Scottish Enterprise has seven national programmes, one of which is based around a digital economy, that aims to support the scale-up and growth of digital tech businesses across every region to ensure Scotland is a leading digital nation.

Mark Logan’s Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review (STER) made recommendations that are being taken forward in the Scottish Government’s digital policies and Scottish Enterprise has also embraced the findings in its digital programme across economic opportunities, place, and inward investment.

Scottish Enterprise digital economy team leader David Hartley said: “We are aiming to increase the scale, quality and quantity of early-stage digital tech businesses across Scotland through a range of activity and build on our strengths working alongside public sector partners and industry.

“The Scottish Government will support the creation of five tech-scaler hubs across Scotland and highlights how the STER recommendations to support the digital tech sector are taking shape.

“At Scottish Enterprise we have a key role to play in improving the digital tech ecosystem in line with the STER recommendations, with particular focus on regional growth through digital tech, so we can really help businesses to scale-up right across Scotland to reach a tipping point for further growth.”

There are companies working across Scotland in every industry developing technology solutions both in and out of the workplace and 11,200 tech companies contribute £6.5 billion to the Scottish economy.

From the data tools that analyse marketing trends, to scientific studies, to the software people use to create business reports, produce manufacturing plans, or undertake financial transactions – all the technology can be developed in Scotland.

Financial tech or Fintech as it is more commonly known is a growth industry and a major digital tech opportunity for Scotland driven by increasing demand for innovative solutions across the financial services industry and broader economy.

The Scottish FinTech SME community grew from 26 firms in 2018 to 190 firms today and Scottish Enterprise supported this significant growth and establishment of FinTech Scotland in 2018 and has remained a core strategic partner ever since.

The use of data and in particular ‘location data’ plays a key part across society and business from tracking health to weather patterns.

Scottish Enterprise supported the set-up of Location Data Scotland in 2020 that now has organisations across many sectors collaborating and gaining insights from location data.

Location data has also been used to help combat climate change and nano satellite manufacturer Spire Global based in Glasgow signed a deal with NASA for Earth Observation to look at climate change and during the pandemic provided its weather data free of charge to the UK MET Office.

A recent report commissioned by Scottish Enterprise looking at Climate Tech shows the enormous potential for innovation in this area and within the workplace environment itself the technology available to monitor the energy of offices and even ensure buildings emissions are net zero have been developed in Scotland.

Companies like Integrated Environmental Solutions and Arceptive, both based in Glasgow, had support via Scottish Enterprise’s AI Can Do funding stream in 2020 to develop projects to look at the environmental performance of buildings.

Digital technology is experiencing both domestic and international growth and is Scotland’s fastest-growing sector for inward investment as also highlighted in Scotland’s Inward Investment Plan.

With centres of excellence for collaboration across cyber security, data, fintech, global business services, software, IT and space it is easy to see why companies such as Cherwell, Global, Auticon, Black Arrow, TranSwap and BigTinCan have located in Scotland to do business.

Edinburgh is the data capital of Europe and the UK’s top city for start-ups, with 92% growth potential, while Tech Nation has highlighted Glasgow as one of the UK’s biggest tech investment hubs and Dundee, with an upcoming cyber security hub, shows our strengths here in Scotland.

With the vast amount of tech in operation its security is also vital and Abertay’s new Cyberquarter project is an exciting regional resource that confirms Dundee’s place on the cyber security map that Scottish Enterprise has supported alongside Scottish Government.

Scottish Enterprise digital economy team leader David Hartley concludes: “All of this highlights how Scotland can capitalise on its talent, strengths and infrastructure to encourage companies to invest and grow here.

“The increasing digital nature of our lives from the workplace to healthcare, banking and leisure time provides opportunities for companies to provide tech solutions and grow Scotland’s digital economy into one that is developing in every sense.”