BUSINESSES, agencies, organisations and individuals in the south of Scotland are being invited to help influence an ambitious new approach to economic development.

As part of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, stakeholders can attend a series of special engagement events to help shape the economic future of the area and the new enterprise agency that is being created.

The free events in a range of locations from Stranraer to Eyemouth, take the form of both breakfast and evening events, to make them as accessible as possible.

This week they will meet in the Newlands Centre tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7pm.

Next Wednesday, the economic partnership will meet at the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles at 7pm, and the following morning for a breakfast in the Eastgate from 8.30am.

On Thursday, May 10 there will be a meeting in the Kingsknowe Hotel Galashiels from 7pm, then the following morning at 8.30am for a breakfast briefing.

Further meetings are planned later in May at Newcastleton Village Hall, Kelso Abbey Row Centre, the Mansfield House Hotel in Hawick.

And there will also be meetings in June at Innerleithen Memorial Hall and Ettrick Riverside in Selkirk.

The events are designed to allow a single conversation with stakeholders on what powers and focus they would like the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency to have when it is established in 2020, the interim work programme of the partnership and also potential opportunities for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency, with responses shaping its development and influencing what the standalone agency will do.

Feedback from the upcoming events will be fed into that consultation process.

Professor Russel Griggs, chair of the partnership, said: “This is an exciting time for the south of Scotland and it is a time when our collective voice, and indeed our individual voices, are being heard at the highest levels in both Scotland and across the UK.

“It is therefore vital that the partnership hears from our local businesses and other stakeholders to ensure that their views are being taken into account. These events will enable them to influence both the future development of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency and the partnership’s work programme.”

The stakeholder events are being managed by the Southern Uplands Partnership on behalf of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership.

Places can be booked at

Prof Griggs added: “The establishment of the partnership and the future development of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency will generate a renewed commitment that will bring investment, innovation and a fresh approach for the south of Scotland, shining a collective spotlight on the whole region for the first time.

“The partnership offers an opportunity for greater collaboration and closer working across all sectors. It is important for us to work with businesses of all sizes to understand the issues and opportunities that exist and how best the partnership, and in due course the enterprise agency, can attempt to address these and drive inclusive growth across the area.

“Growth will come from small and medium sized enterprises expanding and developing across the region and private sector support is crucial to the success of the partnership.”

The membership of South of Scotland Economic Partnership is made up of a wealth of business experience across sectors, sizes and locations relevant to the south of Scotland, as well as representatives from education, the third sector and the public sector.

As well as bringing together key partners to boost the economic performance of the south of the country, the Scottish Government has provided a significant investment package worth £10 million to assist the partnership.