Economic condition of crofting: 2019 to 2022

This is a report to the Scottish Parliament as outlined in the terms of section 51 of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, reflecting the economic condition of crofting and the measures taken by the Scottish Ministers, the Crofting Commission and others to support crofting during 2019 to 2022.

23. Digital Skills

23.1 Scottish Tech Ecosystem Review (STER)

23.1.1. As an emerging high growth area, technology is forecasted to be our fastest growing sector in Scotland between now and 2029, and the economic opportunities are vast. In May 2020, the Scottish Government commissioned a short-life review into how Scotland's technology sector can contribute to Scotland's economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

23.1.2. The recommendations of the Review aim to elevate Scotland's technology ecosystem to a world class level by creating a pipeline of profitable, scalable tech businesses that will attract inward investment and create job opportunities. The Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review (STER) programme is well underway with various work streams covering the 34 recommendations and spanning infrastructure, people, education, and investment. The Scottish Government has committed £60 million so far to the implementation of the STER recommendations.

23.2 Digitalisation

23.2.1. Following the publication of the National Development Plan for Crofting in March 2021, the Scottish Government has increased digital support to businesses of all sectors and in all regions of Scotland. The Scottish Government has committed £100 million to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to digitalise and improve their digital skills.

23.2.2. Since the initial Digital Development Grant funding in September 2020, the Scottish Government has invested almost £50 million to help digitalise SMEs with over 500 of these grants supporting businesses within the crofting counties to improve their digital capacity and capabilities.

23.2.3. This is in addition to the DigitalBoost national programme, led by Business Gateway, and the Scottish Government's Digital Development Loan that businesses can still access to support digital transformation.



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