OPPORTUNITY NORTH EAST
ambitious for the economy of north
Opportunity North East (ONE) is the private sector’s response to the obvious and serious long-term economic challenges facing North East Scotland.
Our region has a strong, entrepreneurial and enterprising economy, but is very dependent on North Sea oil. The current price downturn, which began in late 2014, has brought into sharp relief the issues of growth and the need for diversification and innovation in the regional economy.
The future could play out in two very contrasting scenarios. Firstly, a locally driven economic Renaissance, which will require planning, development and investment to stimulate, diversify and broaden our economy and reduce the dependence on North Sea oil. Alternatively, as the oil price recovers complacency sets in again and we fail to plan and invest ahead, and in 30 to 40 years’ time we become a Museum of the oil and gas era.
This huge economic challenge needs the private and public sectors to take steps now to broaden our economy by investing in our key industry sectors of food, drink, agriculture and fishing; life sciences; oil and gas; and tourism. ONE is about working with partners to strengthen and diversify the region’s business base by providing access to expertise and actively investing in projects and initiatives that support growth in these key sectors, attracting new investment, increasing the turnover of established companies and encouraging more successful start-ups.
Alongside this, we must examine the remaining North Sea opportunities and anchor the oil and gas industry here post the North Sea to achieve the Renaissance scenario. This will only happen if our local authorities, business and industry interests, and all key stakeholders adopt the Renaissance mind-set and act accordingly.
Collaborating with like-minded businesses, Scottish Enterprise, other partners and the international community, we will develop and accelerate high-impact opportunities. With an investment of £25 million over five years from the Wood Foundation, we are industry led and privately funded. We will use our resources to catalyse partnership working and win co-investment and matched funding from the private and public sectors to achieve the Renaissance objectives.
OIL & GAS
Maximising economic recovery of oil and gas from the UKCS is a key objective of the UK and Scottish governments and provides an opportunity for North East Scotland to be a long term global centre of excellence for oil and gas operations and technology development.
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
The food, drink and agriculture sector is a significant part of the economy of North East Scotland. More than 22,000 people are directly employed in the sector with 51% in agriculture, 32% food manufacturing, 11% fishing and 6% drinks.
The life sciences sector is a significant part of the economy of North East Scotland, with more than 2,500 people employed in the company and research base, contributing £160m Gross Value Added (GVA). In Scottish terms 22% of all employment in life sciences research and development is based in the Aberdeen area, but the region accounts for only 10% of the Scottish workforce.
Opportunity North East (ONE) supports VisitAberdeenshire, the city and region’s new destination management organisation, which should play an important role in transforming and diversifying our region’s economy.