Creating Scotland's new business giants

Commentary by Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Liz CameronAmbition, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit are the attributes that have driven Scotland’s economy for generations, and this year’s list of 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain is a truly incredible testament to our capability to grow, expand and innovate.

The dynamism of Scottish business can be felt all over – from the Central Belt cities to Dumfries and Galloway in the south and Caithness in the north – they form the cornerstone of our communities and create high-quality, well-paid jobs, innovating and driving economic growth across Scotland. From food and drink to textiles, to tourism
and hospitality, to financial services and energy, Scottish business has a proud hallmark of high quality and excellent service, with internationally renowned sectors.

“Put simply, employing a wide range of skills, talents and backgrounds must form the DNA of every business”

Great world inventions have emanated from these lands – from Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone to Alexander Fleming and the invention of penicillin. But we are in a completely different world now, with digital technology and social media changing our working and living environments. It has opened up massive opportunities, but only if we are brave enough, and have the tools, to grasp them.

We only have to look at the success of businesses such as Skyscanner, BrewDog and Clydespace – creating new business models that fit today’s consumer and global environment. These are Scotland’s new entrepreneurial giants and it is their legacy and leadership that will inspire a new generation of inventors and innovators.

“Scottish business has a proud hallmark of high quality and excellent service, with internationally renowned sectors”

It is this business success that inspires the Chamber Network each day to nurture our talent, encourage innovation and secure investment. As Scotland’s largest business network, our priority is to accelerate growth, and that means increasing international trade, fostering leaders through business mentoring, building a skilled workforce and unleashing the potential of ecommerce.

To make this happen, business has to harness the economic benefits of a diverse workforce that champions the inclusion of women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and veterans. Put simply, employing a wide range of skills, talents and backgrounds must form the DNA of every business. After all, it is our skilled workforce that is the competitive edge of this century.

“These are Scotland’s new entrepreneurial giants and it is their legacy and leadership that will inspire a new generation”

As we continue to nurture the roots of Scotland’s entrepreneurial legacy, our collaborations with others are just as important. The work of London Stock Exchange Group, and its commitment to building strong links with the Scottish business community and across the country, will go a long way to adding value to businesses seeking to grow and scale, and I look forward to working with the Group to expand its presence in Scotland over the coming years.