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18 October 2023 | Economy

In conversation with… Al Denholm

Scottish National Investment Bank was established in 2020 by Scottish Ministers.

Tell us more about the Scottish National Investment Bank

All of our investments must meet the aims of at least one of our three key missions – to support Scotland on its journey to net zero, to improve places and communities, or to harness innovation.

We are a development bank, typically investing between £1m and £50m, via debt or equity.

The Bank has a stated vision for investing not only the public capital we are allocated by the Scottish Government, but also to attract in third party capital.   Since we started operating, we have committed £445 million, and have attracted an additional £703 million capital from third parties.  That’s over £1.1 billion committed to the Scottish economy in nearly three years.

What are the bank’s missions? How do these influence your activities?

The Bank’s missions are at the heart of everything we do. I firmly believe that by delivering on the missions we can generate great social, environmental and economic returns for the people of Scotland and in the process become one of the most respected impact investors in the industry.

Can you explain impact investing?

Impact investing is a simple idea: that by using capital as a tool to create positive social change you can still generate positive financial returns. It’s about aligning your investments with your values.

At the Bank, our impact investing covers a range of sectors, including renewable energy, affordable housing, science and technology.

Image of Al Denholm, CEO, Scottish National Investment Bank

Al Denholm, CEO, Scottish National Investment Bank

How do you see your focus changing in future?

We will continue to be guided by our missions to help address the challenges that face Scotland. We want to support growth that creates quality, long-term job prospects for generations to come, improve communities, society and the economy.

What barriers is the bank facing at the moment and what are the opportunities for growth?

This year has brought significant economic challenges for many. High levels of inflation have driven up businesses’ operating costs and impacted upon their supply chains. The overall economic climate has also been challenging for companies seeking to raise investment. Our role is to work flexibly when making investments, and to support our portfolio of investee companies to realise their growth ambitions and plans.

If our members want to know more, how do they get in touch?

You can contact the Bank team by emailing enquiries@thebank.scot

How do organisations like SCDI bring value to your work?

It is a priority for the Bank to continue to develop positive relationships within the business ecosystem. Organisations like the SCDI have a vital role to support us in doing that.