I was fortunate enough to attend the Business in Parliament event at Holyrood last week. It was an incredibly friendly and uplifting experience, well attended by politicians of all hues and many business people, representing their own companies and business organisations. I took four young entrepreneurs along with me, all winners of SIE’s competitions, and all were made extremely welcome. They certainly made the most of the networking opportunity!
The conference is designed as an opportunity for politicians and business people to get to know each other better, and for businesses to share their experience and opinions with the MSPs. The theme for this year was “The importance of entrepreneurship and internationalisation to promote economic growth” and so was a theme that had great relevance to me.
During dinner, I sat next to an MSP who told me a great deal about the workings of the Scottish Parliament, especially the role of the cross-party working committees, who do a lot of great work, mostly behind the scenes. It seems that there is a great deal of collaboration in the Scottish Parliament, which is encouraging to hear about.
The highlight of the event, however, was undoubtedly the inspirational speech given by Sir Tom Hunter. He emphasised the importance of having a ‘can do’ attitude and a global outlook, not just in business but in politics too. He talked about the importance of education, and the need for education at all levels to be grounded in the needs of business. He made us realise what Scotland has achieved, not just in the past but in the present too, and how these recent achievements and attributes are recognised around the world. There is an undoubted tendency in Scotland to underplay what we can do; we need to know that, in reality if ‘some Pow’r the giftie gie us. To see oursels as ithers see us!’ we would actually see ourselves in a more positive light.
We must all take confidence in our abilities. As individuals, we are highly educated; many of Scotland’s companies may be small, but that makes us fast and responsive. And in the modern world, those attributes can make us world beating!