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Digital economy minister says tech can overcome isles’ economy challenges

Head of business growth with HIE Ruth Kirkpatrick, founding director with Kyloe Stewart Morgan, Kate Forbes MSP, Kyloe company secretary and legal director Fiona Morgan and chairman of HIE Lorne Crerar.

The minister for public finance and the digital economy Kate Forbes has said technology can overcome the physical barriers and challenges to help places like Orkney thrive.

Miss Forbes made her statements while visited software and consultancy business Kyloe Partners’ Kirkwall office, at the Custom House, last week.

She was joined on the visit by Professor Lorne Crerar, chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and Ruth Kirkpatrick, head of business growth at HIE.

Around 35 Kyloe employees, including a couple of visiting staff members from the tech company’s London office, were in attendance to meet Miss Forbes. During the visit, the minister talked about the importance of digital on Scotland’s future economy, as well as the significance of creating tech-focused jobs in remote communities such as Orkney.

She said: “I see the world of tech as an enormous opportunity for Scotland as a whole, and I see digital as one of the best ways of ensuring that there is inclusivity in our economic growth, meaning that everyone in every part of Scotland can thrive.

“Creating jobs in remote communities is absolutely fundamental in achieving that inclusivity and it’s so exciting to see a really successful tech business in Orkney.

“So many other industries and sectors depend on the physical movement of goods or people, which can be especially challenging for islands. With tech, we can overcome these physical barriers, to help ensure that every part of Scotland flourishes.”

As part of a question and answer session, Miss Forbes also emphasised the importance of skills development in the wider tech industry:  “We need to attract around 12,000 new entrants into the tech world every year to meet current and future demand, and to make sure people have the skills and training to meet that need — including those people currently working outside the tech industry.

If we want Scotland’s economy to prosper, then we need to make sure we have support in places like Orkney.”

Founding director with Kyloe, Stewart Morgan said: “The funding and support that we have received from Highlands and Islands Enterprise has played a huge part in helping us reach where we are today, it was great for the team to meet Miss Forbes in Custom House.”

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