Business hub for Scottish government and agencies opens in London
A new business hub for the Scottish government and development agencies has been opened in London.
The investment and innovation centre is similar to one opened in Dublin, with others planned for Brussels and Berlin.
Scotland House is located at Victoria Embankment, near the Houses of Parliament at Westminster.
It is intended as a centre for business membership to showcase products and meet customers and investors from the UK market and beyond.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon performed the official opening on Tuesday evening, saying 450 companies have expressed an interest in becoming members.
The hub will also be a base for Scottish government officials, and for staff of Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland.
The first minister said: "London is a very important trading market and a meeting place for the world's business leaders, but for Scottish businesses it can be challenging and costly to try and break into these markets.
"The new hub will play a critical role in attracting investment to Scotland, helping businesses trade internationally and raising Scotland's international profile.
"Scotland House will provide Scottish companies with a base to build new partnerships and a low-cost place to trade. I am pleased that more than 450 businesses are interested in becoming members of the hub."
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: "London remains our most important trading partner.
"However, if Scottish tourism is to continue punching above its weight on the world stage, we need to keep attracting new investment, events, airlines and ultimately, visitors.
"Scotland House is a platform on which we can do that - utilising our business strengths in a city renowned for its global business links - to show the world that Scotland is the perfect place to visit and invest in."
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said the opening of Scotland House "marks the start of an exciting new phase of growth and collaboration between Scotland and London".
She added: "Together, Scotland and the city are a formidable force for tourism, trade, investment and collaboration and this new facility will provide the ideal platform to help take our partnership to the next level.
"We've had a phenomenal initial response to the launch with hundreds of ambitious businesses looking to maximise what Scotland House has to offer."