Scotland’s business environment is very receptive to foreign investment. Just a few of the advantages of relocating, purchasing or starting a business in Scotland include: a wealth of natural resources, a political environment supportive of entrepreneurship, excellent infrastructure, low operating costs, a highly skilled workforce, and a famous culture and lifestyle that helps companies recruit high quality staff from abroad. Key Scotland business sectors, with respect to growth potential and economic importance, are as follows:
food products – Agriculture is an important sector of the Scottish economy. About 75% of land is under agricultural production (25% of land is under cultivation). Important agricultural outputs include cattle, sheep, dairy, hogs, poultry, cereals, oilseed, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. The Scottish fishing industry, prevalent in many coastal towns, makes up a significant portion of total UK fisheries. With a decline in fish stocks, aquaculture (predominately salmon), has increased in prominence. In regards to to value-added production, food processing is a key component of Scotland’s manufacturing sector (most notable export is Scotland’s world-famous whisky).
textiles – Despite increasing competition from low-cost textile producers in Southeast Asia and South Asia, Scottish textile production (yarn, woolen knitwear, silk and linen apparel) still maintains a presence on the international market.
energy – Thanks to North Sea oil, Scotland is the EU’s largest petroleum producer. Aberdeen is the center of the Scottish oil and gas industry, with its port and harbor serving many offshore oil fields. In addition to hydrocarbons, renewable energy is playing a larger and larger role in the Scottish economy. Many wind farms are being built on the coast and in the hills, while major innovation in harnessing the wave and tidal potential is ongoing as well.
chemicals and pharmaceuticals – Incorporating basic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals, the industry as a whole is one of Scotland’s top exporters, winning overseas exports valued at £3 billion a year (sdi.co.uk).
aerospace, defense and marine – Scotland has a long history of excellence in aerospace, defense and marine. Presently there are over 800 companies based in Scotland (from small indigenous firms to large global players), working in spheres ranging from design and manufacturing, to maintenance, repair and overhaul (sdi.co.uk).
information & communication technologies (ICT) – Thanks to strong links between Scottish universities and the private sector, Scotland is home to a dynamic and fast growing information and communication technologies sector. The epicenter of Scotland’s ICT sector is a high-technology “Silicon Glen” corridor, which is located between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
digital media and creative industries – The rapid developments in media, mobility and the internet are currently fuelling significant growth within Scotland’s creative industries sector. Key industries such as gaming, animation, film, television, music and publishing contribute billions of pounds to the local economy and help spur hundreds of innovative Scottish startups.
life sciences – Scotland hosts one of the largest life science clusters in Europe with significant international presence in research, development and manufacturing.
financial services – With many large banks, insurance and investment firms based in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital is the second largest financial services center in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe (in terms of funds under management).
business process outsourcing (BPO) – Building on existing expertise in the financial services sector, an excellent reputation for delivering quality service, and significant operational cost benefits, Scotland has become a favorite location for international contact centers and shared service centers (payroll, accounting, customer service, HR).
tourism – Scotland is a popular tourist destination thanks in large part to its unique culture, unspoiled countryside, mountains and abundant history.