Stirling s Economic Strategy A Strategy for Jobs

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1 Stirling s Economic Strategy A Strategy for Jobs

2

3 Contents Vision for Stirling s Economy 2 Background 3 Stirling s Economic Development and Support Services 4 Purpose of Stirling s Economic Strategy 6 Taking Forward The Strategic Themes 7

4 Vision for Stirling s Economy Stirling is investing in the creation of high quality jobs and opportunities for all. Success will be realised through the provision of an excellent quality of life for residents and visitors and a location of first choice for business, who will capitalise on an ambitious, diverse and growing economy.

5 Background A vibrant and cosmopolitan city, set within a world-class historical environment, Stirling is at the heart of ancient Scotland whilst representing a hub of contemporary culture. The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park reflects the fact that Stirling is home to some of Scotland s most dramatic scenery. This coexists effortlessly with a diverse business environment, University City culture and a fast growing number of innovative enterprises. Situated at the heart of Scotland, Stirling has a population of 91,000, which is projected to grow beyond 100,000 by 2035 and within its wider city region, has easy access to a population of more than 250,000 people, across the Forth Valley. Stirling is at the hub of Scotland s transport network by road, rail and air, with Scotland s two major international airports in Glasgow and Edinburgh, only 30 minutes away in either direction, making it the natural choice for businesses to service both domestic and international markets. Additionally, more than half of Scotland s population lives within an hour s travel time, providing a highly skilled workforce and customer base for Stirling s businesses, visitor attractions and educational establishments. Stirling residents are more qualified than the average Scottish workforce, which within an internationally admired Scottish context, is a highly desirable feature for employers. Excellent schools at all levels, combined with Forth Valley College and the University of Stirling provide a world beating pipeline of locally grown talent. Stirling aims to increase its contribution to the Scottish economy, through a new strategy to increase the number of high value jobs and encourage a wider range and number of employment opportunities. Already moving towards a varied and high growth business economy, Stirling is home to around 4,000 businesses employing 35,000 people. Diversity is evident by the range of sectors and employer size represented in Stirling, with large companies and SMEs alike, taking advantage of a highly skilled workforce. There is prominence in financial and business services, wholesale, retail, food services and technologically advanced manufacturing in areas such as life sciences and software development. Some examples of major employers include Prudential, Capita, Falcon Food Services, Forth Electrical Services, United Auctions, Graham s Family Dairies, Superglass, Ogilvie Group, Norbord, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority. Our existing company base illustrates Stirling s ability to succeed in growing and attracting thriving, high value employment from home and overseas. The vision for Stirling is to build on that achievement by investing in bolder plans on infrastructure, skills development, business support, rural development, attraction of inward investment and promoting Stirling as a world class location, in which to work, live, learn and visit. 3

6 Stirling s Economic Development and Support Services Stirling Council works in collaboration with the local business community to pursue opportunities to deliver the vision for Stirling s economy. We will also work seamlessly with all of our partners to improve Stirling s economy to encourage diversification and growth. Stirling s business community takes a leading role in developing the local economy, with leadership provided through the Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement Districts and Destination Stirling to ensure a specialised, focussed and joined up approach for local enterprise. Stirling Enterprise (STEP) is a business-led delivery organisation which provides business support services and offers a single access point for advice, training, business accommodation, funding and management services. A Local Employability Partnership has also brought together partners from across the area, to ensure appropriate and effective support is in place for individuals seeking work and for companies looking to recruit employees. An infrastructure investment plan has been developed which will be overseen by Stirling s City Commission to support growth in the local economy. Widespread, improved broadband coverage, provision of world class business space and development of business accommodation is supported by the Broadband Advisory Group, Stirling University Innovation Park and Stirling Development Agency. The range of partners working together to drive forward a thriving Stirling economy is illustrated: 4

7 FORTH VALLEY COLLEGE INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN STIRLING UNIVERSITY INNOVATION PARK SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STIRLING ENTERPRISE BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS Business CITY COMMISSION UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING STIRLING DEVELOPMENT AGENCY JOB CENTRE PLUS LOCAL EMPLOYABILITY PARTNERSHIP DESTINATION STIRLING ECONOMIC STRATEGY BROADBAND ADVISORY GROUP SKILLS DEVELOPMENT SCOTLAND VISIT SCOTLAND Figure 1: Economic Support in Stirling 5

8 Purpose of Stirling s Economic Strategy Our refreshed plan includes aspirational activities to support new business start-ups, faster growth of successful businesses, the attraction of inward investment and international business development, in both the city and the rural community, as well as the further exploitation of the knowledge base at the University of Stirling and Forth Valley College. The key objectives of Stirling s Economic Strategy are set out in five strategic themes: 1. Promoting Stirling s Advantage creating confidence in Stirling s economy, marketing the area s unique advantages and advancing investment opportunities. 2. Supporting Business ensuring a high level of tailored support for all businesses in the area. 3. Skills Development and Access to Jobs enabling people to access sustainable employment through up-skilling 4. Supporting the Rural Economy growing thriving and diverse rural economic communities 5. Investing in Infrastructure accommodating growth through investment in infrastructure 6

9 Taking Forward The Strategic Themes 7

10 Theme 1: Promoting Stirling s Advantage Create Confidence in Stirling s Economy: We will demonstrate confidence in our ability to deliver economic improvements and generate optimism for our future. We will promote economic opportunities through engagement with our current and potential investors. The Council will support the Chamber of Commerce and wider business community as a network of important advocates that will continually emphasise Stirling s economic assets and encourage investment opportunities, both nationally and internationally. Encourage Innovation: Incubation facilities and networks will be expanded to nurture innovative business ideas and to commercialise the research from our knowledge base. There will be a strong emphasis on one-to-one business support, mentoring and access to funding through the Stirling Business Investment Fund. We will continue to work with Scottish Enterprise to support local account managed companies and enterprises on the Pipeline for Growth. Significant new entrepreneurial energy will come from our young people, who we will nurture with new entrepreneurial support programmes. Marketing Stirling: We will actively sell Stirling as a great place to visit and, in which work, live, invest and learn. To do this, we will align with our partners to create clear, coherent and consistent messaging to all of our key target markets. Through detailed research, we will provide evidence of Stirling s positive contribution to the UK s wider economic success. We will also continue to promote Stirling through local, national and international investor events. 8

11 Theme 2: Supporting Business Sustain New and Growing Business through Tailored Support: Through Stirling Enterprise, we will deliver a breadth of effective and appropriate business support to new and expanding companies, in all sectors and part of our local economy. This includes social enterprises and businesses in rural locations. More broadly, we will ensure all companies have a pathway to understanding all of the available support to help them grow, by improving transparency and creating a robust system for feedback. Appropriate, Modern and Affordable Business Space: Availability of commercial space is critical to sustaining and growing our local economy. There is significant opportunity to develop business space at Forthside, Kildean, Castle Business Park, Stirling University Innovation Park, Pirnhall, Broadleys/Millhall and Bandeath. Furthermore, we will ensure a sufficient supply of flexible business land is earmarked through the Stirling Local Development Plan. We will also support the provision of new premises and the refurbishment of suitable accommodation designed to meet the needs of the enterprise community. Access to Funding: The Stirling Business Investment Fund will provide financial support to assist small and medium sized enterprises improve their competitive advantage and help them realise their ambitions to develop both domestically and internationally. The Fund will partly focus on supply chain opportunities and will also encourage businesses to develop new income streams and ultimately create jobs. 9

12 Theme 3: Skills Development and Access to Jobs Employability: The Local Employability Partnership (LEP) leads our skills development and facilitation of access to jobs. We will work with this partnership to develop and maintain appropriate and effective support for individuals seeking work as well as organisations looking to recruit employees. Our LEP will review the existing strategic skills pipeline to ensure an appropriate range of services are in place, including best practice for employer engagement. A new mechanism will be developed to track clients through various partner interventions, address gaps and blockages and improve the customer journey. Sector Skills Development: Working with business, Skills Development Scotland and our partners, we will continue to support demand from key sectors. The objective is to promote growth through employer led skills development. Working with Forth Valley College and the University of Stirling we will seek to attract skills funding to drive sector and enterprise development in the area. 10

13 Theme 4: Supporting the Rural Economy Distance from markets and centres of employment can create specific challenges for rural businesses. Broadband connectivity is a key priority to support rural enterprises and facilitate home and distance working, as is access to and provision of high quality business space. Working with key partners and rural communities, a separate but complementary rural plan will be developed to help enterprises thrive, encouraging economic diversity. 11

14 Theme 5: Investing in Infrastructure Enabling Strategic Infrastructure: As articulated in Stirling s Strategic Infrastructure Plan, we have identified and prioritised key infrastructure projects to support economic growth. As part of this plan, we recognise the changing role of our city centre, therefore, will enhance the central and shopping experience for residents, visitors as well as commuters. We will work with the Scottish Government and technology providers to allow businesses appropriate digital access, to compete globally, by connecting with the latest generation of broadband. Capital Investment in Infrastructure: Innovative funding models will be developed to encourage investment in the provision of key infrastructure through new models of public and private sector finance. We will seek to capture and reinvest more of the economic returns generated by exploring new models of investment such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF), City Deals and the Regional Accelerator Model. We will also seek to increase investment through traditional forms of funding such as planning contributions. There is a potential to use these sources of investment to lever in additional private and institutional finance. 12

15 Stirling s Heritage Park One significant priority of the Infrastructure Plan is the creation of a heritage park designed to underpin Stirling s reputation as a historic, tourist and cultural destination. The project encompasses Kings Park, the Castle, Gowan Hill, Back Walk, Old Bridge and the Top of the Town. The objective is to conserve Stirling s ancient and historic sites and attract World Heritage Status. The project will enhance the city centre, attracting new business, residents and tourists. 13

16 Sports Village Extension Stirling is the home of sport in Scotland. There is a tremendous opportunity to create new sports business clusters by extending current facilities, creating new sport-based business space, encouraging sports skills and by promoting new inward investment by the sports and leisure sectors. There are related sports tourism opportunities in the hotel and hospitality sectors. The Central Scotland Institute of Sport and the National Tennis and Swimming Centres are located on the University of Stirling Campus. Stirling s sporting infrastructure also includes The Peak and Forthbank performance centre located within Stirling s Sports Village. The Sports Village Extension project seeks to expand sports facilities and encourage a sports cluster. Plans include extending The Peak to create a new national curling centre. We will also continue to build on business innovation in sport, following the success of the Sporting Chance Initiative. 14

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18 Tel: Stirling Council. Viewforth, Pitt Terrace, Stirling FK8 2ET Formats Copies of our leaflets are available by request in a range of other languages, large print and on audio tape. To request articles in any of these formats please or call

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