Creating the right environment for businesses to start, grow and make a positive impact on our communities

Scotland CAN DO
We will continue to support Scotland CAN DO, a network of public, private and third sector partners working together to make Scotland a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation.

Public Business Support
We are funding local authorities to deliver Business Gateway, giving small businesses access to free advice and support which is nationally consistent and tailored to local conditions.

Investing in regional economic development agencies at a time when they have been abolished in other parts of the UK, we are also helping businesses with growth ambitions to get more targeted support. This includes maintaining Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise while creating South of Scotland Enterprise.

Enterprise Areas
Located in 16 strategic sites across Scotland, the four Enterprise Areas provide supportive environments for small businesses in growing industries (life sciences, general manufacturing/growth sectors and low carbon/renewables) complementing wider support to foster economic development and job creation activity across Scotland.

Regional Economic Partnerships
We are supporting and encouraging local authorities to work with each other and regional partners (including private sector, education and skills providers, the third sector and economic development agencies) to align their resources and priorities towards delivering inclusive economic growth. In addition to the resources provided by Scotland’s Centre for Regional Inclusive Growth, our investment in City Region and Regional Growth Deals provides a catalyst for these partnerships which will help create the best conditions for small businesses to succeed.

Town Centre Action Plan
The Town Centre Action Plan promotes and supports the regeneration of Scotland’s towns and town centres so that they are vibrant, creative, enterprising and accessible. We have established a £50m capital Town Centre Fund to enable local authorities to stimulate and support a wide range of investments which encourage town centres to diversify and flourish, creating footfall through local improvements and partnerships.

This adds to our work through Scotland’s Towns Partnership to provide information, support and services which contribute to the vibrancy, vitality and viability of our town centres and neighbourhoods; and, to support the development of partnerships including Business Improvement Districts.

CAN DO Places
Drawn from the Town Centre Action Plan and Scotland CAN DO, CAN DO Places supports communities to take over redundant spaces for collaboration and co-working, creating more opportunities for small businesses to operate across urban and rural Scotland.

Rural Economy
A vibrant rural economy will help deliver sustainable growth and create opportunities for all, enabling small businesses to flourish in every part of Scotland. The National Council of Rural Advisers recommend that government provide a supportive enterprise environment for the development and growth of our rural businesses. Supporting delivery of this outcome are the Scottish Rural Parliament, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the LEADER Programme delivered by Local Action Groups, the Scottish Enterprise-led Rural Leadership Programme and a strategic approach to support the skills needs of rural Scotland with a Skills Action Plan for Rural Scotland.

Developing the Young Workforce
Small businesses have the opportunity to engage with young people at school and college and help the future workforce develops the skills they need through activities such as work-experience, company visits and influencing the curriculum.

Further Online Support
Small businesses can easily access a comprehensive range of tools and guidance on running a business from a wide range of sources at

Key resources:

Scotland CAN DO

Enterprise and Skills Review

Business Gateway

Scottish Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

South of Scotland Enterprise

South of Scotland Economic Partnership

Enterprise Areas

Scotland’s Centre for Regional Inclusive Growth

City Region Deals

CAN DO Places

Scottish Rural Parliament

LEADER Programme

Rural Leadership Programme

Developing the Young Workforce

Skills Action Plan for Rural Scotland

MyGov.Scot Business

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