As Scotland’s national business advice service celebrates ten years since its delivery passed to Local Authority control, figures show businesses supported by Business Gateway created over 100,000 jobs over the last decade.
With 99,004 businesses started with support from Business Gateway since Local Authorities took on delivery in 2008, 108,904 jobs have been created.
Figures for the annual period ending March 2018 also show that Scotland’s business community continues to use Business Gateway in significant numbers.
Throughout last year, Business Gateway provided support to 53,008 individual customers. This included people thinking of starting a business and existing businesses looking for support. The number of new businesses set up last year, with support from Business Gateway, was 9,129 with almost half (47%) being led by women.
Steven Heddle, Chair of the Business Gateway Board, said: “Local Government in Scotland is helping to build strong and sustainable communities by enabling councils to drive inclusive economic growth and investment in business support, economic development, skills and regeneration. The Business Gateway service is a key element in delivering Scotland’s Economic and Digital Strategies.
“Since control of the Business Gateway service passed from Scottish Enterprise to local authorities in 2008 99,004 new businesses have been created which in turn have created many thousands of new jobs. The growth ambitions of tens of thousands of existing businesses have also been supported through our network of business advisers based in local offices across the whole of Scotland. The successful delivery of the Business Gateway service also benefits from working closely with our partners, including Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.”
Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown said: “Business Gateway continue to play a crucial role in Scotland’s public enterprise support system. The numbers of individuals supported, businesses brought into existence and jobs created due to the commitment of advisors in local offices across Scotland throughout this past year and over the last decade deserves recognition.
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting local authorities to deliver Business Gateway has achieved such a positive impact and is helping to build sustainable and inclusive growth across our whole nation.”
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The number of clients projecting significant growth, e.g., by taking on new employees, increasing their sales or entering new international markets, is 3,166. These companies receive support from a Business Gateway Growth Adviser and are able to access additional support from the Enterprise Agencies.
84% of people who have used the service said they were satisfied, with 85% saying they would recommend it to others.
Hugh Lightbody, Chief Officer Business Gateway National Unit said: “Scotland’s SMEs show resilience and determination to succeed and 87% of Business Gateway customers say that using the free service will help them achieve their ambitions. Over the last ten years the Business Gateway service has responded positively in response to specific local needs, challenging and unprecedented economic conditions as well as the rapid growth of digital technologies.”
The DigitalBoost programme, which recently received additional funding of £1.7m from the Scottish Government, has seen Scotland’s SMEs embrace digital technology. Throughout the year ending March 2018, 617 businesses received valuable 1:1 support to make improvements to their digital footprint, 2,483 digital healthchecks were carried out by businesses and 7,941 training guides were downloaded. The number of online tutorials undertaken was 2,923.
DigitalBoost is aimed at helping Scottish SMEs capitalise on the ever-changing area of digital technology. The programme provides a range of digital training including online tutorials, practical guides, 1:1 support from a digital expert and local workshops on topics including social media, cyber resilience, data analytics, digital marketing strategy and e-commerce.