Delivering on Scotland’s economic transformation
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes visited Finland and Denmark on a fact finding mission to support the delivery of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
Scotland is a small nation with extraordinary economic potential and a long history of economic creativity and innovation. With limited resources and powers, our economic output is significant but there is also much we can learn from our independent Nordic neighbours.
The Nordic nations are recognised as world leaders in tech and digital, and respected for their productivity, ability to secure new market opportunities and support entrepreneurial activity. They also have strong credentials in the green economy and fair work. That is why I have undertaken a fact finding mission to Denmark and Finland to support the delivery of our National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
Later this year we will be opening a new Scottish Government office in Copenhagen. It will serve as a hub for the whole Nordic region, enabling us to pursue greater trade, policy and cultural cooperation as our governments work towards a green recovery from COVID-19 and accelerate decarbonisation in a way that is fair and leaves no one behind.
On this trip I have had the opportunity to meet with some of Denmark and Finland’s politicians, public sector agencies, leading businesses and entrepreneurs. Discussions have resulted in shared learning for the delivery of the five key themes of Scotland’s economic transformation strategy.
These included the implementation of economic strategies, engagement with partners to deliver economic strategies, the just transition to net zero, digital transformation, entrepreneurship and innovation along with skills development.
It makes sense to engage with other countries who are recognised as world leaders in economic innovation and learn from their best practices to help inform our policies and ambitions to increase productivity, secure new market opportunities, support entrepreneurial activity and evolve to become a fair work and wellbeing economy.
I also spoke at the LOOP forum in Copenhagen – a new Nordic conference for waste, resources and circular economy – to highlight Scotland’s net zero ambitions. Denmark like Scotland, is a country small in size, yet considered by many as a global frontrunner in the green transition, often inspiring and setting an example for the rest of the world.
My visit also allowed me to meet with leading technology companies including Nokia, Business Finland – the Finnish Government organisation for innovation funding and trade, investment and travel promotion – and the Danish Business Authority to learn about Denmark’s work to support innovation and entrepreneurial activity, including in rural areas, and to secure new sustainable market opportunities.
Scotland was once widely recognised as a nation of entrepreneurs and innovators. I want us to build on that tradition, to be heralded as a nation which embraces the opportunities of new technology, boosts productivity and focuses on the innovations that will make the biggest difference to the future sustainability of our economy. It makes sense to learn what other countries – including Denmark and Finland – do and work closely with them, to get us there.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy