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Business Group



  • Allan Conry (North Lanarkshire Council)

Deputy Chairperson

  • Lesley Walker (Angus Council)

  1. To share knowledge and experiences and to encourage roll-out of best practice in relation to Scottish local authorities’ involvement in business start-up, business sustainability and company growth support.
  2. To debate and agree SLAED’s policy and approach to current and emerging issues, engaging COSLA, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, SDI  and others as appropriate; enabling a strong voice on behalf of local authorities and providing a clear mandate for any representatives to speak on behalf of SLAED on issues related to inward investment, international trade, innovation, inclusive growth, social enterprise, cooperative development, business start-up, SME support, business engagement and local economic impact of businesses.
  3. To provide a forum for members to raise any issues or questions within a closed and supportive network, offering a shared approach to problem-solving.
  4. To use SLAED performance data to drive continuous improvement, promote achievements and challenge each other in terms of professional development and raising standards.
  5. To promote greater awareness of the achievements and capabilities of LA economic and business development in Scotland, to government, the business community and the wider public.

These are some of areas of work being taken forward proactively by SLAED Business Group members:

SLAED will work with Scottish Government and stakeholders across the economic development landscape to improve the delivery of business support services across Scotland, aligned to national priorities. The programme of work will therefore focus on:

  • Business Gateway: Ensure appropriate governance structures and reporting mechanisms to support continued development of local authority-led delivery of Business Gateway services, with effective performance monitoring. Work with the Business Gateway Board, Business Gateway National Unit, Business Gateway Operational Network, and COSLA over the continuous improvement of Business Gateway services as well as addressing any service gaps between the Business Gateway offer and other business-related council services.
  • Community Wealth Building: Develop case studies and share best practice that demonstrate how local businesses can be involved and benefit from community wealth building.
  • Exporting: Support Scottish Development International and the UK Department for International Trade to expand the number of new companies exporting for the first time as well as enhancing and better coordinating support for current exporters.
  • Inward Investment: Work with Scottish Development International and the UK Department for International Trade to improve the experience of new investors locating to Scotland and improve the visibility of prospective inward investment opportunities to all local authorities.
  • Fair Work First: Work jointly with Cosla and economic development partners to provide feedback and progress to the Scottish Government on the implementation of the Fair Work First policy.
  • Partnership Working: Support the delivery of the Business Support Partnership and continue to work in partnership with Scottish Government and national agencies to support delivery of national economic development priorities.
  • New Business Support: Explore and develop opportunities, when required, to provide support to businesses affected by unforeseen economic uncertainty (e.g. cost of living/energy crisis, adverse weather).
  • Continuing Professional Development: Take forward a regular and ongoing programme of collating and sharing new practice, ideas, and successes.
  • Promotion of Local Business Support Services: Develop collateral to raise the profile of local government economic development services with partners such as Scottish Government and other relevant stakeholders.