Scottish Enterprise was created on 1 April 1991 under the Enterprise and New Towns (Scotland) Act 1990. That act dissolved the Scottish Development Agency , created in 1975 and the Highlands and Islands Development Board forming Scottish Enterprise alongside the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.:62
Scottish Enterprise was created with a structure of Local Enterprise Companies (LECs). Initially these were Limited Companies with boards led by local businesspeople, but from 2000 they became wholly owned subsidiaries of Scottish Enterprise and were subsequently wound up.
On 1 April 2008, the skills function of Scottish Enterprise moved out of the organisation to the newly formed Skills Development Scotland.
Scottish Enterprise has around 1,100 staff based in 14 offices across the UK and a further 29 overseas.