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Economy Secretary confirms EU support at Convention of Highlands and Islands.
Creative industries in the Highlands and Islands will receive a boost from European money being used to create a specialist network programme to help businesses accelerate growth and create jobs.
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown will confirm the funding at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands meeting in Inverness.
The European Regional Development Fund award will total £2.4 million and see Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) build on the four industry networks for the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in the following creative areas:
• Screen and broadcast
• Writing and publishing
• Crafts, fashion and textiles
Mr Brown said:
“The Highlands and Islands region is known for its creativity and ingenuity and we want to see SMEs from the region really compete. This money will build on HIE’s previous model of establishing a specialist networking environment for creative businesses right across the Highlands and Islands, developing new ways of working and supporting internationalisation in what is a global market. The XpoNorth event is already well established and this award will allow it to further expand, attracting major multinationals as well as local firms. Plans are already underway for 2017, with speakers from high-profile creative influencers such as Disney, ABC and Fox Broadcasting already confirmed.
“This financial support has the potential to create 350 new jobs in the North of Scotland, bolstering what is already a thriving creative industry. The niche assistance this network and conference programme will provide to SMEs and micro businesses will be designed to bolster growth of this key sector within the Highlands and Islands economic mix. I look forward to seeing the positive results for firms throughout the region.
“This additional funding yet again underlines why the best way to guarantee jobs, investment, services and projects across the country, is by maintaining Scotland’s relationship with the European Union. Membership delivers many social, economic and cultural benefits for individuals, businesses and communities so maintaining our EU membership is a top priority.”
Iain Hamilton, Head of Creative Industries at HIE, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for us to be able to build on our development work in Creative Industries which is a vital and growing sector in the Highlands and Islands. In the initial two years of work, almost 2,000 unique businesses and individuals have been supported. This model gives us greater reach into the sector, and allows us to be more flexible and collaborative as the sector is itself. We have had great support from industry and international recognition for how unique and effective the model is, so we are delighted the funding will allow us do more.”
Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson said "Today's announcement of ERDF support for creative industries is most welcome. The Highland Council recognises the contribution of the sector and the many successful businesses which operate in our region. Additional funding will help grow these industries and assist with further job creation".
The Convention of the Highlands and Islands is an annual event seeking to strengthen alignment between the Scottish Government and member organisations in order to develop sustainable economic growth. More details available here: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Enterprise/Convention
European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) provide EU Member States with financial assistance to deliver the EU2020 strategy of Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, increasing economic activity and employment across the EU. More details available here: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/support/17404
The total funding award is made up of £950,400 from the Scottish Government ESIF and £1,425,600 in match-funding from HIE.