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South of Scotland agency leads wide-ranging business and skills review.
A new enterprise agency will be created to meet the economic needs of communities in the South of Scotland.
The final report from the Enterprise and Skills Review contains a wide range of measures to support business, ensure young people have access to the right skills, and create growth across the Scottish economy.
They include improved access to innovation, enterprise and international support and streamlined skills provision.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown launched the report while meeting with Kite Power Systems – a company that has secured £7m of equity funding for its innovative approach to harnessing wind energy.
“This report shows how we can transform the performance of our economy and enable more businesses to deliver strong, vibrant and inclusive growth at scale.
“From better co-ordination of our international activity to ensuring young people are equipped with the skills they need to succeed, this review has delivered a package of reforms that will drive change across the country.
“We have recognised the importance of providing dedicated support to the South of Scotland in the same way we currently do for the Highlands and Islands. A new agency will be established to meet the distinctive economic needs of communities in the South of Scotland.
“We are putting a greater urgency behind our innovation action plan and joining up the efforts of our skills agencies to help learners and businesses get the training they need. Businesses will benefit from streamlined innovation support through a new digital access point, building on the recent success that has seen Scotland move into the top group of EU nations as regards innovation performance.
“The fundamentals of Scotland’s economy are strong and – as this report confirms – we are doing all that we can to build upon these further.”
More on the Enterprise and Skills Review
The final report from the Enterprise and Skills Review confirms significant progress, including:
- A new enterprise agency to boost growth in the South of Scotland
- A more coherent, collaborative and streamlined system of business support, including development of a single digital access point
- Piloting a £500k College Innovation Fund to support Scotland’s colleges to work with businesses on innovation activity
- A new, five-stage skills planning model developed jointly by the skills agencies
- Strengthened engagement with regional partnerships, including closer work with the private sector
- A review of the learner journey for 15-24 year olds to ensure it provides the best path to success
- Boosting trade and investment in Scotland by better co-ordinating international activity
- A Strategic Board to be set up in autumn 2017, guiding overall direction of the enterprise and skills agencies
- A cross-agency analytical unit set up to drive performance and ensure business support decisions are based on the best data available
- An Implementation Board, chaired by Professor Lorne Crerar, to take forward this work immediately.
Kite Power Systems (KPS) is developing a new renewable energy technology using kites to harness the wind. The company has secured £7m of equity funding - £2m from SIB and the rest from major strategic, international investors. These funds will enable KPS to develop and test a 500kW prototype in Scotland and to expand its team. The company has relocated to Glasgow and the testing will take place at West Freugh in Dumfries & Galloway in 2017/18.
Recent improvements in innovation activity performance have already seen Scotland move from the third quartile to the top quartile of the EU28 in terms of numbers of innovative business countries. The UK Innovation Survey covers all businesses with more than 10 employees in sectors focussed on innovation. Sectors such as retail and hotels/restaurants are excluded from the EU comparisons.