Entrepreneurial Scotland’s chief executive calls Scottish SMEs a ‘world leader’


The chief executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland has called Scottish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) ‘a world leader’.

Sean McGrath made the remarks during a question and answer session after the Scottish Government’s National Economic Forum announcement.

He explained that Scottish SMEs were among the best at digital transformation and creating sustainable business models, with particular advantages in terms of environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) factors. “We are goldilocks, we are the right size to be an ESG nation,” he added.

Explaining her new economic strategy, Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “SMEs are the backbone of our economy, you can’t write a national strategy without including SMEs.

“It’s about getting balance, it’s a growth strategy, it’s a strategy to improve our economic performance by working with sectors and individual companies.”

The new plan has 77 goals divided into six sections to help grow the economy, with a focus on entrepreneurship.

Mariana Mazzucato, founder of University College London Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose, which helped establish the Scottish National Investment Bank, spoke about the bank’s plans at the event.

“There’s a lot of capital out there, we just don’t have the right climate here – the Scottish National Investment Bank is changing that with their patient, long-term and committed funding to these organisations.

“I was really proud to help set it up, to align with government effectively, and to hold the activity catalyzing government accountability by attaching conditions to loans.

“That may capture the financial reward of it, but the treasury also gets a share of the upside from other similar funds around the world.”

Also speaking at the event, Business and Transport Secretary Ivan McKee said Scottish Enterprise’s £20million investment in Livingston-based life sciences company Valneva, “changed the situation”.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also confirmed that it will lead to the safeguarding of more than 200 jobs and the expansion of its Covid-19 vaccine.

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