Supporting the backbone of Scotland’s economy – is enough being done?


Is enough being done to support Scotland’s local businesses? A new inquiry by the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee will explore just this.

It has been 10 years since the transfer of Business Gateway activities to local authorities, and the Committee’s inquiry will explore the effectiveness of local business provision in Scotland since then. The Committee will focus on small to medium sized business which make up 99% of Scotland’s private sector base.

The Committee wants to hear from local business to find out how well Business Gateway delivers services to help those starting out in business as well as existing businesses. The Committee will also explore what other services are available to businesses at a local level.

Committee Convener, Gordon Lindhurst MSP said:

“Without small to medium sized enterprises, Scotland would lose its economic backbone. To say they are important is an understatement. So, it is vital that these businesses are given the support they need to flourish and thrive and that there is no patch work of provision across Scotland.

“With thousands of businesses starting each year, they need the right support so that they can achieve their potential. We will be asking about the support from Business Gateway and others and what more can be done to ensure that such a crucial part of Scotland’s economy can succeed.”

The Committee has today launched a survey asking about support as well as asking each local authority how much money is spent on Business Gateway services and how they measure the impact of this spend.

As well as the survey, the Committee would like to hear from SMEs, business organisations and those who work in business support and economic development to understand their experiences. The Committee has today launched a call for evidence asking a range of questions including:

  • What does Business Gateway do well and where can improvements be made?
  • Has the quality of service changed over the past ten years?
  • Why do some new and existing businesses choose not to use Business Gateway?
  • How well have local authorities run Business Gateway services? What are your views on whether services are best delivered ‘in-house’ or contracted out?
  • What are the alternative sources of advice, funding and support available to Scotland’s businesses at a local level?
  • Where are there gaps in business support at a local level? What could be done to fill any gaps?
  • What other business support services (beyond the Business Gateway) are provided by local authorities and how important are they to local businesses?


The survey can be found here.

It will be open until 10 August 2018.

More information about the Committee’s work can be found here.

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