finance

92% of Scottish scale-ups grew during the first year of the pandemic



Around 92% of Scottish scale-up businesses have maintained a strong upwards growth trajectory in the first year of the pandemic.

Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that 745 of the country’s 805 high growth businesses in 2019 continued to perform well going into 2020, with many increasing their growth despite the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 22 local authorities managed to maintain or increase the number of scale-ups in their region during 2020, while just 10 council areas saw their count decrease.

Dundee, Inverclyde and North Lanarkshire all ended the first year of the pandemic with more scale-ups than they started with, while Angus saw the largest proportionate drop in businesses.

The pandemic also brought a 17% fall in the five-year average number of high growth companies launched, while there was no increase in the number of such companies ceasing to operate.

Iain Young, head of Morton Fraser’s corporate growth team, said: “While these figures represent the turbulent business landscape that the pandemic brought about – creating growth opportunities for some, while presenting challenge after challenge for others – they show the true tenacity of the business community in Scotland, as many companies were able to weather the storm.

“2021 saw an unprecedented level of investment into start-ups from Scotland’s business angel community, and we expect this to contribute significantly to strong business growth.

“We have seen artificially low levels of business deaths and insolvencies thanks to the government’s business protection measures – however, we can expect to see a change in these figures as these measures fully expire in March 2022,” he added.

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