At the Hunter Foundation our philosophy has always been that the best social policy ever created is a good job; entrepreneurs create them.
Evidence from the Kauffman Foundation indicates over the next five years more or less all net new job creation will come from the SME sector, an extraordinary and important point when we focus on rebuilding Scotland and largely missing from this report.
We absolutely agree with Benny Higgins that a job loss tsunami could consume Scotland and therefore that’s why we need to work together to prevent that. We welcome Benny Higgins report, but as ever the devil is most definitely in the detail.
For our own part we have consulted widely with the entrepreneurial community on what needs to be done to kick start our economy and based on that consultation submitted the attached paper to Government and Lord Smith in early May. That paper has the benefit of perspectives from hundreds of businesses employing hundreds of thousands of people.
These are practical points mainly in the gift of the Scottish Government.
We agree with Benny in that we do not believe the Scottish Government understands or engages enough with business and welcome the First Minister’s reaction “if that is the view and a perception, then we have to recognise it as real and address it”.
In our Foundation we have huge successes in education (Head Teacher Leadership Academy) and the Social Investment Partnership with the Scottish Government and we look forward to getting a better understanding between Government and business.
With the purpose of hopefully contributing to the detail we have aligned parts of the paper we submitted to the Scottish Government with the various recommendations of this report. Our premise from what you will read is that we very much agree Scotland needs a sector by sector, region by region approach and true partnership with Government, the public, private and third sectors in order to maximise sustainable economic development.
However speed is of the essence and we in Scotland cannot afford to delay or prevaricate on obvious actions that we could take now. In May we proposed co-investing with the Scottish Government in scaling up our Scale-Up Scotland programme, digitising it and quadrupling Scottish Edge to drive SME development – we even offered to pay the Government back if those investments didn’t work; we are still waiting on a decision.
Lastly when this crisis hit we engaged not only with business leaders and entrepreneurs in Scotland but also with global Scots leaders from around the globe – all to a man and woman willing, able and ready to help reimagine Scotland and help in building a robust economy where opportunity prevails for all our citizens.
The Hunter Foundation remains willing and able to help and with all of Scotland working together we can again lead the world.
Using the Report’s legend our recommendations by Government responsibilities in bullet point format were as follows:
Scottish Government Responsibilities
5.2 An Investment-Led Recovery:
5.4 Strategic Support for Business
One size does not fit all ergo match support to sectoral needs for example consideration should be given to:
Support for Start-Up’s and Scale-Up Businesses
We have consulted with over 50 scale-up businesses and 300+ potential high growth businesses through our various programmes alongside the entrepreneurial community in general. We will have more feedback next week from intermediaries supporting thousands of businesses.
In essence the message is investment has fallen off a cliff; the Angel market has all but disappeared and the VC’s are largely acting in an entirely predatory manner; growth funding is more or less impossible.
Over and above providing, by sector, a process by which to open up safely the SME sector – where the majority of jobs and economic growth reside – there is need for the following interventions both immediately and going forward:
5.6 Foreign Direct Investment:
5.8 Planning and Regulation:
5.10 Digital Infrastructure – see 5.4
5.13 Tourism and Hospitality – see 5.4
5.18 Learning Loss:
Introduce the national training academy. Leavers would sign up to skills development programmes which would focus on the needs of real jobs in industry growth sectors or the gaps in public sector provision. The private sector and Govt would partner the academy to ensure that eight months out of the 12 month programme would be spent in paid employment gaining experience in post. The structure of the 12 months would be tailored to the needs of each job type and would be delivered in partnership with the college sector. Govt grants would support the young person whilst in classroom training and employers would pay the national living wage during the working period. The FE element of the programme gives each sector better trained employees for their talent pipelines and could also kickstart progression to further professional training In yr 2 of employment. It will also help young people decide whether full time FE may be an option for them.
UK Government Responsibilities