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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Idea 50: Internationalise the public and not-for-profit sectors in Scotland

Internationalisation of the Public and Not for Profit Sectors in Scotland.

Internationalisation is a subject that is of interest for many public and not for profit sector organisations in Scotland, but many lack the internal capacity and operational understanding to maximise their potential in such a market place. The present economic climate when we are faced with budget cuts may not feel like the best time to launch an internationalisation strategy, but the reality is that even more than before organisations need to look for different methods of delivery and need to identify new opportunities to sustain their operations.

For example, the arrival of structural funds in the new EU Member States has caused a shift in the market place and the reality of the situation is that now the New Member States have a significant share of the EU structural funds and very limited operational capacity. In contrast, Scotland has a large share of the operational know how and capacity but a diminishing share of the funds. This brings forward new and emerging opportunities for international partnerships between public and not for profit organisations in the old and new EU member states, and potentially in transition economies.

There is potential for Scottish organisations to establish institutional and professional partnerships, to provide technical assistance and know-how transfer to support the continuous growth, and increase the absorption capacity of their under-developed counterpart organisations in other countries. There is real scope for Scottish organisations to expand their operations into a number of clearly focussed sectors and for the public and not for profit sector to take forward the Team Scotland approach foreseen in the Government’s International and European Strategies.

In 2008 representatives from a number of organisations were willing to work together to develop a pilot project that could bring forward international partnership opportunities for the whole of public and not for profit sectors in Scotland. Although this idea did not move forward, the interest and opportunities still exist. We would therefore call for the establishment of a pilot project, based around the model that has been successfully applied by NICO in Northern Ireland.

This idea was provided by Ann Hyde, a European Consultant @ Think International, who was a member of our now defunct European advisory group.

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