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Institute of E-Commerce would bridge digital gap

The Scottish Conservatives are calling for a dedicated Institute of E-Commerce to help Scotland’s businesses tackle the digital gap emerging between Scotland and competitor countries.

The Institute would provide dedicated and specialist training, support and advice to businesses looking to move their business models online.

This would enable Scottish companies to embed digital technologies into their businesses and better capitalise on global trade opportunities. 

Currently only 7 to 9 percent of Scotland’s businesses have integrated digital technologies into their businesses operations. While among our competitor countries, at least 43 percent of businesses have incorporated online commerce and digital into their businesses.

During a speech at the Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s digital industries, Scottish Conservative shadow economy secretary, Dean Lockhart MSP, will call for the establishment of a dedicated Institute of E-commerce to support Scotland’s businesses move online. 

Currently there is no specialist public agency in Scotland dedicated to the establishment of e-commerce and digital platforms for business and international trade. 

Speaking in the debate, Dean Lockhart, Scottish Conservative shadow economy secretary will say (check against delivery):


‘’The global export market and international trade is increasingly dominated by online commerce and digital platforms.

“I saw this first hand earlier this year during a trade mission to Hong Kong and China.  I met with a number of trading companies whose business models for import and exports are now predominantly on-line – meaning that they largely trade with business counterparts using e-commerce and digital platforms.

“Scottish business will lose out on the massive trading opportunities available in the global economy if we don’t address this digital gap in business.

“Currently there is no specialist public agency in Scotland dedicated to the establishment of E-commerce and digital platforms for business and international trade. 

“So if you’re a firm trying to get behind the paywall of China, at the moment, the help you get from enterprise agencies is limited.

“To address this digital gap, we’re looking to establish a dedicated Institute of E-Commerce for Scotland – to help Scottish business move on-line.

“A dedicated support agency that will help move Scotland’s businesses, large and small, on-line to take immediate advantage of the global opportunities in E-commerce.’’




Notes to editors:


The Institute of E-Commerce was first announced by Ruth Davidson at the University of Glasgow, May 2018:

Nora Senior, Chairman of the Scottish Government's Strategic Board for Enterprise and Skills
: As many of you may have heard me say on previous occasions, 87 per cent of businesses in Scotland have a website, use email and think that they are digitally and technology enabled. However, between 7 and 9 per cent of businesses adopt programmes for customer relationship and supply chain management or resource planning and embed digital in their approach. Among our competitor countries—the Scandinavian countries that I mentioned—the minimum figure in that respect is 43 per cent. It is clear that there is already a huge chasm with regard to our business approach, and I do not think that the agencies will be able to flick a switch to ensure that business suddenly changes. There are certain areas in which we need to focus on skilling and reskilling.
(Economy Committee, 27 February 2018, link)

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