Scotland's Economy

Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s new Operating Plan

April 11, 2012 by No Comments | Category Business

Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s new Operating Plan, setting out our priorities for the next three years in line with the Government’s Economic Strategy, is published today.

In the midst of some of the toughest, most challenging economic conditions most of us have seen, it would be easy to lower sights, to dim aspirations. However that’s not the reaction of businesses, social enterprises or communities across the Highlands and Islands. Nor is it ours. Ambition has and will continue to be at the heart of HIE.

We will support the growth of businesses and social enterprises, particularly through our account management approach.

We will develop opportunities in many of our industry sectors, both emerging sectors – such as renewable energy, financial and business services, and life sciences – and others that have for many years been essential to the region, such as tourism, creative industries, and food and drink.

We will support communities to develop and implement activities that will bring real benefit and enhance economic and social wellbeing, and we will invest in regionally significant infrastructure and other projects with a long term impact.

Within the Government Economic Strategy and our plan are some important new areas of emphasis. We will increase our work in internationalisation, both in supporting businesses to consider or expand exporting, and in attracting inward investment to help build key sectors. Likewise we will attach greater importance to the promotion of low carbon opportunities. Importantly, we will give increased prominence to enabling economic and community development in fragile parts of the region.

While the economic situation requires us to give attention to short term issues, we also have a longer term perspective.

The Highlands and Islands has significant opportunities over the next decade and beyond that we need to realise. In the new plan we set out some 2020 Ambitions that could underpin future prosperity – including the need to be a digital region, connected with superfast broadband and exploiting it for a wide range of benefits. In addition, we are well placed to be a centre of international standing in renewable energy.

So rather than lower sights and aspirations, ambition will be our watchword – as an agency, for our customers, for the region, and for Scotland. Delivering our ambitions will require new ways of doing things, alternative sources of finance, innovative ideas, and a sharp focus on outcomes and impact.

Above all it will need a collaborative approach that goes beyond what has been achieved to date. We’re committed to being good partners, utilising our resources, experience and expertise. We invite businesses, communities and organisations across the Highlands and Islands to join us in delivering our ambitious agenda.

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