Programme 2019

“Agents of Change: Scottish Business Leading the Way”

(BiPC in the 20th Year of the Parliament)


Thursday 7 November 2019


Arrival & drinks reception


Dinner ends

Friday 8 November 2019




Welcome from the Presiding Officer


Views from the Committee –     Convener of the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee


Address by keynote speaker – Robin Watson, CEO, Wood


Address by the First Minister


Presiding Officer closes first session



Workshops in the Committee Rooms: discussion on key themes


Q&A session - Cross-party panel responding to questions from delegates - Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy (Scottish National Party); Murdo Fraser (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party); Rhoda Grant MSP (Scottish Labour); Liam McArthur MSP (Scottish Liberal Democrats)


Closing speech – Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation


Closing remarks from the Presiding Officer




Space available in the Parliament should people wish to stay on and network further


1. Equality and Diversity in Business - Men as agents of change 
Aim: As highlighted by the Women’s Business Council, for too often and for too long, gender equality has been the business of women. This needs to change. Transforming equality and diversity in business will be achieved better and faster by men and women working together in partnership, with strong top-down leadership essential to drive sustainable commitment. A pioneering trio of leading male businessmen and Male Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors (Mark Logan, Steve Dunlop and David Sole) are Change Agents with a strong desire to challenge unconscious bias and champion the policy changes and support mechanisms that are needed to achieve meaningful change in our business ecosystem. In this workshop they will explore how men in all organisations can and should become leading Change Agents and create a practical set of concise guidelines for organisations to implement.
Co-chairs: Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, and Jamie Halcro Johnson MSP

Speakers: Mark Logan, Tech Investor, start-up adviser, and former COO, Skyscanner; Steve Dunlop, CEO,Scottish Enterprise; David Sole, Managing Partner, School for CEOs

 2. Climate Change and Business Leadership
Aim: Scotland is introducing ambitious climate change targets. This session will invite business stakeholders to participate in a stimulating debate and discussion about what climate change means and how businesses in Scotland can be leaders on climate action for their customers, employees, and their peers. Key issues to be tackled include how to implement strategies to improve environmental and economic performance, and business’ role in creating a positive low carbon future for Scotland’s citizens and economy. Feedback from this session will contribute to updating the Climate Change Plan.

Co-chairs: Rosanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, and Gillian Martin MSP

Speakers: Alison McRae, Senior Director, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce; Ian Smith, Head of Corporate Relations, Diageo.
3. Productivity and Wellbeing
Aim: How can many more Scottish businesses can improve their performance and the quality of work? Scotland’s productivity remains around 20% below target, partly due to a long tail of lower productivity firms; meanwhile employment levels are high, but many people are concerned that the economy is not offering enough jobs that offer the security, pay and fairness in workplaces which will support healthy working lives. Actions to increase productivity can potentially be detrimental to wellbeing and vice versa – but successful businesses will be those which excel in both. This workshop will focus on what businesses can do to achieve improvements in workforce productivity and wellbeing, the contribution which Scotland’s Fair Work agenda can make and where more support is needed to help more businesses on this journey.
Co-chairs: Minister - Ben Macpherson MSP, Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, and Jackie Baillie MSP
Speakers: Linda Johnston, Managing Director, Auchrannie Leisure Ltd; Shirley Campbell, Director for People, Scottish Water
4. Aligning our Future Talent with the Future Skills of Industry
Aim: We know that not all learning takes place in formal education. How do we recognise and capture the broad range of skills young people have and ensure they meet employers’ needs for industry today and how can they then be supported to become lifelong learners in the workplace?
Co-chairs: Richard Lochhead, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, and Dean Lockhart MSP
Speakers: Geoff Leask, Chief Executive, Young Enterprise Scotland; Marie Leck, Senior Programme Executive, YES; Scott Weir, Owner, Homesure; Julija Juodzeviciute, Student, City of Glasgow College.
5. Scottish National Investment Bank – Leadership and Governance
Aim: This workshop will allow business to engage with Government around the governance and leadership of the Scottish National Investment Bank. The Bank will play a national and international leadership role in supporting investments in Scotland to deliver on a set of missions set by Ministers for the Bank to tackle societal challenges. The Bank’s success will be highly dependent on its leadership and governance. Its board will require clear guidance at the outset and will be subject to regular in-depth monitoring and evaluation whilst at the same time making investment decisions independent of Government. This workshop seeks the views from business on our plans to achieve this.
Co-chairs: Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, and Gordon Lindhurst MSP
Speaker: Daniel Kleinberg, Deputy Director for SNIB
6. International Business
Aim: Exporting is, and will always be, vital to Scotland’s economic growth. We have world renowned industries trading successfully all over the world but we need to do more to enable more businesses to export and diversify into new markets. We know that many potential exporters are dissuaded from taking the first steps through fear of the unknown. This workshop will address the common barriers that companies face, and demonstrate how these can be overcome. Attendees will be equipped with the knowledge and connections that will enable them to make informed decisions about the opportunities that are open to them. It will focus on the practical advice and enabling support that is available, examining case studies of Scottish companies in different sectors that have successfully broken into new overseas markets.
Co-chairs: Ivan Mckee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, and Colin Beattie MSP
Speakers: Kieran Coyle, Premiership Experience and Miranda Clegg, Commercial Director, Vegware

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