Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Fraser of Allander Institute June Economic Commentary

Cautious optimism for growth in 2018/19 but lack of clarity on Brexit risks ‘holding back Scotland’s recovery’

Scottish economic growth is set to recover this year but remain below trend according to the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute. 

In its latest Economic Commentary, the Institute forecasts a 1.2% increase in Scottish GDP in 2018 followed by growth of 1.3% in 2019 and 2020, making its outlook more optimistic than the government’s own official forecaster the Scottish Fiscal Commission. 

To download the latest Fraser Economic Commentary (June 2018) - click here
To view the economic commentary, articles and video please follow this link.

In addition to the Institute’s analysis of the current state of the Scottish economy, the Commentary also contains the following topical articles:

•   The output gap: what is it, how can it be estimated and is it fit for policy makers’ purposes? - J. Darby and S. McIntyre, FAI, University of Strathclyde

•  Could a reduction in alcohol consumption be good news for the UK economy?  Kevin Connolly, Katerina Lisenkova & Peter G. McGregor, FAI, University of Strathclyde

•   Performance of high growth firms in Scotland - J.Turnbull and K.Richmond, Scottish Enterprise

Unlocking Ambition business stars announced

Next generation of business people to build successful companies with a social conscience.  

Twenty of Scotland’s most talented, innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs will start the first Unlocking Ambition Challenge to find Scotland’s next business success story.

Unlocking Ambition aims to follow the success and impact of Scottish companies such as Brewdog and SkyScanner - businesses that have grown to an international scale and whose leaders are committed to supporting other companies reach similar achievements.

The Unlocking Ambition Challenge is a £4 million fund created by the Scottish Government that will support entrepreneurs chosen for their individual potential, the quality of their ideas and the contribution they can make to the Scottish economy and wider society.

The first twenty candidates to receive Unlocking Ambition support were announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon while visiting Cumnock during a travelling cabinet to East Ayrshire. The group will receive support from Scottish Enterprise, a mentoring programme from Entrepreneurial Scotland, access to the GlobalScot network and help from the Scottish Investment Bank.

The challenge will link established and accomplished business people with the candidates, who have demonstrated their ideas can be successful, inclusive, create jobs and benefit society. This core will see Unlocking Ambition entrepreneurs supported to grow businesses that have a social conscience, through products, services or an inclusive recruitment commitment that can have a positive impact on the lives of its workers.

The First Minister said:

“Scotland’s future as a progressive nation is built on creativity and innovation. Through the Unlocking Ambition Challenge, we will ensure these talented, enthusiastic entrepreneurs receive every support available to help them grow their businesses with the ultimate aim to benefit our communities, drive competitiveness and create jobs – this is exactly what we mean by inclusive economic growth.

“The programme will develop the commercial strength of these companies to ensure they are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in today’s fast-paced global business environment, and be part of the story that shows Scotland as a world-leading entrepreneurial country.”

One of the Unlocking Ambition recipients, Scott Weir, CEO of Pillow, an online travel agent and property management company based in Ayrshire, met the First Minister during the travelling cabinet which marked the Year of Young People. Mr Weir told the First Minister of his commitment to the young local workforce.

Mr Weir’s ambition is to build an internationally recognised group of hospitality and property companies that have a positive impact on the lives of the staff they employ. 
"I'm immensely proud to be part of the Unlocking Ambition Programme. Being selected was an amazing feeling as the impact on my business will be something money couldn't buy. But on top of this, it gives me a great sense of pride to know Scotland is at the forefront of entrepreneurialism.  For a small country, we punch above our weight and always produce world-class people and ideas.  The Unlocking Ambition Programme will help strengthen Scotlands reputation through the world" 

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said:

“Entrepreneurship can be contagious, and I believe this handpicked group of ambitious entrepreneurs has the potential to positively change lives with their innovative products and services.  They also have a role to inspire other businesses to succeed and help drive Scotland’s future economic prosperity. 

“The next year will no doubt be challenging for these entrepreneurs as they flex their businesses in pursuing opportunities to scale up.  I’d encourage each of them to embrace their Unlocking Ambition Challenge journey, challenge themselves, try new things, make new connections and invest in their skills and experiences.  I look forward to following their journeys closely and helping them unlock their full potential.”

Other businesses which will benefit from Unlocking Ambition support include game-changing innovations for football goalkeepers, pre-biotic drinks, clean and safe drinking water, contract bottling, craft chocolatier, digital patient services, environmentally friendly sanitary products, new fibres for textiles, omega-3 rich algae from industrial by-products, corporate donations from routine transactions, anti-maritime piracy barrier, speedy beverage delivery, bio-based construction systems, SME HR outsourcing and online travel agent and property management.


The first 20 entrepreneurs participating in the Unlocking Ambition Challenge are:

  • Alan Mahon – Brewgooder (Edinburgh)
  • Calum Haggerty - Coco Chocolatier (Edinburgh)
  • Celia Hodson - Hey Girls (Edinburgh)
  • Deborah Wake - MyWay Digital Health (Dundee)
  • Douglas Martin – MiAlgae (Edinburgh)
  • Hannah Fisher - The Start-Up Drinks Lab (Glasgow)
  • Iain Findlay - Aurora Sustainability Ltd (Moray)
  • Ian Arbuckle - Linian Supply Co Ltd (Glasgow)
  • Jo Halliday - Talking Medicines Limited (Glasgow)
  • Joan Johnson - Bespoke Fabrics (Elgin)
  • John Robertson – Drinkly (Edinburgh)
  • Kenny Arthur - Kaliaaer Ltd (Strathaven)
  • Lisa Thomson - Purpose HR (Edinburgh)
  • Loral Quinn – Sustainably (Edinburgh)
  • Paul Blackler - Drink Baotic (Glasgow)
  • Scott Dickson - Phox Water (Glasgow)
  • Scott Simpson – IndiNature (Edinburgh)
  • Scott Weir – Pillow (Kilmarnock)
  • Stephanie Terreni Brown - Clean Water Wave (Edinburgh)
  • Steve Regis - ARX Maritime (Edinburgh)

The challenge comprises two parts, a mainstream programme for 20 established entrepreneurs who are ready to scale their businesses led by Scottish Enterprise, and an academic programme for 20 early-stage entrepreneurs led by The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

The Royal Society of Edinburgh will announce the successful recipients of their group at the end of the month during an event in Edinburgh.

Source: Scottish Government 

Monday, 4 June 2018

EKOS Vacancy: Research Positions - Research Consultant

Based in Glasgow, EKOS is an independent research consultancy that specialises in providing evidence based research services and creative solutions to enhance economic competitiveness and deliver inclusive growth. We work with a UK wide client base ranging from small community groups, to national agencies and everything in-between.

For more information please see our website:

We are looking to grow our research capacity and want to hear from talented people interested in joining the company and expanding the skills and expertise that we provide.  We offer a challenging and rewarding working environment, with considerable opportunity for personal and professional development.

We are recruiting for the following positions:
  • Research Consultant

Further information on the position is provided below.

Research Consultant

Job Description

We are looking for a motivated and committed Research Consultant to support our research activities and contribute to our growing portfolio of work across our five main areas of activity: Enterprise and Innovation, Skills and Employability, Community Innovation, Sustainable Place-making, and Growth Sectors

Job Specification

The role will involve:
  • Research and analysis of economic and business data
  • Undertaking statistical analysis and presentation of results
  • Setting up and running market research studies
  • Supporting senior colleagues in primary research
  • Producing written input into reports
  • Undertaking telephone and face-to face consultations
  • Input to questionnaire design
  • Attending client liaison meetings throughout project as appropriate

Job Requirements
To be considered for the position you should have:
  • a Degree in economics or related social science discipline -preferably 2.1 or above although this is not essential
  • Experience working in a research related field within another organisation or as part of your University degree
  • Ability to analyse and present data in a clear and understandable manner
  • Strong analytical and presentational skills
  • Ability to communicate at all levels
  • Able to write well with good command of report writing

Job Particulars

Salary: £17,000 - £20,000
Benefits: Pension contribution, Bonus Scheme, Personal training budget, Professional development mentor
Annual leave: 35 days annual leave (including statutory)
Location: Glasgow, with some travel within the UK
Status: Full-time
Start date: July/August 2018

If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit a CV and covering letter to

The closing date for applications is Friday 29th June.

SQW Vacancy: Economic development and evaluation specialists for City Deal research

Consultants and Managing Consultants
London, Manchester, or Edinburgh,

Due to continued growth, SQW is looking to recruit bright, motivated and experienced Consultants and Managing Consultants.  This is an exciting opportunity to join one of the UK’s leading economic development consultancies helping our clients to shape national and local policy.   

We are leading the national evaluation of devolved investment funding linked to City Deal programmes across the UK.  A City Deal is an agreement between government and a city. They provide a fund which cities and combined authorities can decide how best to investment to help support local economic growth.  We want to recruit people to support those evaluations.  Therefore, we are seeking:

  • strong skills and experience in evaluation, ideally related to one or more of the activities being funded through the City Deals (e.g. transport improvements, site development for commercial and housing, business and innovation, and skills development)
  • interest and expertise in the economic growth and development of UK city regions  
  • an awareness of a range of research and evaluation techniques
  • experience of writing reports to a high standard
  • knowledge and experience of business case development and Green Book appraisal approaches and methodologies

The successful candidates will also be involved in the firm’s broader work.  We have specific expertise in four key areas of policy.  These cover: spatial and local economic development; innovation and business growth; children and young people; and health and social care. 

  • Some recent high-profile examples of our work include:
  • The evaluation of four of the UK’s Catapult centres for Innovate UK.
  • Economic analysis of the Oxford-Cambridge corridor to inform the decisions of the National Infrastructure Commission.
  • Assessing the impact of Scottish Development International support for international trade.
  • Support to develop a number of Science and Innovation Audits across the UK.
  • The evaluation of Schools Challenge Cymru for the Welsh Government.
  • Reviewing the digital ecosystem of Sheffield City Region to inform a long-term action plan.
  • Research into learner journeys for the Scottish Government.
Managing Consultants are instrumental to the successful delivery of projects at SQW, taking responsibility for managing several projects at any one time and contributing to others.  They also play an important role in work winning and proactive business development.  Consultants also work on multiple projects at any one time, taking responsibility for substantive tasks such as fieldwork and analysis, and also having the opportunity to take on client-facing roles, such as managing smaller projects.  There is a significant amount of autonomy at the firm, and individuals must be self-starters. 

In addition to having relevant work experience in one or more of the areas in which we work, you should have:

  • a strong academic record, which includes demonstration of numerical proficiency
  • an understanding of the commercial imperatives of consultancy
  • experience of working collaboratively as part of a project team
  • a good knowledge of some of SQW’s core clients
  • and for Managing Consultant positions, experience of managing teams and projects to budget.
At SQW, employees have opportunities to enjoy variety and continuous learning, making a real contribution to the growth and development of the business early on in their careers with us, whilst taking responsibility for their own development in a supportive and challenging environment.  Successful applicants must be ambitious and enthusiastic to build SQW’s profile in the fields in which they work, and show a strong level of commercial awareness of and sensitivity to the key issues facing clients, and the implications for sustainable work winning.

SQW works from four office locations.  These posts could be based in three of them: London, Manchester or Edinburgh.  The successful applicants may need to travel across the UK. 

How to Apply

For more information and to apply please follow the link below. You will be asked to upload a covering letter and a CV. You will also be asked to supply the following information:

  • An outline of your relevant professional experience and skills as they relate to this post.
  • Your salary expectations for the role and details of your most recent/current salary.
  • Your preferred office location –London, Manchester or Edinburgh
  • Reference to where you have seen the advert for the role.

Our closing date is 17 June 2018.

We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from candidates of any and all backgrounds.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

SE Workshop: ‘Selling your business? Discover why ERS and Mediascape sold to their employees'

Attend this workshop to learn how employee ownership offers a tax efficient exit route that protects your company’s legacy while providing a competitive price for the business.  Could it be the right succession solution for you?

Aimed at business owners considering an exit from their company, this session will give attendees the opportunity to hear direct from:
·        Employee owned contaminated land remediation specialist ERS 
·        Employee owned audio-visual solutions company Mediascape
·        Succession and employee ownership specialists Bruce Farquhar and Ewan Regan from Anderson Strathern
Book your place on the workshop website.

This is the first in a series of 4 workshops exploring succession planning and employee ownership. View the full programme of workshops.

The Studio, Glasgow
Selling your business? Discover why ERS and Mediascape sold to their employees.

27 September 2018
Law Society, Edinburgh
Selling your business? Discover why Fitwise and Jerba Campervans sold to their employees.

23 October 2018
Scottish Enterprise, Dundee
Selling your business? Discover why Merlin ERD and STAR Dundee sold to their employees.

20 February 2019
The Lighthouse, Glasgow
Selling your business? Discover why Auchrannie and P4P sold to their employees.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Tidal power and wave energy can create up to 30,000 jobs

THOUSANDS of jobs could be created across rural Scotland and millions generated for the economy if major new marine energy projects get the go-ahead after passing the Government’s viability tests. 

Experts have predicted that a tidal power and wave energy boom is there for the taking during the next twenty years if politicians on both sides of the border seize the initiative.

The think tank Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has concluded that marine energy industries can meet the requirements of the UK Government's "triple test" of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, lowering the current cost to produced electricity and demonstrating that the UK can be a world-leader in a global market.

The group's report said that the tidal stream industry could generate £1.4 billion cumulatively for the UK and support  22,600 jobs by 2040, focused mostly in Scotland, Wales, and the South West of England.

At the same time, wave energy could contribute £4 billion to the UK economy and support 8,100 jobs by 2040.

However, more must be done to develop technologies which remain at the experimental stage, with investment needed to made them viable commercially.

Around 20 tidal power technology developers are currently active in the UK, with functioning turbine now in place or under construction in Scotland in the Pentland Firth and off the coast of Shetland Shetland.

The report warns there is a "very real danger" that the UK could hand over its global lead to other countries as global momentum grows in these countries.

Tidal streams and wave power generators work by extracting the energy contained in the ocean, but in different ways.

Tidal energy is created when tides are squeezed through narrow channels, as in the Pentland Firth. Tidal turbines – essentially much more robust wind turbines – are placed on the sea bed or suspended from floating platforms, and rotate as these powerful currents flow past.

Because tides are predictable, this technology is able to provide electricity in a way which other intermittent renewables, like wind and solar, are not.

Wave energy is more complex – the main challenge being that devices must weather winter storms and still be able to produce power: in Orkney, where they've been tested, winter waves can reach 60ft.

There are many different designs of wave energy converter, from floating buoys to hinged flaps which sit on the sea bed and even floating ‘sea snake’ designs.

Most use the movement of waves to compress liquid and create hydraulic pressure to generate electricity. The global market for marine energy is potentially enormous: wherever there is sea, these devices could be deployed.

Ore said that to benefit from this growth the UK needs to present a clear success story of technology and project development in the UK, where UK companies can develop and showcase their expertise.

Dr Stephen Wyatt, ORE Catapult's research & innovation director, said: "The findings of our research are encouraging, with the potential for significant economic benefits to be realised from the UK marine energy resources.

"We will now continue our work with the tidal stream and wave energy industries, as well as relevant government departments, to discuss these findings and establish the best way forward for future support that will enable the UK to capture such advantage, in terms of growing our economy, creating jobs and exporting goods and services all over the world."

Between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of the economic benefit in and jobs is expected to be generated in coastal areas, many of which are in need economic regeneration.

The study also found that marine energy technologies have the potential to displace natural gas generation on the grid and to reduce CO2 emissions.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: "This landmark report clearly demonstrates the enormous potential of our wave and tidal energy industries - should they be able to access the right support from Government."

Ms Smith added: "This report shows that with even modest global deployment the sector could rapidly reduce its costs, drive economic growth in rural communities and export around the world.

"We now need government and industry to work together to enable projects to come forward, capture learning from projects and deliver the benefits of wave and tidal technologies."

Sian Wilson, senior energy & infrastructure manager at Crown Estate Scotland, the public body that manages leasing of seabed to support offshore renewables, said: "This new study shows that tidal now also has proven technology and can benefit consumers, communities and the climate, with real potential for new jobs and economic growth."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Our renewable energy sector is stronger than ever and marine energy will continue to play an important  role as we develop Scotland’s potential for generating clean power.

“Despite damaging policy and support changes from the UK Government, we continue to harness, galvanize and support Scotland’s renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure.

"Our Scottish Energy Strategy will build on our achievements to date and on Scotland’s capacity for innovation. Renewable energy will play a hugely significant role in powering the future and this strategy will ensure the correct strategic decisions are taken to support the renewables sector as it goes from strength to strength."

Source : The Herald

New bank will transform economy, insists Sturgeon

The first minister has said the proposed Scottish National Investment Bank can be “transformational” for the economy.

Nicola Sturgeon said the bank would support businesses of all sizes and could invest in infrastructure projects.

She was speaking to delegates at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s annual forum. The outline for the new bank was published at the end of February and the Scottish government is expected to report this month on a more detailed implementation plan.

“This will be genuinely transformational for the economy and society,” Ms Sturgeon said. “It can become a cornerstone of the low carbon and high productivity economy we all want to see.”

She pledged to continue investing in helping companies to innovate as well as to grow their international sales. She also reiterated the government’s commitment to opening a Scottish investment centre in Paris to promote international trade. That would follow on from outlets in London, Dublin and Berlin which have opened since the Brexit referendum.

Robert “Woody” Johnson, America’s ambassador to Britain, told the meeting there were more than 600 US companies operating in Scotland and collectively they employed almost 100,000 people. Mr Johnson, 71, is the great grandson of one of the founders of Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical, consumer goods and medical devices group. He said that after Brexit, President Trump had “made it pretty clear we want a free trade deal and want to get it going pretty quickly”.

Source : The Times