In an exclusive column for The Courier, Scottish Enterprise chief executive Steve Dunlop outlines his vision for economic recovery
The phrase ‘unprecedented times’ is an understatement when it comes to describing the past six weeks we’ve experienced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The recent State of the Economy report by chief economist Gary Gillespie, which predicted GDP in Scotland could fall by as much as 33%, made for sobering reading.
Just over a month ago, Scottish Enterprise, outlined our initial commitments to businesses.
We pledged to ensure support was available for companies by reviewing and reprioritising our budgets, target our expertise and resources for the best possible effect, deploy our international networks to connect individuals and firms and provide insight to ensure impactful operational and policy decisions are made.
These commitments have formed the basis of all the actions Scottish Enterprise has since undertaken.
Whether it has been feeding intelligence into Scotland’s multi-agency action plan, working with the Scottish Government to support distressed companies, coordinating requests for NHS supplies, or assisting account managed companies to repurpose, an aligned response has been at the heart of everything we’ve done.
Scottish Enterprise and our partners look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver its £100 million fund announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop last week.
We are also acutely aware of the importance of providing information to businesses as quickly and efficiently as possible. To date, we’ve had more than 500,000 page views on the FindBusinessSupport website and more than 9,000 calls to the Scottish Government Covid-19 business helpline.
Our GlobalScot network has also provided pivotal insight and intelligence on how Scotland should best respond to this crisis, focusing on the themes of business resilience and recovery.
While our priority has been to provide immediate support to those who need it most, we also recognise Scotland’s economic development environment is going to look very different than it did before Covid-19.
These ‘unprecedented times’ will come to an end and we need to start thinking now about how we will reset, restart and recover the country’s economy.
Scottish Enterprise welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to establish an advisory group on economic recovery. Only a collaborative approach will allow us to kickstart the economy and deliver the inclusive growth we all want to see.
Scottish Enterprise has the ability and experience to work within turbulent times. Despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit, we met or exceeded our ambitions to attract investment, deliver jobs and leverage growth funding for Scottish businesses.
Our investment arm, the Scottish Investment Bank, continues to support ambitious, internationally-focused companies, helping them raise finance as they scale up. SIB has had its best year ever, spending £80m which leveraged £330m from the private sector.
Scottish Enterprise stands ready to assist in the partnership effort that will be required to ensure Scotland remains internationally competitive and at the forefront of the future economy in low-carbon, advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies.
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