turkey is no different. There are complex regulations around imports and taxation and finding the right partner can be challenging.

But for those companies who are ambitious, willing to commit investment and able to identify their niche, Turkey could offer significant potential.

It is certainly worth further exploration and we will be following up on all the conversations we’ve had this week to develop even more insights into the market which we will be able to share with Scottish companies in the future.

Further reading:

Scotland at the heart of the global oil and gas industry

I’m at Offshore Europe in Aberdeen this week, one of the world’s leading oil and gas shows.

With almost 50,000 delegates from over 90 countries it’s an opportunity for new connections to be made, new business to be done, and to showcase Scotland’s oil and gas industry on the global stage.

And, despite the world-wide recession, oil and gas is still Scotland’s 40 year old success story.

We’re exporting a record amount of products and services linked to oil and gas, with total supply chain sales worth in excess of £17 billion last year – with direct international sales accounting for almost half that figure.

oil and gas

The industry currently supports 200,000 jobs in Scotland with our supply chain of around 2000 companies tapping into opportunities both in the North Sea and across the globe.

To make sure we build on this success, last year we launched an industry led Oil & Gas Strategy, which aims to secure long term growth, increase supply chain sales to £30 billion by 2020 and increase recovery levels.

The key to achieving this vision includes strengthening our domestic supply chain, increasing export sales, identifying innovation priorities and promoting new opportunities for supply chain companies in the global marketplace.

We know we have some real competitive advantages which will help achieve these goals.

Advantages like our subsea sector expertise – where Scotland accounts for almost 40% of the global subsea expenditure.

This has been built up over the past four decades as the industry moved into deeper waters to access areas once thought too remote and difficult to reach.

As a result our expertise and knowledge is in demand across the world, and Scotland has become a significant global hub for development in this area.

We believe that the global oil and gas sector stands to benefit from the experience and knowledge that Scotland has built up over the past four decades.

Supporting Scotland’s oil and gas industry


At Scottish Enterprise we support key sectors, like oil and gas, and help businesses that operate within them to realise their growth ambitions.

As part of this we are developing new international partnerships that will help to continue the sector’s growth in overseas markets. Through our international arm, Scottish Development International, we are expanding our presence in key global markets.

At Offshore Europe we’ve organised specific events and invited inward delegations around a number of these markets, including West Africa, Australia, China, Brazil, Holland, Asia and the Middle East.

This will give Scottish companies direct access to information on how they take advantage of opportunities in these geographies.

We’ll also be showcasing the success of over 45 companies based in Scotland in winning business in these and other markets.

The companies will have the opportunity to meet members of our international GlobalScot network, which promotes Scottish businesses at home and abroad, at a special networking event.

We’re also delighted that both Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will be at the event, demonstrating the importance placed on the industry at the highest level.

That’s because the opportunities for Scotland in the oil and gas sector remain considerable, with a real sense of optimism for the future at a global level.

I’d like to welcome the many visitors from throughout the world to Aberdeen this week, and ask them to visit the Scottish Pavilion to find out more about what Scotland has to offer.

Paradise, provenance and the Western Isles

Western Isles beach

Neil Francis

What a summer! But like so many things in our family it started off with a complaint – apparently we were the only family in Jordanhill not going to Florida or some other far-off paradise – instead we went to the Western Isles but what a paradise.

Its attributes have recently been exquisitely illustrated in the series – Islands on the Edge. The series was produced by Maramedia – TV and Film Production based in Creative Clyde – a recent inward investment success joining Glasgow’s growing cluster of creative and digital media companies.

Craft beer and fashion

The summer for me got off to a fantastic start taking in dinner with Russian drinks buyers hosted at the Edinburgh headquarters of Innis and Gunn. We’ve been working with them on their international ambitions for some time.  This came as no surprise to me having now tried their products and gained an insight to their brand values – something very unique – check out Innis & Gunn – The Story.

Always thinking ahead and a must during our annual sojourn to the islands is a visit to Rarebird to stock up on Christmas presents. Rarebird specializes in handbags and accessories manufactured using Harris Tweed – an increasing international brand that is used to showcase much of Scotland’s fashion and textiles industry.

The company exports almost all its production mainly to Japan and Europe and you can just imagine the potential. However, after speaking to one of the owners, the dilemmas of growth, ambition and staying true to the essence of the business are striking.

Western Isles cottage

Technology and tourism

We also attended the South Harris show and renewed many acquaintances we have built up over the years through the friendly, but competitive, range of races, baking and craft and dog contests. One such family are the owners of the Borve Estate and, until recently, owners of Equateq pharmaceutical company based at Callanish. It was recently purchased by BASF for its leading omega 3 fatty acid technology. They’ve now turned their attention to the tourism industry and created two fabulous cottages chiselled out of the Harris granite. The Rock House and Broch deliver standards that would not look out of place at any of the world top tourism destinations.

International horizons

We also spent a view hours speeding around seas off the west coast of Lewis experiencing the wonders of golden eagles and their new born chicks, a vast colony of seals basking in the sun, and some stunning sea-stacks. To finish it off in style we bought some glorious hand-dived scallops saving them from the clutches of London’s Billingsgate fish market.

Western Isles pond

I never thought before that a holiday at home would be so international and full of wonderful surprises – a stunning example of an international Scotland in so many guises and one in which we, along with colleagues across Scottish Enterprise and the Highlands & Islands Enterprise, are doing so much to nurture, encourage and support.

For me there is something very tangible that connects all of these together and that is the notion of premium and provenance. This reminds of the Scots-born economist John Kay and his work on distinctive competencies and how these are the bedrock of sustainable competitiveness.

These distinctive competencies must be difficult or impossible to replicate – surely this applies to the premium and provenance qualities attached to the products, and assets that were so visible and plentiful on our summer holidays.

I hope your own holidays were as enjoyable as ours – and there hasn’t even been a whimper about Florida since we got back!

 

How Scotland’s expertise is leading on China trade


I’ve just returned from a visit to China and Hong Kong where I spent three days strengthening Scotland’s trade links with the world’s second largest economy.

It was also an opportunity to celebrate the success of those Scottish organisations already reaping the economic benefits of partnering with China.

There’s great potential for trade between Scotland and China. Expert advice and valuable connections are available to Scottish companies through our dedicated team at Scottish Development International.

The number of companies we’ve assisted to trade in China in recent years has more than doubled and Scottish exports to the region have risen sharply – up 26 percent in 2011 from the previous year.

Scottish expertise powers China’s offshore wind

On day one in Beijing I had the opportunity to meet two Scottish companies whose knowledge and expertise is much sought after in response to challenges facing Chinese industry.

Sgurr Energy sign offshore windfarm advisory contract with Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute (GEDI), witnessed by Anne MaColl, CEO Scottish Development International and Humza Yousaf, Scottish Minister for External Affairs and International Trade

Sgurr Energy signing offshore windfarm advisory contract with Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute (GEDI)

Glasgow-based consultancy SgurrEnergy have been active in China since 2006, capitalising on the growing interest in developing the renewables sector.The Chinese Government’s top priority is for 15 percent of energy to come from renewables by 2020.

Sgurr will help them achieve this by providing technical consultancy on the design and development of the Guandong province’s first offshore wind farm.

China banks on Scottish financial experts

China is also banking on Scotland’s expertise in financial services and education, as I learned when I witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Chartered Institute of Bankers Scotland and WMI China to launch the Certificate in Corporate Banking – a first for China.

The event was attended by a number of key influencers from the Chinese corporate banking community, a clear endorsement of the qualification, which is accredited by global standards set in Scotland.

Day two brought my first visit to Shenzhen since we opened our office there last year, Scotland’s internationally renowned education sector was front of stage in Shenzhen where we made three education-related announcements.

The organisations involved vary in size and scope – from a husband and wife team who started developing training courses for English language teachers in their garden shed five years ago to a university founded in 1451 and home to over 25,000 students.

What all three have in common, however, is that they are actively exporting their education expertise to China for the mutual economic benefit of both countries.

Hong Kong draws on Scotland’s green credentials

Anne MacColl, CEO Scottish Development International meets a giant robot at the entrance to the Green Building at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park

Our programme then took us to Hong Kong where it is clear that Scotland’s friendship is highly valued and helps underpin some tremendous collaboration.

One such collaboration is an agreement by SDI and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP) to work together on the development of Hong Kong’s low carbon sector.

One of the highlights of the trip was a tour of the HKSTP, a 22-hectare home for technology start ups and large multinationals offering world-class R&D facilities.

I was particularly impressed by the Green Building, home of the green technology cluster and an example of a living laboratory to showcase green technologies and sustainability practice.

I had the pleasure of signing the Memorandum of Understanding which will see SDI join forces with HKSTP to drive closer collaboration between green technology companies in Scotland and those in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government aims to develop a low carbon technology hub as part of their endeavour to build a greener, healthier and more liveable city.

The fact that Hong Kong looks to Scotland for support is testament to the fact that we are a global authority in renewables and low carbon.

Making new business connections

Tour of the Green Building at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park

On the final evening, I had the pleasure of having dinner with some of our Hong Kong GlobalScots. There was an open and frank discussion and the GlobalScots raised a number of keys points which in essence summed up the whole trip for me.

There are many opportunities for Scotland’s growth sectors in China and many ambitious Scottish companies regardless of size are reaping rich rewards in this market.

Doing business in China does have its challenges and it’s our role to make sure companies are as realistic and prepared as possible.

Key opportunities

  • Renewable energy
  • Life sciences and biotech
  • Financial services
  • Textiles
  • Creative industries and ICT
  • Education

What support is available for Scottish companies to trade with China?

Why is there so much interest in employee ownership?

Recently we hosted a meeting in our West Lothian office as part of a UK campaign to celebrate Employee Ownership (EO) Day on 4 July 2013.

Forty attendees heard short presentations from the Co-operative Development Scotland team at Scottish Enterprise, as well as three companies which spoke about their journey towards this different form of ownership.

John Matthews of Fitwise talks employee ownership

A question and answer session followed, with attendees keen to find out more about what’s involved in moving their business towards EO. It was a lively discussion, with a lot of information shared.

For anyone thinking about an EO model, there were some key learnings from the businesses already implementing this model:

Make sure as an owner that this is a route you want to go down, because once an owner starts talking about it with employees it would be hard to change track. It undoubtedly offers the best option for employees compared with a trade sale and will ensure the long-term future of the business, but it may not always maximise the sale value for the exiting owner.

Once you start the process, involve the team in all decision making. It’s going to be their business and they have to believe in its viability and understand the way that the benefits will accrue to them if they are to make to most of the opportunity and grow the business to its full potential.

Speak to people who work for EO companies or have been involved in their creation. It can appear to be quite a complex process with talk of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs), Share Incentive Plans (SIPs) and articles of association. Not many lawyers and accountants know how they operate so it makes sense to use ones that understand.

There are considerable tax advantages for exiting owners who want to convert to EO and to employees who own shares and earn dividends. Whilst a straight trade sale may potentially earn the person selling the business more, there are ways that an EO company sale can be more tax efficient.

EO company employees speak with a passion about their business in a way that is, in my view, unique.

Whether it is partners of John Lewis or Finance Directors of engineering companies or employees of an office, whoever you speak to seems genuinely to believe that this form of ownership is a sensible, equitable and motivational way to structure and run a business.

Too many companies earn money for a very few people or for institutions rather than for the people who create the value.

Forming an EO company is only the start of the journey. Most companies experience a slow cultural change with employees as they gradually appreciate the difference between being an employee and an owner.

It’s not that their day-to-day job changes in any significant way, they don’t all become managers, but over time they should experience a feeling of greater involvement, greater participation and having more say in their own destiny. A slow but worthwhile journey.

There are many different models of EO depending on the needs of the employees and owner, the financial viability of the business and the size of the organisation, so each company will end up with their own customised solution to employee ownership. The transition can take between six months to a couple of years.

If you are a business that is interested in this alternative to the traditional business model, I’d suggest you start talking to the Co-operative Development Scotland team at Scottish Enterprise who are there to help and advise you on your journey.

  • John Matthews is managing director of Fitwise Management Ltd, which is currently making the transition to employee ownership.
  • For more information visit www.fitwise.co.uk
  • For more information about Co-operative Development Scotland visit www.cdscotland.co.uk, email info@scotland.co.uk or call 0141 951 3055.

Employee ownership: Scotland’s hidden gem

Yesterday marked the UK’s first ever Employee Ownership Day.

Sarah Deas,  chief executive of Co-operative Development Scotland

Sarah Deas,  chief executive, Co-operative Development Scotland

Employee ownership is a business model that sustains businesses in their communities, engages employees and delivers productivity, innovation and growth.

UK-based employee-owned companies have a turnover in excess of £30 billion and employ over 130,000 people. In Scotland paper and board manufacturers Tullis Russell contributes a turnover in excess of £100m. Other examples include fabric manufacturers WL Gore and consulting engineers Arup.

This alternative to traditional business models can be applied across a variety of sectors and provides a significant boost to the Scottish economy.

Employee-owned businesses across the country are celebrating this dynamic, but sometimes overlooked way of doing business today by opening their doors and sharing their stories with the business community.

Uncovering Scotland’s hidden gem you might say.

But one that is more than capable of moving the Scottish economy forward.

Start-ups: when the going gets tough…

The final of the second round of the Scottish EDGE takes place today and I’m lucky enough to be part of the judging panel, listening to the pitches of 30 inspiring entrepreneurs.

Throughout a start-up’s journey there are many defining moments. The chance to relieve a little financial pressure by winning this competition is an incredible opportunity.

But it’s not all about the money.

It’s about the confidence that the budding entrepreneurs will gain to take the next step – perhaps spending money on finishing a product, hiring a key member of staff or starting a marketing campaign.

Most entrepreneurs are faced by the fear of failure − externally they may look very confident, yet typically they are much more cautious than appearances show. Entrepreneurs love to take risks, however, these are balanced and calculated to minimise the downside. Gaining access to some support gives them the ability to take the next step.

We are very lucky to have the drive and determination of Jim Duffy and the team at Espark who had the determination to go and ask the Scottish Government for support. Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway have also been instrumental in their support, by creating an ecosystem to support ambitious entrepreneurs.

When we started Diet Chef in 2008, the global banking crisis had just begun. Investors were nervous about start-ups and, although we had a very supportive banking relationship with RBS, we couldn’t get funding to grow our business.

So we used a slightly different model than most start-ups − we worked with our key suppliers.

They were the businesses that wanted us to grow and more customers allowed them to become more efficient in production.

We worked closely with them to help extend and plan our finances, cash flow and deliveries – helping us to streamline our growth and manage the limited investment we had.

We were bold.

We told one manufacturer that we would be bigger for them than Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco combined.

Initially they laughed at us but we guided them through our plan and showed them how we could work together.

Twelve months on, we achieved that goal.

This is one of the many occasions that people laughed at our idea, but to create new companies and products you need to be able to spot a gap in the market that no one else is exploiting.

The difference between success and failure is a sliver of extra hard work!

So, given my background, I’m very much looking forward to hearing the pitches today.

It’s important to encourage more companies and individuals to be brave enough to take the next step towards making their ambitions a reality − the Scottish EDGE is certainly one way of doing that.

Finally, for companies that didn’t get through to the final, it’s important to remember to never give up: instead, think of other ways to fund your growth.