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Chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) outlines ambitious vision for coronavirus crisis recovery

By Staff Reporter

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Alistair Dodds, HIE Board member...Picture Credit Ewen Weatherspoon/ HIE.
Alistair Dodds, HIE Board member...Picture Credit Ewen Weatherspoon/ HIE.

Ambition and partnership working will be key to the Highlands’ recovery from the effects of coronavirus the chairman of the region’s business development agency believes.

Alistair Dodds was confirmed last week as the new chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), having undertaken the role in an acting capacity since March.

“It is more important than ever that HIE continues to be ambitious for every part of the Highlands and Islands and that we work with our partners and clients in businesses, social enterprises and communities to strengthen resilience and accelerate recovery,” he said.

“Since the Covid lockdown, efforts across the region have focused on reducing the spread of the virus and meeting demand for specialist equipment, facilities and expertise.”

He added: “Companies able to continue operating very quickly stepped forward to adapt and contribute to the national effort.

“Distilleries started producing sanitiser. Technology and manufacturing firms began making PPE and components for equipment such as ventilators. And life sciences companies collaborated with research bodies to provide lab facilities, diagnostic expertise and PPE.”

Innovation, he said, had been central to success in years gone by, was in abundance now and would be vital when it comes to moving forward.

Paying tribute to the many firms who have had to stop or scale back operations in the face of the ongoing public health crisis he added: “It is important to recognise that the contribution those businesses have made, and are making, is as vital as the work of firms still operating.

“Reducing the ‘R’ number, the rate at which the virus spreads, is a crucial part of the national effort, and they are helping to achieve that.

“This will be essential in getting the economy moving again.”

Related: Pandemic takes toll on vital tourist trade in Ross-shire

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