THE Scottish Government’s Digital Development Loan fund has awarded £1 million to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) less than a year since its launch in June 2018.

The fund, which makes £2m available in total, is managed by Lanarkshire Enterprise Services Ltd (LESL) and supported by DSL Business Finance (DSL). It is the first phase of the Scottish Government’s £36m Digital Growth Fund initiative, which has the goal of helping Scottish SMEs improve their processes and productivity through digital application.

To date, more than 20 SMEs have benefitted from the fund, which offers companies 0% interest rate loans of up to £50,000 to invest in improving their digital capabilities, capacity and digital skills.

The latest company to receive funding, and whose award was responsible for the milestone being surpassed, is Sand Monitoring Services Ltd (SMS), an international business founded in Aberdeen that provides sensory data analysis and visualisation for the global oil and gas community.

Andrew Kinsler, operations director at SMS, said: “Through this product, SMS will unlock the inherent value of the data and develop products for clients to help make effective business decision, making giving a real return on business intelligence.”

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

Digital Economy Minister, Kate Forbes said: “We are committed to investing in Scotland’s digital productivity and ensuring we are ready to embrace the opportunities of a digitally driven future.

“The £2m Digital Development Loan is the first phase of that process and this milestone proves that it is already helping businesses the length and breadth of the country to achieve their digital ambitions.”

Liz McCutcheon, project manager at LESL, added: “LESL and DSL are delighted to have approved over a £1m in Digital Development Loans in less than a year.

“Our partnership is committed to supporting the Scottish Government’s aim of strengthening the ability of Scotland’s SMEs to innovate and compete digitally.”