How Fife became the ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’
Fife could be described as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ as it comprises a council area of both rural and urban as well as having a broad economic and population base. It is uniquely influenced by the respective city economies of Dundee and Edinburgh in addition to having cultural assets and a proud history of industrial innovation.
Like Scotland the region is also today, however, resourcing inclusive growth objectives, underpinned by a single council plan (Plan for Fife 2017 LOIP) which recognises enterprise and innovation as we strive to ensure the Kingdom, and country, prosper – fairly. This focus began in Fife with the Fairer Fife Commission during 2015 and has now culminated in the council area being crowned the ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’. This title recognises our work implementing an enterprise culture with, for and through, employers in the Kingdom. It also critically recognises the steps being taken within Fife to motivate and mobilise our young people to be leaders or innovators of the future.
The Enterprising Britain Awards are run annually by the UK Government. The Fife submission presented our work and across partner agencies on developing a ‘Learning Journey’ for existing and future business leaders in addition to highlighting the capital resources we have directed into industrial estate regeneration. It also highlighted the delivery of enterprise hubs, including one within Glenrothes, supported by local employers The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). This partnership ethos and recognition that inclusive growth will only result from support across all stages of the business cycle; has ensured that Fife is continuing to serve Scotland and Fifers by providing positive conditions for economic and social success.
The focus on enterprise and development of the Culture of Enterprise Framework, leadership development programmes and network of enterprise hubs would not have been possible without the invaluable support of Scottish Government and the Fife Economy Partnership. Economic forecasts show that eight sectors in Fife are expected to grow by more than 30% by 2037 and that 7.5% of Fife’s working age population will be classed as self-employed by 2037. Consequently the focus on enterprise support and leadership development will continue to provide the conditions to accommodate this in line with the Government CAN DO ambition to make Scotland a world leading entrepreneurial nation.
It is recognised that economic strength comes from having a diverse economy and a business base that grows through individual and collective investment. As such we continue to welcome the support or input of our learning partners, including Fife College and critically our local employers and those globally renowned, based in Fife.
For Fife Council, the focus remains on further establishing this enterprise agenda within Mid Fife, harnessing the physical and social opportunities afforded by Glenrothes, Levenmouth and Kirkcaldy respectively. The Council continues to enable and support inward investment with recently great strides having been made to secure (for Fife and Scotland) two further major accolades. Namely implementing a £1 million regeneration fund, directing resources to projects within Mid Fife to support our local economy, and most recently welcoming the announcement that Spanish company Talgo have confirmed that Longannet in South West Fife is the preferred location for its ambitious train manufacturing facility. These commitments will encourage further innovation and investment across Fife ensuring, with the continued focus on enterprise, that Fife is truly open for business.
Gordon Mole is a Board Member of the Institute of Economic Development and Chief Officer, Business and Employability, at Fife Council