Digital support for businesses

We want to help businesses across Scotland use digital technologies effectively to grow and compete internationally.

Embracing digital technology offers many benefits for businesses, including the ability to engage with customers directly, to develop new processes and products, and to sell these products to a global market, 24 hours a day at relatively low cost.

In our digital strategy, Realising Scotland's full potential in a digital world (March 2017), we set out to:

  • launch a new Digital Growth Fund to address the current lack of people with the necessary digital skills
  • extend our Digital Boost programme to give advice and support that improves the level of digital maturity amongst businesses in every part of Scotland
  • create the conditions in which our digital technologies industries can thrive, working with industry to meet a shared objective to employ 150,000 people in digital technology roles over the next five years

We are committed to improving the digital skill levels of the people in Scotland, and increase the number of people employed in the digital sector to 150,000 over the next five years.

We are also committed to offering digital support for businesses to help them become internationally competitive.

To do this we have developed the following programmes.

Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership (DSBEP)

The DSBEP is a partnership of public and private sector bodies. Through it we have invested £15.5 million in delivering initiatives designed to help Scottish businesses of all sizes increase their digital awareness, use and capability. These include:

  • DigitalBoost, our national digital engagement programme delivered in partnership with Business Gateway and Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Digital Tourism Scotland, delivered by Scottish Enterprise
  • #Hellodigital, a digital excellence and demonstration centre at the University of Highlands and Islands Inverness campus, delivered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • a Digital Economy Business Survey 2014 to help us assess where Scotland's businesses stand in terms of harnessing the power of digital

Digital Growth Fund

Announced in March 2017, the Digital Growth Fund will provide loans to companies to provide training for their staff in digital skills such as cyber security, data analytics and software engineering. Involving up to £36 million of loans over the next three years, this will enable up to an estimated 6,000 people to be trained in each of the next three years.

Digital skills

We have provided £8.5 million to Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to run a digital skills programme designed to meet the digital skills challenges facing Scotland's economy. The programme is built around our Skills Investment Plan.

This programme has given support to:

  • CodeClan, an industry-led digital skills academy which opened in Edinburgh in 2015
  • Digital World, a multi-media marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness about digital skills, qualifications and the many diverse career opportunities these can lead to
  • Digital Xtra, which has awarded £400,000 to a number of extra-curricular clubs and activities designed to increase digital skills and interest among young people across Scotland
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