HIE – Highlands and Island Enterprise – has come under a lot of criticism lately. To be fair most of that criticism has come from local councils wanting to supplement their own coffers while the government attempts to wean Scotland off of its dependence on public spending.
It turns out there’s no love lost between these Public Sector spenders when it comes to fighting over access to a smaller trough.
HIE is an easy target, with a track record of spending money on itself – go look at the offices – and white elephants. Sympathy for the afflicted prevents me from quoting some the many examples. And economic development in the Highlands is dire. The organisation should have been put out of its misery a long time ago.
Its been my misfortune to interface with HIE in numerous roles over the last few years. Every attempt to engage the business development agency has exhausted itself around the HIE magic roundabout. The people, or the organisation, or both, play rope-a-dope with anybody trying to get a little piece of the £55 million HIE has to spend supporting business.
Being a simple minded tax payer wanting to make a contribution to the local economy I’ve been totally bemused as to why these people will spend a fortune promoting social enterprises with no hope of going anywhere while simultaneously insisting they can’t help any initiative which won’t create wealth and local employment through exports.
A couple of days ago something made its way into my view and everything started to make sense.
The Head of Business Growth for this area had joined Linked In.
Thanks to Rapportive this jumped into my Gmail. You’ll understand I just had to chase this down.
Who is this person? Whats the background? How qualified to spend public money driving the economy in the North?
It turns out the Head of Business Growth studied Entrepreneurial Studies in the south and then took a post working for HIE in the north.
This person who makes all the decisions about growing the economy through spending tax payers money has never worked anywhere else. That’s 23 years limiting opportunities for businesses in the north, knowing sweet fuck all about the way the world outside of HIE goes around.