Scotland's Economy

Scottish Business Buzz (10.05.17)

Written by Rhona Middler

Boost for Scotland’s digital tech sector.

A Scottish Government-run accelerate programme plans to revolutionise how technology led businesses work with the public sector.

CivTech®  aims to match digital tech innovators, typically start-ups and SMEs, with public sector organisations looking to create digital solutions for a range of ‘civic challenges’.

It aims to drive innovation in public services, empower the public sector to think differently, and provide economic development opportunities for digital companies.

Last year’s pilot saw nine firms deliver a range of products in partnership with the likes of SEPA, the  NHS and Transport Scotland. This led to a new flood forecasting system, smart road monitoring software which promises “to detect potholes before they happen”, and a new fundraising service for homeless people enabling them to raise and access emergency funding.

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Scottish small firms enjoy UK’s fastest rate of growth

A report published today by London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) revealed that small firms in Scotland are growing at the fastest rate in the UK, with about 90% annual average revenue growth.

The organisation said the report, called 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain, has identified the quickest-growing and most dynamic SMEs, revealing overall growth of 70 per cent a year, up from 50 per cent last year, and growth across all regions.

Companies in engineering and construction led the charge in terms of the overall total, at 134, followed by financial services at 82, while property was the fastest-growing sector, with an average annual revenue growth rate of more than 100 per cent, while the number of SMEs from the IT industry jumped by a fifth.

LSEG chief executive Xavier Rolet said the report acknowledges “the dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses across the country that are boosting UK productivity, driving economic growth and creating jobs”. Rolet also said the companies “are the very heart of an ‘antifragile’ economy: more robust; more flexible and less prone to boom and bust”.

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500 million barrel boom could be recovered from find west of Shetland 

An expert report by RPS energy consultancy on the Lancaster field has found more than 500 million barrels could be recovered from just one giant find in what is a relatively under-explored area.

RPS highlight the commercial appeal of a plan for an initial development of the field they reckon could be worth $500m (£388m) plus, even in a low oil price environment.

Their findings will focus attention on the work of the oil and gas junior behind the Lancaster find, Hurricane Energy. The Surrey-based company has made a series of discoveries off Shetland after focusing on an area that had received little attention from bigger fish.

Hurricane Energy’s chief executive, Robert Trice, saying the report provided welcome confirmation from experts that Hurricane’s excitement about the results of recent work on Lancaster had been justified.

Aim-listed Hurricane believes the six year period should give it enough time to develop plans to produce the remaining 486m barrels, which are classed as contingent resources.

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Scotland food & drink partnership launches Make Innovation Happen

Scotland’s food and drink industry has today launched Make Innovation Happen, a new and ambitious service to support food and drink businesses to innovate. The service is delivered through a coalition of key public sector and industry bodies working together collaboratively to drive innovation, with £1.1m of critical funding coming from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

In March, the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership launched ‘Ambition 2030’, the industry’s new strategy. This bold strategy establishes a vision to cement food and drink as Scotland’s most valuable industry and outlines the goal to double turnover in the sector to £30 billion by 2030.

Make Innovation Happen is being launched by the Scotland Food and Drink Innovation Working Group as the first step towards Ambition 2030 which prioritises innovation as critical to continued success in the sector.

Innovation in farming, fishing, food and drink is vital to empower Scotland’s food and drink businesses to respond to today’s consumer and market needs and to adapt to future challenges and opportunities.

The new Make Innovation Happen service will provide food and drink businesses in Scotland looking for information and support with a single, streamlined access route to help them innovate.  This service includes support for both incremental and disruptive innovation and is open to all businesses across the supply chain from farm to fork.

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About the author

Rhona Middler

Rhona is Business for Scotland's Engagement Executive and Events Manager.

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