Continuing my series of blogs of my Saltire Scholarship, here’s an opinion piece.
Coming from a rural community I have been inspired by how international outlooks can bring business from all over the world to small communities, as with Scottish enterprises working in the food and drink, and textiles industries. Growing up in the international business environment of my parents’ company (ACE Winches, Turriff) I have learned the necessity of a global mindset to achieve business growth and commercial success.
Scotland is a nation of creators and inventors. In my eyes, a future Scotland as the most entrepreneurial society in the world would be characterised as and international centre for innovation, and a hub for research and creation, with a truly global mindset. An environment where businesses thrive and start-ups grow to create a society with skilled jobs, supported by a pioneering educational culture.
But what is entrepreneurialism? One dictionary says it’s characterised by the taking of financial risks in the hope of profit, but I think it’s something more. It is certainly having to do with the creation and development of economic ventures, which could be the buying and selling of goods; but I think true entrepreneurship is the ability to think independently and innovate to create valuable products and services.
In our rapidly changing world, especially after Brexit it will be increasingly important for Scottish businesses to grow and enhance their international links and for our society to become increasingly entrepreneurial to strengthen our economy. To create true economic value we need to build a culture of working together to create competition that encourages us to innovate to produce incredible products, and to develop our people rather than to screw down our prices.
This entrepreneurial culture would also have the opportunity to recognise its own value and influence. I am hugely inspired by Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. On starting her business Anita questioned ethical consumerism by prohibiting ingredients tested on animals, promoting fair trade, and creating natural products with reusable packaging, something that was innovative at the time. Anika also believed in businesses holding a great responsibility of shaping our society, “The business of business should not be about money, it should be about responsibility. It should be about public good, not private greed.” As we work towards the common goal of becoming the most entrepreneurial society in the world we must recognise our responsibilities as opportunities to have a positive impact on the safeguarding of our environment, to develop our culture and to improve quality of life for people living in Scotland and around the world.