About the Inquiry
In June 2018, the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee launched an inquiry on business support. The remit of the inquiry was:
“To understand the range of support services available to new and existing small and medium sized businesses at a local level across Scotland, with a particular focus on Business Gateway. The Committee will evaluate current provision and explore ways of ensuring businesses receive the support they need to grow and succeed.”
It is ten years since the Scottish Government decided to give local authorities responsibility for running local Business Gateway services. During that period tens of thousands of people have started businesses, often with the help and support of local and national Business Gateway services such as workshops, one-to-one business advice and online market information.
Business Gateway is also here to help existing businesses. So the Committee wanted to understand how well Business Gateway delivers services for businesses hoping to grow, employ more staff or expand into new markets.
The Committee also hoped to understand why many new and existing businesses do not use Business Gateway; for example, what alternative sources of advice and information are available.
We asked business organisations, both at a local and national level, for their experiences and also sought views from people who work in the area of business support and economic development.
We aimed to hear the views and experiences of as many people, businesses and organisations as possible
The Committee took evidence on Business Support at the following meetings:
The Committee issued a call for written views, which closed on Friday 10 August 2018.
Read the call for views
The Committee also launched a survey asking about business support. The survey closed on Friday 10 August 2018.
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) published its analysis of the Survey:
The Committee wrote to COSLA on 21 November and 11 December seeking further information. COSLA responded on 14 December.
Visits and Events
On 26 November 2018, Committee members visited Dublin to compare business support in Scotland and Ireland. They met with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland and visited a Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Fingal.
A visit to Lanarkshire Enterprise Services Ltd took place on 13 November 2018
Committee members went to Inverness and Aberdeen on 3 and 4 December 2018. They met with the following businesses and organisations.
Committee members also had meetings in Edinburgh on 10 and 20 December 2018.
The Committee published its report on 20 February 2019:
Read the Business Support report
The Scottish Government responded on 18 April 2019.
COSLA responded on 3 May 2019.
The Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary on 4 July, seeking further clarity on the time frames for the review, the Cabinet Secretary responded on 17 July.
The Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary on 15 August seeking further details, the Cabinet Secretary responded on 22 August.
The Business Support inquiry was debated in Chamber on 22 May 2019.
Official Report 22 May 2019