The South of Scotland Enterprise Agency is Coming!

A new enterprise agency designed to boost the economy of the South of Scotland region will be up and running in eight months’ time, the Scottish Government has pledged.


Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing hailed the passing of legislation to set up the organisation as a “momentous day” for the area.

The new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency will cover the Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders regions.

And Mr Ewing said it would work to “transform the area’s economy by building on its strengths and its traditions”.

Speaking as MSPs as debated the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill, he said the agency would help “respond to the different and distinct rural economy”.

Mr Ewing said: “We all recognise the untapped potential of the South of Scotland – it has real strengths in traditional sectors like farming, forestry, fishing and textiles.

“It has developed sectors like food and drink, tourism and creative industries and it has opportunities to contribute to the industries of the future, not least in the low carbon economy.

“This Bill sets out the legislative basis for a new agency with the right powers to take forward the right activities.”

MSPs unanimously approved the legislation, with work now underway to appoint a chair for the new organisation.


Commenting on the passing of legislation for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency, Kenny Bowie, President, DGChamber, said:


“We are pleased the Scottish Parliament has unanimously backed the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency. This will act as an important enabler of economic growth in the region and address the specific challenges our business communities are tackling. DGChamber is ready to play an active role to unlock the potential of our innovative businesses. As the Government now moves ahead to establish the new agency, it is critical the private sector is fully engaged, making sure our expertise and connections are leveraged so we can realise the full economic potential of the South of Scotland region.”


LIz Cameron


Commenting on the passing of legislation for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency, Liz Cameron, Director and Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The South of Scotland is an important contributor to Scotland’s economic growth and the unanimous Parliamentary backing of this bill is testament to the potential of the region. From farming to textiles, to tourism and fishing, the region is brimming with economic opportunities. As the establishment of the agency moves to the next stage, collaboration must be at its heart, bringing together private and public sector. Only then, will the agency realise its full potential as an economic catalyst for the region.”


The Regions MSP's have also been having their say on the changes that have been made to the Agency.


Colin Smyth

Colin Smyth said

“I’m pleased to have made a number of changes to the proposals for a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency that will make it far more locally accountable. We need an Agency that is for the south, from the south. Unless it finds local solutions to the local challenges- and opportunities- facing the economy and communities in the region then the agency will not deliver on its aims. That means listening to the communities within the South of Scotland. Having campaigned for an Agency for a decade I am pleased the final proposals have now been agreed by Parliament. It’s time to get on with setting up the agency and making sure it delivers for our region. I will certainly be holding it to account to make sure it does.”


Joan McAlpine MSP

Joan McAlpine said:

“The vibrancy of our areas culture is renowned locally, nationally and internationally.

“From the Abbeys of the Borders to the Castles and Standing Stones of Dumfries and Galloway, the South has a heritage to be proud of.

“Art and culture play an important role in engagement and energising communities and community development which is very much in the spirit of what we’re doing with this Bill.

“The South of Scotland was an important player in Scotland’s early textile industry, its agriculture and forestry sectors are thriving, and it has a growing tourism industry. It also has a diverse business base, many of which are small, and family owned. The economic seeds are all there and, with the right nurturing, can flourish.”