New facility to help raise Scotland’s international profile
A new innovation and investment hub in London is set to provide Scottish companies with a place to meet clients and customers, target new markets and secure investment, Economy Secretary Keith Brown confirmed today (Wednesday, 1 March).
Scottish businesses are being encouraged to register their interest in ‘Scotland House’, which will provide a meeting space for businesses and other organisations as well as London-based support to businesses working with Scotland’s enterprise and tourism agencies.
Members of Scotland House will be able to use the co-working and events space when they are in the capital and access a regular programme of business events and networking opportunities.
Based at 58 Victoria Embankment, Scotland House will also provide a base for the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Development International and VisitScotland in London.
It follows the opening of the first Innovation and Investment Hub in Dublin last year with plans progressing on hubs in Brussels and Berlin.
Brown said: “London is a very important trading market and a meeting place for the world’s business leaders, but for Scottish businesses it can be challenging and costly to try and break into these markets.
“I would encourage businesses to register their interest and recognise the benefits of the new hub as it will play a critical role attracting investment to Scotland, helping businesses trade internationally and raising Scotland’s international profile.
“Scotland House will provide Scottish companies with a base to build new partnerships and a low cost place to trade.
“As we face the uncertainty and threat of a hard Brexit, having a Scottish hub in London will help stabilise and stimulate the Scottish economy and show that we are open for business.
“We are already seeing the benefits of our presence in Dublin and will be expanding our investment and innovation hubs to include Brussels and Berlin.”
Mr Brown announced further details on a visit to innovative learning and development company Insights, which recently opened its second Dundee office. It will look to use Scotland House to build on its existing work with clients in London and across the UK.
Insights chief executive Andy Lothian said: “Insights is a really successful global organisation going through a period of significant growth. We have a strong and effective base in Dundee and a presence in more than 40 countries around the world, however we can’t be everywhere.
“Having access to a fantastic facility like the new hub in London will help us connect with clients from the UK and Europe, and create links with other like-minded businesses that are equally committed to global innovation and growth.”
Scotland House will be based at 58 Victoria Embankment which has been redeveloped by Nesta, an innovation foundation which backs new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time.
Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of Nesta, said: “We have designed 58 Victoria Embankment – also our new headquarters – as a venue to work, to meet and to host events. The vision of Scotland House is hugely complementary to our own: Nesta has a strong history of bringing people together and providing a place to convene and network in the spirit of collaboration and innovation. We have worked in Scotland since our inception, in many fields – from the creative industries to promoting the use of digital tools in local authorities.
“Co-locating with the Scottish Government’s investment and innovation hub will only enhance the creative potential of those working in and with people at 58 Victoria Embankment. We look forward to welcoming Scotland House and its members.
Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International, said: “London is a global hub that is already one of Scotland’s most important business partners, but there are significant opportunities for Scottish companies to win even more new business, collaborate with partners and engage with investors in London….and for international businesses in London to benefit from Scotland as a location investment location.
“We want to make it quicker, easier and more cost effective to connect with these audiences and, by investing in the Hub, we are ensuring that Scottish companies can benefit from a flexible, cost effective, low-risk London base and secure a faster route to achieving their international growth ambitions.
“We look forward to working with our partners to progress our international trade, investment and innovation agendas from London, and secure a positive impact on the Scottish economy via new partnerships, alliances and investment.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “VisitScotland is committed to supporting Scotland’s tourism industry in their aspirations to internationalise, and to attract more business and income from international markets.
“The opening of the new Innovation and Investment Hub in London will provide a fantastic platform for Scottish tourism businesses to do just that.
“Scotland House will enable businesses to engage with international operators on a global stage, giving them a louder voice in new and emerging markets and ultimately making Scotland more connected than ever before.”
David Oxley, director of business and sector growth at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said: “Links between the Highlands and Islands and London have never been stronger. The huge improvements in transport and digital connectivity in particular are making it much easier for companies here to connect with London, both in its own right and as a gateway to world markets.
“Many of our entrepreneurs are frequent visitors to the city for events and meetings at which they engage with UK and overseas contacts. A facility they can use as a base there will be a great asset to many and we would encourage businesses to register an interest.”