Scotland is second only to London in the UK as an attractive place to invest, with incredible potential for businesses in Scotland to grow even more with the right strategic investment. However, there are certain factors that need to be considered and, more importantly, implemented if Scottish businesses are to appear as attractive investment targets on the international stage.
1. A stable economy
Scotland has a long history of a strong and stable economy thanks to our large variety of manufacturing industries. We rely on international trading relationships to export Scottish products all over the world each and every day, such as our £5.5 billion whisky industry. It is without doubt, however, that whatever the outcome of Brexit is, it will have serious implications for Scottish businesses which have already faced a challenging first half to 2019 according to government figures.
Prolonged uncertainty is unattractive to foreign investors, so balancing a stable economy is going to be critical to attract foreign investment. Protecting trade relationships and adapting to change will be key for Scottish businesses to continue to grow and for Scotland to present a trusted economy to the world.
2. Government backing
A government position that not only supports, but actively encourages inward investment will be vital for Scottish SMEs to get the international economic funding they need to thrive.
The Scottish Government is already making considerable steps to show the world’s largest economies that Scotland is ready and open for business. Trade missions and exhibitions are enhancing Scotland’s profile and connecting SMEs with their potential customers and suppliers in international markets. Tapping into the full potential of these partnerships, and emphasising the positive impact government initiatives can have for potential investors, will be more important now than ever before.
3. Private and public sector collaboration
Innovation in the private sector is vital for Scottish businesses to remain competitive. Collaboration between the private and public sectors allows Scottish businesses to access a broader range of skills, talent and resources to deliver innovative products and services to competitive global markets. A cohesive network of collaborative working has the ability to make a real difference to local communities by establishing a stable local economy and ecosystem.
4. A clear vision for the future
Businesses need to think beyond the Brexit outcome and prepare by having a clear strategy so that they are ready for various political outcomes, whether it is Brexit or a second Scottish independence referendum.
In times of such uncertainty, it is easy for businesses to forget the qualities and strengths that make them attractive prospects for investment in the first place.
There is undoubtedly turbulence ahead for the economy – this is to be expected when such important political change occurs. Maintaining business growth across our various industries is important to make sure the Scottish economy is on a sure a footing as possible. Beyond that, Scottish small and mid-market businesses must not allow themselves to become casualties of political uncertainty: rather they must remain attractive to foreign investment so we can continue to grow as a nation.