Scottish SMEs encouraged to innovate and collaborate

Businesses in Scotland are being urged to focus on innovation and work more collaboratively in order to expand and create economic growth.

Enterprise minister Fergus Ewing emphasised the importance of research and development in fostering business growth at a recent visit to a successful house-building supplier.

"Innovative companies form the cornerstone of stimulating market growth," he said.

Earlier this week, Mr Ewing also helped to launch a £40,000 collaboration prize designed to encourage Scottish businesses to work together.

This year's prize will allow businesses to pitch their idea for a new co-operative in three key sectors:

  • food and drink
  • tourism
  • the creative industries. 

Four winning ideas, to be announced in October, will each be awarded a cash prize of £5,000 as well as £5,000 of support.

According to Scottish Enterprise, 578 co-operative businesses are already in operation in Scotland, employing around 28,000 people and creating a combined turnover of £4 billion.

Launching the prize, Fergus Ewing, said: "The 250-year-old roots of the co-operative movement can be traced here to Scotland. Its principles of economic vitality and social responsibility resonate with the ambitions of this government and are perhaps more relevant today than ever before."

Sarah Deas, chief executive of Co-operative Development Scotland, said: "After the success of the 2012 Collaboration Prize we have increased the level of support to £40,000. In an ever more global economy, collaboration offers our many SMEs the opportunity to increase their capacity and in turn help deliver sustainable growth to Scotland."