Kate Forbes announces £11.8m of funding for digital
Finance secretary Kate Forbes has announced £11.8m of new funding for digital in Scotland.
Forbes made the announcement in a speech to SNP conference.
She said £10m would be provided this year to help small and medium-sized businesses “reap the benefits of investment in digital”.
The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for digital and AI, will also receive £1m to help businesses to invest in more advanced technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise will be given £800,000 to extend its Digital Enablement Grant scheme to reach more businesses in the Highlands and Islands in recognition in recognition that “businesses in rural areas that have the most to gain by access to new technology”.
Speaking after the announcement, Forbes said: “The firms that have coped best during the pandemic are invariably those that have been able to adapt with the help of digital tools.
“However, despite the digital transition made by many businesses, there is still far more that can be done to help businesses embrace the opportunities that digital offers.
“We also know that huge potential lies in the information and data that business hold and that’s why we’re also supporting businesses on their data journey.
“This funding will provide an immediate boost and will support businesses to adopt productivity enhancing digital technologies.
“It will also help to improve their digital capability and the skills of their workforce so they can keep pace with future technological progress.
“Supporting SMEs on their digital journey is key to Scotland’s economic recovery and future prosperity.”
David Oxley, director of business growth at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “Digital technology can revolutionise how organisations function, transforming performance by helping them become more productive, efficient and competitive.
“That’s become even more important during the pandemic, with businesses and their customers increasingly recognising the benefits of trading online.
“These grants will also help organisations recover and diversify by investing in digital technologies.
“The money will make a real difference and will support companies that have the potential to retain and create jobs in all parts of the Highlands and islands.”