With a focus on accelerating growth and diversification across the region, companies of all sizes are being encouraged to explore their options to diversify, innovate, invest in their businesses and expand.
However, for some ambitious companies, a critical barrier to growth can be a lack of knowledge about how to raise funding and where best to seek support. With an array of private and public-sector funding sources available, it can be challenging for businesses to know who they should turn to and when.
That’s where Scottish Enterprise, the country’s national economic development agency, can help companies achieve their growth ambitions by supporting them with a variety of flexible funding options including grants, loans and equity investments.
Scottish Enterprise is already working with companies across the North of Scotland to help them realise ambitions, and says support is available at all stages of growth.
Derek Shaw, head of investment management with the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, explained: “We are keen to support companies with genuine capacity to scale up, and we can help them find the right funding to meet their business needs.
“For companies who may find it difficult to find funding through traditional routes, we have the ability to offer a diversity of support, help them make sense of the options out there and get the best match.”
This variety of advice and financial support offered by Scottish Enterprise enables companies to identify the funding that is right for them throughout their life cycle – from start-up, early-stage businesses through to those requiring additional capital to scale and grow internationally.
Derek, pictured above, added: “Equity, loan and grant funding are all available to Scottish-based companies with ambitions to grow, and we can help them find the right support to meet their business needs.
“Our message to these businesses is to come and talk to us as soon as possible about your plans, as our experience has shown that the sooner we have those conversations, the better the impact for both the company and the economy.
“Grants and loans are available for a wide range of purposes. For example, an R&D grant could enable a business to research an innovative new product or service and, as it is non-dilutive capital, it can be attractive to companies and investors alike.
“A loan could be used for established viable businesses that are seeking additional working capital or funding to invest in their facilities or equipment that they can’t, for a variety of reasons, get from traditional lending sources.
“The terms of our loans are flexible and can be tailored to the specific needs of the company. Equity funding, on the other hand, often provides vital capital in the early stages of a high-growth company where alternative sources of funding are not as appropriate. Working alongside private-sector investors, we provide patient capital where we can take a long-term view on our investments, thereby seeking to grow and scale companies in the medium-to-longer term.”
Scottish Enterprise is working with businesses from the oil and gas sector to support diversification and ensure companies are ready to embrace the opportunities at home and overseas as the UK transitions to a lower-carbon economy.
Derek explained: “Oil and gas has such an important part to play in the wider energy mix, and we see this as being an exciting time for the business in the region. If we look at the wider supply chain, we see real opportunities for ambitious companies looking for diversify and expand; that could be in the transfer of knowledge through a service offering, or working in different energy markets.
Scottish Enterprise works closely with key stakeholders across the region to help grow companies, not only in the energy market, but businesses in a range of sectors that have growth potential, including food and drink, life sciences and technology companies, amongst others. It also provides advice and help to businesses to raise funding, become more productive and internationally competitive.
Derek said: “We already have a number of key globally-leading businesses such as NovaBiotics in the region, and we are looking at how you can support more companies across a range of sectors so that the North East has more of a diverse economy.”
Along with funding, businesses are also supported with advice on leadership, technology, innovation, research and development, and strategy. Through the agency’s GlobalScot network, companies can also be linked to expertise and contacts in markets around the world.
Derek added: “Change in the global economic landscape brings opportunities as well as challenges. We are seeing new areas emerging promising tremendous opportunities for companies in Scotland and we’re here to help them achieve success.
“Whether you are looking to innovate, invest in your facilities for further growth, or expand into international markets, come and talk to us to see if we can help.”
How to apply for funding:
To find out more visit Scottish Enterprise’s website to be put in touch with a team who will assess your business requirements and discuss funding options.