GlobalScot Network

– in the Scottish Parliament on 30th September 2021.

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Photo of Dean Lockhart Dean Lockhart Conservative

2. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the expansion of the GlobalScot network. (S6O-00218)

Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

The programme for government 2021-22 committed to growing the GlobalScot network to 1,500 members by 2023. As of 23 September 2021, there were 1,009 GlobalScots. That has grown from 665 members when “A Trading Nation” was published in May 2019.

The network recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and has been acknowledged by the World Bank as an exemplar of how a diaspora can support economic growth. Consisting of entrepreneurs, business leaders and community figureheads, GlobalScots are a vital component of Scotland’s international network, providing Scottish companies with critical market insights. The new GlobalScot digital platform launched in July 2020, allowing members and companies to connect with one another more easily. GlobalScots are involved in regional advisory groups focusing on furthering export and investment opportunities for Scotland across a range of countries globally.

Photo of Dean Lockhart Dean Lockhart Conservative

In 2019, the Scottish National Party announced plans to expand the GlobalScot network from 600 to 2,000 members by 2021. As we have just heard, those targets are nowhere near to being met, with just over 1,000 members. I fully appreciate that the Covid pandemic will have made it more difficult to expand the network, but does the minister share my disappointment that that vital network is not reaching its full potential?

Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

I will check those targets, as I do not think that they were to grow by 2021. “A Trading Nation” is a 10-year plan to grow Scotland’s export activity. If the member is engaged with GlobalScot, he will understand the huge value that it brings to Scotland’s networks and the value that businesses get from it. He will also understand the requirement to ensure that GlobalScots who come out of the network are of sufficient standard and ranking in their business communities to be able to contribute fully, under their own steam, to Scotland’s export and investment potentials.

I know that the member has worked internationally, so should he be aware of anyone who would make a good GlobalScot, I would welcome his input—he can send names to my office—as we want to follow those leads up to achieve those ambitious longer-term targets.

Photo of Elena Whitham Elena Whitham Scottish National Party

The expansion of the GlobalScot network is a testament to Scotland’s appeal and ambition on the world stage. In light of that, how will the Scottish Government fully capitalise on its plans to establish two new offices in Copenhagen and Warsaw, further expanding its existing network of European and international hubs?

Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

Our international presence creates domestic opportunities, broadens our horizons and ultimately benefits the people of Scotland. As the member indicates, we will establish two new Scottish Government offices in Copenhagen and Warsaw, which will sit alongside the existing Scottish Development International presence and GlobalScot networks in those countries and, in the case of Poland, our trade envoy, who has been in place there for the past three years. This is an opportunity for us to continue to expand Scotland’s export and investment ambitions, and those investment hubs will be an integral part of Scotland’s global footprint overseas and of our work with our GlobalScots and others.