Foreword

Our CE & Chair chatting
No-one could have predicted the challenges we have faced over the last year.

Throughout our initial year of operation, we tried to balance those who need immediate help and support as well as those businesses and communities creating opportunities for the future. We have also started to make some bold decisions on key strategic partnerships as well as taking forward important work to develop a long term ambition for the future of our region.
I think we can all be proud of what we have achieved since we were established on 1 April 2020. All of us know there is also much more both we and you can and will do, and this Operating Plan sets out our priorities for the year ahead – making clear where we intend to make a difference working in partnership with businesses, communities and those who are active across the South of Scotland.

Our team has grown to over 80 incredible people and our collective vision remains true ‘to establish the South as the centre of opportunity, innovation and growth.’

Now, more than ever, we need to continue to deliver upon our core values of being bold, striving, inclusive and responsible and we will do so working with everyone in the South with all our hearts.

We continue to strive to develop the leadership role we need to have for all of us as a voice for the South.

We have, and will continue to engage with, businesses and communities who so far have helped us follow our journey, and created the achievements that have formed the basis for the announcements we have made and without whom would have not allowed us to have the momentum, drive and ambition we have all brought to our region.

While we have made some big investments, we would never want to lose sight of the smaller scale and other support which is equally as important. In many cases that small amount of help or support leads to an impact far greater than would be imagined, so is something we are proud of and we will continue to make sure we do.

We, on our own, or in many cases with our partners continue to build important relationships with stakeholders - locally, nationally and indeed internationally - to maximise the potential of our area both today and in the future, and make sure we do what is best for the South.

Showcasing the South of Scotland and the people, businesses, and communities that drive it is key; which is why getting those messages and stories - not just of those we help - but others as well is critical, and we firmly believe that this can support the region as it comes out of this pandemic and look towards a positive future.

This includes enabling entrepreneurship, supporting our young people, creating jobs, attracting businesses to set up here, encouraging innovation, working with communities, rolling out Fair Work and supporting and promoting the wonderful environment and landscape we live in.

Underpinning all we do will be a focus on enabling a Just Transition to Net Zero, achieved by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases and enhancing our natural assets to store existing carbon, as Scotland moves to significantly reduce its emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2045. In the year when Scotland hosts the international COP26 conference in Glasgow in November, we are determined to use this as a catalyst to create a legacy of positive action in the South of Scotland.

Our aim has always been to become the development agency that the South of Scotland has always wanted and not just a funding agency and I think our first year has shown that in practice.

To do that we must continue to be seen as an Agency which is flexible, adaptable and skilled in also providing support and expertise of all kinds to anyone who may need it to achieve their objectives. The people of the South of Scotland wanted us to be different and not here to do what might be ‘expected’ or has been done traditionally, but more to always consider individual situations and solutions as well as seeing the bigger picture.

Our message to everyone remains – come and talk to us.

We are very proud of our achievements to date but are firmly focused on the future and our ongoing plans to listen, be innovative, different and deliver for the South of Scotland.

We look forward to the year ahead and truly believe that ‘Success Starts Here’ in the South of Scotland.
Our ChairOur CE

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