We are helping small businesses to start, flourish and make a positive impact by giving them the right mix of skills and tools to succeed

Business Gateway
We fund local authorities to deliver Business Gateway, helping more than 45,000 people a year to gain invaluable advice and support to start and grow businesses. This is adapted to local conditions and includes online resources, free events and workshops, bespoke advice from business experts and specialist support for businesses with growth ambitions.

Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise is resourced to directly support 12,000 businesses each year in achieving long-term sustainable growth. This gives businesses the opportunity to access expertise, products and services which support innovation, international trade, investment and workplace innovation. In 2017-18, this helped account-managed businesses generate £1.2 billion in turnover growth, a £396 million growth in exports and 2,600 extra jobs.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Highlands and Islands Enterprise directly supports 1550 business across the region, of which 500 are account managed. This includes training and events, advice and information as well as access to one-to-one tailored support and finance.

Job Creation and Workforce Development
We are helping businesses to create and sustain employment opportunities, access talent and develop the skills of employees. Regional Selective Assistance, delivered by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is the main scheme of financial assistance to industry, 74 of 75 offers in 2017/18 going to small businesses. These were worth £11.6 million and supported projects involving planned investment of £46.5 million and the expected creation or safeguarding of 1,438 jobs.

Small business can also benefit from our Apprenticeship family of offerings including Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships. These Apprenticeships provide a fantastic opportunity for all employers, regardless of size and sector, to develop their workforce and contribute to business and economic growth. 90% of the 12,000 businesses taking on apprentices are estimated to be small businesses. Meanwhile, there is free support from Skills Development Scotland, through Skills for Growth, to help businesses with between 5 and 250 employees to understand their training needs to meet business objectives and achieve growth aspirations.

Small businesses in the creative industries can access more specialised support which is funded through Creative Scotland. This includes place based support through organisations such Creative Edinburgh, Creative Dundee, and Creative Stirling who in different ways provide professional support, opportunity for networks and mentoring, and peer to peer support. Creative Scotland also fund development organisations for specific sub-sectors such as Craft Scotland, the Federation of Scottish Theatre, the Scottish Music Industry Association, and Publishing Scotland. These organisations act as the voice and network for their sub-sectors and promote development, joint initiatives and partnerships.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise, through XpoNorth, provides a creative industries network that delivers year-round business support as well as Scotland’s leading Creative Industries festival every year in Inverness.

Along with our visitor economy agencies, we deliver resources to provide support tailored to tourism businesses, helping them access the right tools and resources to grow through the Big 5 Questions campaign developed with the Scottish Tourism Alliance and our public sector agencies. VisitScotland, our lead tourism agency, also offers one-to-one business support from dedicated Industry Relationship Managers, a range of free marketing toolkits, details of potential financial support such as the VisitScotland Growth Fund and opportunities to learn, develop and network.

We have also provided VisitScotland with a total of £1 million for a south of Scotland specific campaign between 2018 and 2020 that will provide specific marketing activity for the area to heal increase business growth.

Food and Drink
Scottish Agricultural College Food and Drink lead the delivery of the Connect Local advisory service which supports the growth of local food and drink businesses, including the management of the Connect Local Regional Food Fund. The first two years of this service have resulted in: work with 40 regional and sector specific food groups; assistance in 598 trading introductions; 39 business growth workshops; start-up, scale-up and growth advice to 236 businesses; and 15,000 unique visits to the business support and advice website.

Rural – Community Led Approach
We enable Growbiz, a community-based enterprise support organisation supporting people in rural Perth & Kinross to build their own sustainable businesses. Services are free and confidential, and include 1-1 meetings, peer support, learning sessions, mentoring, training and networking opportunities tailored to the differing needs of new or existing rural community based businesses. Their award winning mentoring programme has trained more than 60 local mentors

Key resources:

Business Gateway

Scottish Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Regional Selective Assistance Grants

Modern Apprenticeships

Skills for Growth

Cultural Enterprise Office

Craft Scotland

Scottish Music Industry Association

Screen Scotland

Publishing Scotland

Arts & Business Scotland

Big 5 Questions for Tourism Businesses

Visit Scotland Business Support

Connect Local for Food and Drink Businesses

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