Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) hosted its 21st Annual Dinner on 13 November. A true reflection of Scotland, the event had businesses of all sizes and sectors, and in her speech, SCC Chair, Nora Senior, championed the need for businesses to accelerate their exporting agenda, prioritise young people in the workforce and utilise the global Chamber of Commerce brand to become successful in business.
Thanks to the sponsorship of ScotRail, the prestigious event celebrated the hard work of Scottish businesses and looked towards the year 2014 as a golden opportunity for Scotland to prosper in business. Keynote speeches were delivered by the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP and Katherine Grainger CBE.
Nora Senior, Chair of Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“2014 is a year of golden opportunities and Scottish businesses are ready to reach for gold.
“Our businesses are modern, dynamic and creative and the environment in which to do business must reflect the aspirations of our business leaders.
“Scottish Chambers of Commerce will challenge and work with decision makers to reinvigorate policies to promote internationalisation of Scotland’s businesses and work to ensure the skills of our workforce are the most competitive in the world.”
On Skills and Young People, Nora Senior, said:
“Young people today need to see at an early age what opportunities there are out there...We should be encouraging schools to welcome exciting businesses with open arms to talk about trade.
“We cannot just leave it to teachers to inspire and instil enterprise in pupils. There needs to be a greater unity between business and schools – business must be engaged at an earlier stage, have greater input into course development and careers advice so that young people know what opportunities are available to them in the private sector when they leave school, college or university. And maybe we should be inviting teachers into our businesses as part of their Continuous Professional Development to experience the needs of business first hand.”
On International Trade, Nora said:
“Government has been bold in its clarion call to increase exports particularly amongst SMEs. In reality, progress in enabling our would-be exporters to trade the world has been far too slow. Collectively we must do far more to encourage, nurture and promote those who want to ‘think globally’
“And while government must do more to refocus resources on promoting export trade, businesses too must be bolder. Where is the ambition and leadership that established Scotland as a great trading nation? Yes, Government must enhance its focus on assisting businesses to export but business owners have to step up to the plate and be brave enough to plan to explore new markets…Chambers can – and have the ambition - to develop enhanced export services on their own – but how much more quickly could we get traction if we work together in partnership with Government, to develop this important route to economic growth?”