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by Sofia Villegas
13 October 2023
Three Scottish cities amongst top innovation clusters in the UK, report says

The British Business Bank is owned by the Department for Business and Trade

Three Scottish cities amongst top innovation clusters in the UK, report says

Three Scottish cities amongst top innovation clusters in the UK, report says

Edinburgh and surrounding areas have been identified as the leading UK innovation cluster for equity deals outside of the 'Golden Triangle' - London, Oxford, and Cambridge, a report by the British Business Bank (BBB) has revealed.  

The Bank’s Nations and Regions Tracker found the region – which includes Fife, Midlothian and West Lothian – was home to almost 500 equity deals over the last 12 years, amounting to a value of £710m. 

The Scottish capital was followed by the Greater Glasgow area, which was host to more than 250 deals during the same period.   

When breaking down the deals, Glasgow and Aberdeen had almost half of their transactions involving an academic spinout – a rate only surpassed by Oxford.   

The three deals between the University of Aberdeen and therapeutics company TauRx amounted to more than £10m. 

Overall, the life sciences industry was the largest sub-sector across Scotland’s four innovation hubs – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Dundee – concerning deal numbers and investment value. 

Susan Nightingale, director of UK network, devolved nations at the BBB, said: “We are seeing promising signs that the use of external finance among smaller businesses is recovering after a decline in 2022. Unsurprisingly, our world-class universities continue to play a crucial role in this, supporting emerging innovation-led clusters across the UK".  

During the first half of 2023, 43 per cent of UK smaller businesses sought external funding, a surge of seven per cent from 2022. 

Earlier this month, the BBB announced its £150m Investment Fund for Scotland, looking to help businesses start, scale up or stay ahead. The fund includes loans worth up to £2m and equity investments up to £5m. 

“Improved access to external finance will enable smaller businesses to expand and we need to ensure that more is done to support them, regardless of where they are located. This is one of the key drivers behind our recently launched Investment Fund for Scotland, which we have begun to roll out across Scotland,” Nightingale added.  

The BBB is the UK government’s econiomic development bank. By making financing programmes more accessible to smaller businesses, it looks to support the transition to a net zero economy.  

According to statistics revealed by the agency, as of last March, it had given over £12.4bn to more than 90,000 smaller businesses.  

Launched in 2014, the bank also works to raise awareness of finance options, allowing customers to make better-informed decisions throughout its application process.  

The bank also manages the government’s Covid-19 loans, including its Future Fund, which all together deliver more than £80bn to businesses. 

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