An interim review of Scotland’s Enterprise Areas has been published.
The Scottish Government designated 14 sites across Scotland with Enterprise Area (EA) status in April 2012, and another one in 2013.
The five-year designation was designed to support employment, investment and growth in particular sectors, namely; life sciences, low carbon/renewables and manufacturing.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) carried out the review on behalf of the Enterprise Area Working Group.
Businesses are offered incentives to locate within the EAs. While these are modest and low cost, the report recognises they can make a difference in attracting new investment and supporting the growth of businesses in the early stages of development.
The economic climate has resulted in slower uptake of EA sites than hoped, particularly in energy related sectors and supply chain. In light of this, the report recommends consideration is given to continuing the designation for a further five years beyond 2018.
The report also highlights a need to improve awareness of EAs in some instances. It recommends site owners and partners might be encouraged to use the status more in marketing the sites, for example, featuring it prominently on websites and publicity material.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
“I welcome this mid-term evaluation, which demonstrates that the incentives that come with Enterprise Area status complement wider support as a part of our work to support inclusive growth throughout the Scottish economy.
“At least 48 businesses have located in Enterprise Areas and they are now supporting more than 1,000 jobs. Businesses moving or opening on the sites welcome the financial and non-financial support, including rates relief, streamlined planning, and a clear public sector commitment to the area, which is used to attract inward investors.
“Enterprise Areas are specifically targeted on sites and sectors where there are specific opportunities ready to be developed, and where we can anchor companies in areas and develop supply chains that support growth and jobs in the wider area, and this report provides valuable insight as this long term policy continues to evolve.”
An executive summary of the report is online at www.hie.co.uk/enterprise-areas-review