Doing business in Scotland
Although best known for whiskey and golf courses, Scotland provides an excellent hub for Australian companies expanding to the UK or Europe. Located north of the English border, Scotland boasts a highly educated population, several thriving economic sectors, a long-standing culture of innovation and easy access to mainland Europe. Given the strong historic and cultural links between Australia and Scotland, numerous opportunities exist for two-way trade and investment between the countries.
Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is one of Europe’s largest financial centres and home of the popular Edinburgh Festival. The bustling Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, has the third largest GDP per capita in the UK and houses a world-class Digital Media Quarter and the headquarters of BBC Scotland.
In recent years, Scotland has established itself as a leader in knowledge-driven sectors, including life sciences, renewable energy, financial services and digital media. To further develop these industries, the Scottish Government provides significant support and incentives for foreign companies to expand to Scotland. A number of Australian companies have already taken up this offer and established Scottish operations in these sectors, particularly in financial services and energy.
Scotland’s attractiveness as an investment destination was recognised when it was voted European Region of the Future 2008/09 by the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine. Reasons why people choose Scotland:
Reduced costs with no compromise in quality
Scotland offers considerable cost savings compared to other European centres such as London. In some industries, companies can save up to 30 percent by basing their operations in Scotland. For this reason, many global companies locate their back office, software development or support services in Scotland.
Highly educated and skilled population
Scots make up one of the most reliable, hard-working and highly motivated workforces anywhere in the world. In addition, Scotland boasts the largest concentration of universities in Europe and produces a steady stream of the best research and graduate talent. These factors combined provide a deep, high quality talent pool for Australian companies setting up operations in Scotland. First State Investments, the international arm of Australian fund manager Colonial First State, employs more than 100 people in its St Andrews Square office in Edinburgh.
Scotland’s distinct culture, high standard of living and excellent education and healthcare services are among the many reasons why thousands of people move to Scotland each year. Few other countries can offer cosmopolitan, modern cities that lie within such a short distance of unspoilt rural locations. Commuting times are low, and more than 2 million people live within a 60-minute drive of the main cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The lifestyle on offer in Scotland also assists with sales and networking. Where better to close a deal than on one of Scotland’s fantastic golf courses such as Machrahanish, the world’s most eco-friendly golf course developed by (Australian) Brian Keating?
A track record in successful innovation
Scotland’s culture of innovation is world-renowned, from pioneering nanotechnology to the development of new drugs to combat cancer. Close ties between academia, industry and Government create opportunities for business to exploit innovation and research in Scotland. For Australian life sciences and technology companies looking to expand offshore, the strength of Scotland’s R&D offer is a key differentiator compared to other European and Asian centres.
Scotland boasts excellent transport links to the rest of the UK and to Europe, including five international airports serving more than 150 destinations. Scotland also offers cost-effective, modern and reliable ICT infrastructure, and Edinburgh is a leading financial centre for capital and financing.