The head of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) has said he hopes it will become an “institution” as it was launched on Monday.
MSPs unanimously passed plans for the bank in January, with appointments taking place in recent months before its official launch.
The SNIB will use £2bn of Scottish Government funding over its first decade to invest in businesses and projects that help Scotland meet its 2045 net zero target, tackle place based inequality and foster innovation in the country’s businesses.
Launching the bank on Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the project as “one of the most significant developments in the lifetime of this parliament”.
The first investment, officials announced on Monday, will be Glasgow-based laser technology firm M Squared.
Chairman Willie Watt told the PA news agency he hoped the bank would eventually become a national, non-political institution.
He said: “I want it to become a trusted institution that is seen as being owned by the whole of Scotland.
“A non-political, cornerstone institution in the investment landscape in Scotland.
“I want it to have a list of really good investments against each of those three missions so we can look back and say that we actually invested against these missions.”
Funding will be provided in multiple forms, according to Mr Watt, including through loans and equity purchases.
Profit targets for the bank will be set in the coming months, the chairman said, however, he does not expect money to be flowing into the bank for the first few years.
Sturgeon said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank will help to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face now and in the years to come, delivering economic, social and environmental returns.
“It is hitting the ground running with its first major investment in M Squared – a great example of the ambitious and innovative companies we have here in Scotland that will be key to our economic recovery and future prosperity.
“The launch of the bank is one of the most significant developments in the lifetime of this parliament, with the potential for it to transform, grow and decarbonise Scotland’s economy.”
Dr Graeme Malcolm, the founder of M Squared, said: “Science and advanced technologies have a major role to play in Scotland’s future economic prosperity.
“By increasing investment in research and development with a mission-based approach, Scotland has a real opportunity to actively tackle climate change and benefit from the coming quantum revolution.
“We are delighted that the Scottish National Investment Bank has invested in M Squared as its very first business – our shared commitments to society and the environment makes this an ideal partnership that will enable accelerated growth and progress in frontier technologies.”