Our plan for Scotland: supporting businesses

Nicola Sturgeon has announced the Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead. We want Scotland to be the best place in the world to do business and our Programme for Government sets out the further steps we will take to achieve this.


Here’s how.


Supporting innovation and entrepreneurialism


  • A Scottish National Investment Bank will be established to support businesses with the long-term investment they need to grow.


  • An ‘Unlocking Ambition’ entrepreneurs challenge will be set-up to invest in 40 people who have big ideas and ambitions chosen and mentored by Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs.


  • Support for business research and development will be increased by 70 per cent per year – meaning an extra £45 million of support over three years.


  • To ensure Scotland’s manufacturers can compete in the innovative markets of the future, a National Manufacturing Institute will be established. In the coming year the location and lead partners for the Institute will be announced.


Creating the best conditions to do business


  • In the next year a Planning Bill will be introduced to reform planning and simplify the process to attract greater investment in infrastructure.


  • We have extended the Small Business Bonus Scheme, ensuring that 100,000 small businesses in Scotland pay no rates at all.


  • We are taking forward the recommendations of the Barclay review into the business rates regime. We will ensure that new build properties don’t pay Business Rates until they’re occupied and tenants won’t pay rates for their first 12 months – a UK first.


  • A new Strategic Board will ensure enterprise and skills agencies work together to support businesses in key sectors to grow. We will also set up a new South of Scotland development agency to boost growth in the region.


Investing in our infrastructure



  • Important infrastructure projects are being delivered this year: connecting Glasgow and Edinburgh with continuous motorway for the first time; the Queensferry Crossing; the first stage of the A9 dualling; and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.


  • We are on track to exceed our goal of providing fibre broadband to 95 per cent of properties this year. We will now take the first steps towards delivering superfast broadband to 100 per cent of properties by 2021.


Supporting businesses to trade with the world


  • A new network of Trade Envoys will be established this year to champion Scottish businesses in key markets overseas.


  • We have already established Innovation and Investment Hubs in London, Dublin and Brussels. Later this year a Hub will open in Berlin and we’ll now establish one in Paris too.