Stakeholders encouraged to take part in series of events on south of Scotland economy

Businesses, agencies, organisations and individuals in the south of Scotland are being invited to help influence an ambitious new approach to economic development.

As part of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, stakeholders can attend a series of special engagement events to help shape the economic future of the area and the new enterprise agency that is being created.

The free events, taking place until Thursday 7 June in a range of locations from Stranraer to Eyemouth, take the form of both breakfast and evening events, to make them as accessible as possible.

 The events are designed to allow a single conversation with stakeholders on what powers and focus they would like the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency to have when it is established in 2020, the interim work programme of the partnership and also potential opportunities for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency, with responses shaping its development and influencing what the standalone agency will do. Feedback from the upcoming events will be fed into that consultation process.

Prof Russel Griggs, chair of the partnership, said: “This is an exciting time for the south of Scotland and it is a time when our collective voice, and indeed our individual voices, are being heard at the highest levels in both Scotland and across the UK.

“It is therefore vital that the partnership hears from our local businesses and other stakeholders to ensure that their views are being taken into account. These events will enable them to influence both the future development of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency and the partnership’s work programme.”

The stakeholder events are being managed by the Southern Uplands Partnership on behalf of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership. Places can be booked at www.sup.org.uk/sosep.asp

Prof Griggs added: “The establishment of the partnership and the future development of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency will generate a renewed commitment that will bring investment, innovation and a fresh approach for the south of Scotland, shining a collective spotlight on the whole region for the first time.

 “What is quite clear from the engagement events that have taken place so far is that what everyone wants is an enterprise agency that is for the south, by the south, of the south and in the south.

“A recurring message has been that it must also reflect our needs in the south of Scotland, which may not be the same as those of other areas, and really sell the region, and not just as a tourism destination, but as somewhere for business and for people to live and work, of all ages.

“We have had discussions with almost 200 people so far and these have ranged from fishing to high tech industries, covering the huge diversity of our economy, including farming, land management, forestry, rural retail sectors, community businesses and communities themselves.

“We still have many more events to come, including in Peebles, Galashiels, Stranraer and Lockerbie in the next few weeks, and I’d continue to encourage anyone who wants to have their say on the future of economic development in the south of Scotland to make sure they come along to have their voice heard.”