ECONOMY Economic blueprint welcomed

Scotland must address eight key issues to boost internationalisation


Scotland needs to address core issues in order to seize export op- portunities and build an economy fit for the future, according to a study by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute. Te Scotland in 2050: Realising Our Global Potential report canvassed the views of more than 100 business leaders, industry bodies and representa- tives of public and third sector organisations. Te Institute identified key

trends, opportunities and risks that Scotland needs to respond to in order to compete in a rapidly evolving global economy. Cru- cially, the global nature, of these issues will be important, irrespective of Brexit or other forms of constitutional change. Te report, commissioned

by the law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn to coincide with its 250th anniversary, makes eight key recommendations that ad- dress low productivity, the skills gap, lack of strategic export focus, outdated infrastructure, political short-termism and the potential for growing pressure on public services as a result of the revised budget arrangement agreed by the Scottish and UK Governments. Te report concludes that Scot-

land needs: l infrastructure, both physi- cal and digital, that is fit for the future l an economy that harnesses and trades on knowledge l an ecosystem that nurtures and retains businesses of scale l an appropriately skilled work- force led by effective manage- ment/leadership teams l greater collaboration between

academia and industry to com- mercialise innovation l a national strategy focusing resource and investment on ac- tivities with growth potential l a more joined-up, collabora- tive approach to entering new markets l policy (at local, national and UK level) that is longer term in its objectives Ivan McKee, the Scottish

Government’s Trade Minister, commented: “We welcome this report which sets out some of the challenges and opportunities for Scotland in internationalisa- tion and is in line with much of our thinking and future plans. Improving Scotland’s export performance is key to Scotland’s economic performance.” He added: “I want to do ev-

erything in my power to support businesses in Scotland sell more products and services interna- tionally. Tat is why the Scottish Government is launching our export growth plan, A Trading Nation, in May. It will refocus support for exporters to where it will have most impact and is backed by £20m of Scottish Government funding over three


years. Te Scottish Government is committed to ensuring businesses in Scotland are supported to em- bark on their export journey.” Professor Graeme Roy, Director

of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “Our economic analysis and engagement with business has shown Scotland has key strengths that should give the country opti- mism for the future. But in many areas there is scope for improve- ment; our export base is too nar- row and we lag behind many of our competitors. If Scotland is to take advantage of the changing nature of the global economy in the com- ing decades, it will need to boost its level of internationalisation.” Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of

Interface, the body linking busi- nesses with academic institutions, was one of the 100-plus industry figures who contributed to the report. She said: “It is a long-term view, which is interesting but also very necessary. We may be on the right trajectory but there is a need to organise around key sectors and really harness and trade on the knowledge economy with infrastructure – both physical and digital – underpinning that. Growing businesses of scale will

be key. Essential to that is a skilled and forward-thinking workforce. “It’s hugely important that our

education system, in consider- ing the workforce of the future, builds on the work being done in both intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship. Te graduates of tomorrow need to fully grasp, both as employees and as entre- preneurs, how innovation drives forward businesses of scale. Tis spirit of innovation is critical for our public services as well.” Shepherd and Wedderburn is

hosting a series of events in Ed- inburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in May to discuss the report’s findings. “Despite the chal- lenges it identifies, this research shows that there is much to be optimistic about,” said Paul Hally, Chairman of Shepherd and Wedderburn. “Scotland has a proud tradition of innovation and entrepreneurialism which, if properly harnessed, will see us seize the considerable opportuni- ties ahead.” l

Download the Scotland in 2050: Realising Our Global Potential Final Report at

Harnessing the

knowledge economy - design student sketching a 3D

character. Picture Abertay University

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