"Collaboration is Key for Future Opportunities” says Highland Business Dinner Principal Sponsor HIE

Published 17/05/2024 by Audrey MacIver 2 min read

Audrey MacIver

Audrey MacIver, HIE’s area manager for the Inner Moray Firth, calls for more smart working, collaboration and talking up the region to make sure we benefit fully from opportunities ahead.

I never tire of saying it, so I’ll say it again.

Our region is exceptionally well placed to contribute significantly to the country’s low carbon transition and benefit economically and socially in the process.

We have the natural resources. We have the workforce and supply chains with the necessary expertise and experience. And we have the infrastructure, particularly our extensive network of ports and harbours.

We’re already seeing economic and social benefits from large scale offshore wind and green hydrogen developments and the commercialisation through innovation of emerging technologies.

Many of our traditional sectors, such as tourism, creative industries, and food and drink are seeing improvements in productivity through decarbonisation, as are emerging sectors like life sciences and space.

The newly established Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport promises benefits well beyond its locale. It has already helped attract a multi-million-pound inward investment project – the Sumitomo cable factory development – and will doubtless attract others.

All of this presents what I’m sure many would argue is a once in a generation opportunity to significantly enhance our region’s economy and the extent to which many of our rural communities will thrive.

So, in the context of higher costs and lower budgets, how do we make all this happen?

Work smart

Well, firstly we can work smarter to secure maximum economic and community wealth generation. This means keeping a collective focus on the wider shared goal.

Work together

Secondly, we can collaborate to overcome challenges and realise the opportunities presented to us by the low carbon transition, while ensuring region-wide benefits from the Green Freeport status. There really is no limit to what can be achieved through effective collaboration – the Green Freeport designation being just one of many examples. It’s no accident that this is a recurring theme in our five-year strategy.

Shout louder

Thirdly, we can shout louder about the opportunities presented in the region and how continued investment in our infrastructure, housing, skills and so on, will benefit and is benefitting not only the Highlands and Islands but the whole country.

Related Posts