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Business innovation has never been so important. The ever-increasing pace of technological change, the climate emergency and Brexit all create a highly challenging economic environment. However, where there is challenge there is also opportunity. It is my job to help businesses to weather political and economic turmoil and to support them in taking advantage of the opportunities that times of change bring.
Our First Minister has set an ambition for Scotland to be the designer, developer and manufacturer of the innovations that will shape the future—not just a consumer of them. That ambition sits at the heart of our most recent programme for government, which seeks to
“reinforce Scotland’s place as a dynamic, open, innovative economy.”
The time is right for business to step up to that challenge.
My aspirations are clear. I want to see inclusive economic growth that would benefit everyone in society—growth generated by ambitious, innovative businesses creating high-value jobs that make the best use of Scotland’s well-qualified workforce, and supported by an effective ecosystem that is easy for business to understand and access. I also want to be able to track spend, progress and outcomes to ensure that we are investing in polices that make a clear difference.
In 2017, my predecessor Paul Wheelhouse launched the Scottish Government’s innovation action plan, which clearly articulated our vision for a Scotland in which innovation is an intrinsic part of our culture, our society and our economy. It set out how we would use innovation to drive inclusive economic growth and match the innovation levels of the best-performing Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
The plan also set an ambitious target—