New boost to growing fairer greener economy for Scotland


GREATER support is needed to help entrepreneurs, enterprises and communities develop the dynamic economy needed to make Scotland more prosperous, tackle poverty and the climate crisis, economic development experts say.

The Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS) today (Tuesday) revealed the steps it will take to inspire innovation and encourage entrepreneurship across the country by raising knowledge and giving its members the skills to drive change.

And the strategy conveys through its four topics how a focus on people, place, prosperity and planet can lift families out of poverty, build community wealth, increase productivity, develop public services and help reach net zero.

EDAS – Scotland’s leading organisation for economic development professionals – has launched a new three-year strategic plan which sets out how it will help its members to realise potential and ambitions across the country.

It directly pinpoints prosperity for the first time – making clear the direct economic impact that will come from giving people the skills that will attract fresh investment, generate new jobs, generate wealth for all and make communities more prosperous in climate-friendly ways.

The report states: “Prosperity relates to collective national economic success, alongside prosperous businesses, places, communities and individuals.

“Scotland is pressured by declining standards of living and growing income inequalities. There is also weak national growth, weak global growth, and Scotland has too few high performing businesses, too few exporters and not enough innovation.”

It adds: “In relation to other countries, Scotland has never been overly entrepreneurial, and we need to continue to grow a vigorous enterprising culture, including support for entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors to unlock new solutions, employment and investment that benefit local areas and people.

“Future prosperity is driven by having a more dynamic economy that generates wealth and wellbeing to help fund public service delivery and reduce demand on them.”

The report’s emphasis on entrepreneurship comes as statistics show that the stock of businesses in Scotland is almost 30% lower than the UK average, with 728 enterprises here per 10,000 people, compared to a UK average of 1,015 (see note 3).

EDAS, which has more than 3,250 members, is the country’s foremost membership association for organisations and people with an interest in economic development, widely recognised by policymakers and politicians as the sector’s go-to body.

To help its members – many of whom work in local authorities and enterprise agencies – it will roll out further support to help achieve the Scottish Government’s economic approach, including the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET).

Its vision is for a wellbeing economy which includes a growth in exports, public and capital investment to power local economic gain and reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

EDAS says it will work across sectors to help its members achieve this by opening “spaces for dialogue, debates and knowledge-sharing which help our members to navigate emerging challenges and opportunities”.

Neil McInroy, an international expert in economic development and community wealth building, is the organisation’s chair.

He said: “Economic development is central to the lives we live, the jobs we do, the future of our local places and Scotland as a nation.

“EDAS is a bridge between policy, practitioners, and activity on the ground. We continually strive to make economic development practice more accessible and relevant.

“We believe that the right skills combined with a greater understanding and wider recognition of economic development, will take us closer to realising Scotland’s goal of becoming an equitable, greener economy.”

EDAS seeks to ensure that economic development is at the forefront of national policy debate, giving professionals in the sector the opportunity to inform and inspire through training and networking events.

It also aims to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of economic development and how it affects their lives and work.

In the next three years, EDAS will work to increase the recognition that economic development works on international, national, regional, island or local scales, as well as across multiple sectors, including health, transport and digital. 

The EDAS Strategy for 2024-2027 can be read here.

For more information about the work of EDAS – and how to join – go to

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