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Scottish Business Voice:  Growing Scotland’s Businesses

The Scottish Business Voice - a campaign led by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network, presents its “asks” as part of the general election debate.

SCC’s focus today (30th April 2015), shines the spotlight on the need for government to champion and support Scottish businesses.

Scottish Business calls for:

A doubling of the number of Scottish businesses with less than 100 employees winning public contracts by 2020

Widening of the scope of the British Business Bank and Scottish Business Development Bank to improve assistance and access for small micro businesses, and medium high growth businesses

Development and expansion of the business-led Growing Talent programme, delivered by SCC between 2012 and 2014 which secured almost 400 permanent jobs for graduates within Scotland’s small and micro businesses, extending this to vocational programmes such as Modern Apprenticeships.  Government supported Recruitment Incentive Programmes should not be the sole domain and delivery of only public agencies

Government backing for business-to-business support as the primary method of fostering business growth

Expanding the successful business-led Mentoring Programme to businesses who may not fit the government’s “high growth criteria”, delivered by enabling voluntary support by the business community support to be available for all businesses who aspire to grow

The Scottish and UK Governments must implement the Cole Commission recommendations on assisting businesses to internationalise and how Chambers of Commerce can lead on this in Scotland

A review of how government measures the economic impact of all business support interventions

Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“Business creates the wealth that drives our economy and if our politicians are serious about putting growth first, then they must get behind our businesses and help us to achieve our potential.  To achieve this we really need to revisit the respective roles of public and private sector in this space and stop simply measuring activity, instead focusing on whether our economic growth dial is moving in the right direction.  This is a better indicator as to whether business support on the ground is having the desired impact.  Much more focus needs to go on supporting small businesses, not necessarily those businesses who are already successfully growing.   By growing the number and size of our businesses, we will boost job opportunities and fulfil all our aspirations.

“Governments tell us that they want our businesses to trade more overseas.  This is ambition that we share but we believe that all levels of government – local, Scottish and UK – must show confidence in Scottish businesses and buy more goods and services from our home grown businesses themselves.  If our products are good enough for the rest of the world, then they ought to be good enough for our public sector, and government should be aiming to double the number of smaller Scottish businesses that it awards contracts to. 

“Both the UK and Scottish Governments have recognised the challenges that businesses have faced in terms of investment in recent years and the result has been the creation of the British Business Bank and the Scottish Business Development Bank.  These developments have been positive but need to provide and demonstrate genuine additionality to the existing offering from the private sector and need to address the unfulfilled needs of Scotland’s small, growing businesses.  What we don’t need is intervention when market failure simply does not exist.

“Businesses value the support of other businesses and we would urge our governments to recognise this fact and utilise Scotland’s existing private sector networks to deliver a far higher proportion of business support activities.  In particular, Chambers of Commerce across Scotland have been successful in engaging with business to support employment, for example through our Growing Talent initiative, supported by the Scottish Government, which succeeded in placing 400 graduates into permanent jobs between 2012 and 2014, and our award winning B2B mentoring partnership."

View the full PDF here.