Enterprise agencies invest in the future of rural business

An Lochran and Inverness Campus stock photography, July 2016 Picture Credit Tim Winterburn / HIE

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Scotland’s enterprise agencies have recently launched ambitious plans to help build a more economically vibrant country.

Collectively, and as part of the broader skills and enterprise community, Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have set out how they will invest to support sustainable and inclusive growth in every part of Scotland, including Argyll, the Highlands and Islands.

With people and place at the heart of Scotland’s economic future, the agencies are planning to enhance collaboration through regional partnerships to support the growth of vibrant economic communities. At the same time, they will maximise Scotland’s growing international reputation to increase export success and attract more talent and investment.

The strategic plans were devised in collaboration with the Scottish Government and the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board, to help deliver a shared vision of a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

HIE’s three-year strategy sets out how the agency will help improve productivity, equality, wellbeing and sustainability, building an inclusive rural economy through a place-based approach across all parts of the Highlands and Islands. Included is a commitment to grow the working-age population by attracting more young people, as well as increasing incomes and embracing the Fair Work First approach.

Scottish Enterprise’s new strategy, Building Scotland’s Future Today, comes after a year-long review and transformation of the agency, led by CEO Steve Dunlop, and marks a change in direction for the agency with a powerful statement of intent for the future of Scotland’s economy, people and places.

There is a strong emphasis on partnership working, between agencies, with local and national government, with the commercial and third sectors, and between academia and industry.

Professor Lorne Crerar, chairman of HIE, said: ‘With around nine per cent of the country’s population across more than half its land mass, the Highlands and Islands is predominantly rural, with distinctive challenges and opportunities.

‘Collaboration is, of course, vital, and we are committed to work with our partners across the country, in the public sector, with industries and with communities to benefit both the Highlands and Islands and Scotland.’

Watch SE’s video and read the publication in full at www.scottish-enterprise.com/media/3058/scottish-enterprise-building-scotlands-future-today.pdf

The HIE strategy for 2019-22 and operating plan 2019-20 is available on line at http://www.hie.co.uk/about-hie/policies-and-publications/strategic-plan.html