Mandy Haeburn-Little: Year of opportunity for businesses

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We have never been short of innovators and entrepreneurs in Scotland. We can also boost a proud reputation in putting in place the support mechanisms to help develop fledgling ideas into serious business propositions, through initiatives run by the Scottish Government, local authorities and the private and academic sectors.

While this entrepreneurial flair is helping Scotland to chart a steady path to economic recovery, the reality is that 2014, like no other year, offers the chance for our businesses to grow exponentially. All eyes will be on Scotland in 2014, with the Year of Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games and the upcoming referendum, so it’s important for businesses to seize all opportunities to maximise their potential.

We need to use this unprecedented year to showcase our ability to successfully host major events to flagpost Scotland as a desirable, safe and agreeable place within which to establish and develop business on a long-term and sustainable basis.

But to seize upon all these opportunities we will need to approach them with energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to collaborate and a desire to promote innovation and resilience.

That’s why the Scottish Business Resilience Centre has decided to host its first conference on this theme at the RBS Conference Centre in Edinburgh (Innovation & Resilience: A Positive Future for Business in Scotland) – providing a platform to help our entrepreneurial talent flourish in this pivotal year.

Whether it be marketing or thinking more creatively, learning from some of Scotland’s strongest entrepreneurs, to making sure resilience is embedded in all processes, we hope the event will encourage companies to go from strength to strength.

While we are encouraging companies to ensure they have their business plan for 2014’s opportunities in place, it is also very important that Scotland is seen to be safe place to do business.

Businesses need to ensure they have bespoke and effective protection from physical and cyber threats in place. Effective self-resilience promotes a culture of ownership, well-being and confidence and enables public services to focus their finite resources on areas of greatest need. All aspects of cyber security need to be up-to-date. Implementing what are often simple steps will help prevent cyber criminals from hacking any vital information and ultimately creating mistrust in Scotland as a place to do business.

We see this conference as the key event for the Scotland’s business community to address the challenge of seizing the importance of Scotland’s year in the global spotlight – so we hope they grab it with both hands.

• Mandy Haeburn-Little is director of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre