Ahead of the country's September referendum on independence from the UK, a new business initiative, N-56, was launched in Scotland in June, aimed at helping the country gain a position among the top five advanced economies in the world.
Founded by Dan Macdonald, a Scottish specialist in retail and planning-led development, N-56 is designed to foster collaboration between the country's public and private sectors with the aim of creating a dynamic economy. “Business, the community and government must work collaboratively to develop clear policies and milestones that move Scotland up the rankings at a faster pace than at present if we are to achieve recognition as one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” Mr Macdonald said.
To build a stronger economy, Scotland still needs a much more sophisticated economic plan, according to Mr Macdonald. “By the nature of our democracy, every government has a short-term economic plan and that inevitably produces short-term results."
According to Graeme Blackett, author of one of the reports published and promoted by N-56, Scotland is recognised for its scientific achievements and innovations, but could do more to capitalise on these successes. He said that the country could learn valuable lessons from other economies: “The models include Germany’s state investment banks and Singapore’s sovereign wealth funds, both of which have invested in companies for the long term, unlike the venture capital model where investors require an exit, often prompting a trade sale to an overseas competitor."
Apart from the overall view of the country's economy, the N-56 reports focus on Scotland’s infrastructure, exports, renewable energy, innovation and tourism tax as five sectors for key policy. Reports draw on a range of global examples, such as New Zealand's development of a national brand, to suggest how several areas of policy could be combined into a coherent strategy.