Digital Growth Fund: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/01670
Date received: 15 June 2018
Date responded: 10 July 2018

Information requested

The amount committed by SG to the Digital Growth Fund for the amount of money that has been paid out through the Fund to date; list of payees and business case for Fund.


The answer to your question is :

The Digital Growth Fund will make available up to £36 million of loans, over a three year period (2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21), to support the development of Scottish business's digital skills and capability.

The Digital Development Loan is the first scheme delivered under this Fund. This is making £2 million available in the first instance and was launched on 18 June 2018. We expect loans to begin to be paid out under this scheme shortly. Further uses for the Digital Growth Fund are currently being considered.

The establishment of the Fund reflected a range of evidence demonstrating the need to improve digital skills in Scotland's SME base.

47% of businesses in Scotland identify some gaps in their digital skills and 21 % believe these gaps to be "significant" (The Digital Economy Business Survey 2017).

Despite this gap, 48% said they were not taking any action to develop digital skills, and had no plans to do so.

Analysis by the SG's Office of the Chief Economic Adviser suggests that adoption of digital technologies and the availability of digital skills are amongst the top priority drivers of inclusive growth in Scotland.

The scheme was developed in consultation with the sector, with particular attention given to how best it could be made attractive to SMEs. It was decided through these discussions that the loan scheme should cover SMEs digital capabilities and processes as well as skills attainment.

The Digital Growth Fund was a key element of A Digital Strategy For Scotland: Realising Scotland's Full Potential In A Digital World (published April 2017), which set out a wider range of interventions to ensure Scotland reaps the benefits of the digital age.

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