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Hundredth Scottish SME gets Funds from Digital Development Pot

David Paul

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Digit Development Fund

Dundee’s METALtech UK is the 100th to benefit from the funds, which help SMEs to improve productivity, capacity, and staff skills through digital applications.

A metal fabrication small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) is the 100th recipient of the Scottish Government’s Digit Development Fund, it has been announced.

The recipient of the £100,000 loan is the Dundee-headquartered METALtech UK, a metal fabrication company that designs, supplies, and installs carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium fabrications to the construction, oil and gas and manufacturing industries in Britain.

METALtech UK is the latest in a line of firms to benefit from the fund which offers companies 0% interest rate loans of up to £100,000 to invest in improving their digital capabilities, capacity and digital skills.

The company says the money will go towards the purchase of new equipment, including a CNC Plasma Cutting Machine which will allow for previously outsourced profile cutting to be completed in-house.

As well as this, the firm says that increased and improved digital skills will also result from the training provided on the new equipment.

Wattie Milne, Managing Director at METALtech UK, said: “Accessing the Digital Development Loan fund allows us to invest directly into new technology and training which will mean that we are capable of undertaking larger contracts than before and also to process more complex projects which in the past, we have sub-contracted outside the business.

“The new equipment’s digital capabilities allow our skilled staff to monitor more real-time production and processing data, programme it to undertake more complex projects and improve efficiencies.

“As a result, it will have a significant impact on the whole business and is part of our overall growth strategy.”

The fund, which is managed by Lanarkshire Enterprise Services Ltd (LESL) in partnership with DSL Business Finance Ltd (DSL), is the Scottish Government’s Digital Growth Fund initiative which has the goal of helping Scottish SMEs improve productivity, capacity and the skills of their staff through digital applications.

Other sectors to benefit include agriculture and fisheries, food and drink, manufacturing, energy and renewables and the creative industries.

Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance Scottish Government, commented: “I am delighted to share that the Digital Development Loan has recently awarded its 100th loan to METALtech UK Ltd.

“The funding will go towards the purchase of a CNC Plasma Cutting Machine which will increase output by 50%. The pandemic has highlighted the importance for businesses to harness the opportunities for digital technologies to drive productivity, support growth and increase resilience.

“SMEs are the backbone of our economy and every business is in some way a digital business, which is why the Scottish Government is committed to supporting businesses to improve their digital capabilities.

“I am pleased to support the Digital Development Loan, offering loans between £5k – £100k which helps businesses invest in their digital capabilities, their workforce and their future.”

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The £2 million Digital Development Fund was initially launched in 2018 and confirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to driving forward Scotland’s digital economy.

The fund aimed to help companies improve their digital capabilities in areas such as cybersecurity, data analytics and software engineering, as well as boosting the development of digital skills for staff.

And this is not the first time the Scottish Government is looking to help boost future businesses and entrepreneurs in Scotland, particularly after the fallout of Covid-19.

In August Scottish Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced a £10m boost to the Government’s Adopt an Apprentice programme, which aims to support a range of measures for businesses to recruit and retain apprentices.

Hyslop revealed the funding will help modern and graduate apprentices who are facing redundancy because of Covid-19 get back into work.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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