Eurada News nº404 – September 2020
The road ahead for the South of Scotland Enterprise
SOSE is now seeking to appoint its first CEO
The South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) was officially launched on 1 April 2020 as the new Economic and Community Development Agency for Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders. SOSE was established by the Scottish Government in recognition of the unique circumstances of the south of Scotland and the need for a new approach to promote inclusive growth across the area. The agency is now seeking its first permanent CEO.
Continuing the development: A leader’s call
Being a relatively new and young entity, the agency has come up with a three-year plan to establish themselves in the region. Specifically, they have come up with strategies in three different categories: focus, action, and implementation. To achieve these goals, the SOSE is now looking for a first permanent CEO to take this incredible journey forward – to inspire the region to think big and to collectively unlock the great potential of its people and its resources across the region to make things happen in the South. The application is open until the 5th of October 2020.
The successful candidate will be essential in refining SOSE’s structure and ways of working to ensure the organisation’s capacity to deliver what is expected of it. The future CEO will be responsible for continuing to develop the capabilities of the organisation along with the organisation’s culture, capacity and ability to realize both its vision and mission. The CEO will provide active and dynamic leadership for SOSE working together with the Chair, the board of directors and the wider organization.
Furthermore, the new CEO will act as an ambassador for SOSE, building positive relationships of influence between the business community, politicians and broader stakeholder groups. SOSE plays a key role in providing a strong and effective business and skills system that will ensure a sustainable and attractive economy across the region.
The regional landscape and priorities
The South Scottish region is strategically well located as it is central within the UK, close to Newcastle and Carlisle, the Central Belt of Scotland, and Northern Ireland. On one hand, it offers substantial land and energy resources of national as well as regional interest, with significant potential to be a catalyst for green growth and green jobs. On the other hand, the region is characterized by large areas of attractive natural landscape and vibrant communities with a rich history and cultural heritage.
Although there is a great entrepreneurial spirit in the region, there are several challenges that need to be taken into consideration: the ageing population and many young people leaving the area. There is low productivity, as well as sectors with traditionally low wages and few higher skilled jobs. There are transport and digital connectivity issues. The area is very rural and sparsely populated. There is also a lower number of business start-ups and less investment in innovation/research & development (compared to the rest of Scotland). The establishment of SOSE, as a new dedicated Economic Development Agency, will be driving the South part of the region toward the Inclusive Growth Deal.
With the intent of driving the region toward a sustainable and inclusive economic success, the regional landscape has been reorganized. Thanks to the “Team South of Scotland” mindset – the new landscaping act aims to formalize and build on the excellent track record within the region of strong and effective collaboration in the public sector, with national, regional and local actors adopting a coordinated and single minded team. The team approach will stimulate efforts by developing new and strengthened relationships with the Scottish Government to help unlock the region’s full economic potential by breaking down barriers to investment, ensuring that the South contributes to the national ambition for a fairer and greener Scotland that is also stronger.
For the coming year, SOSE’s key role is to implement actions to support growth, bring business and communities together and streamline their path to finance, markets and success; show the world this incredible part of Scotland and highlight the people and businesses that help drive it; support the people and organizations that help the South of Scotland economy, no matter how big or small they are; build and protect relationships with communities and businesses, while ensuring access to any specialist services or advice they need; and be a key partner among existing agencies in economic development and act as the voice of the south.
Written by Brixhilda Cepaj, Project Officer at EURADA