MORAY business leaders supporting the £200 million Moray Growth Deal held their inaugural meeting on Wednesday.
The Moray Growth Deal Business Assembly, formed to provide an interface between public sector and the local business community, met at Forsyths headquarters in Rothes.
The former managing director of Gordon & MacPhail, Michael Urquhart, is chair of the assembly which brings together businesses from a cross-section of Moray, both in terms of their size and sector.
Speaking fterwards, Mr Urquhart said: "We had some interesting discussions around the table today at what will be the first of many regular meetings of the Moray Growth Deal Business Assembly. It was great to see such a diversity of businesses representing the Moray commercial community. It is so important as we progress with the political process of securing a growth deal for Moray that we involve local businesses in what is likely to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the region.
"I know that there is a lot of enthusiasm for the Growth Deal from the Moray business community and my hope is that the assembly will allow them to harness this enthusiasm and act as a critical friend in this process."
Attending this first meeting were Pearl Hamilton from PEARL’S (Pet Care), Tom Duncan from Tom Duncan Film, Darren Margach from Pinz Ltd, Heather McDonald from WooHa Brewing Company, Ewen Mackintosh from Gordon & MacPhail, Keith Miller from Diageo, Calum MacPherson from Robertson and Richard Forsyth from Forsyths.
Director of economic development, planning and Infrastructure, for Moray Council, Rhona Gunn, is leading the Growth Bid.
She said the Moray Growth Deal Business Assembly will play an important role in the process of securing a growth deal for Moray.
"It is hoped that individual businesses will contribute knowledge and expertise that are directly relevant for the projects within the bid," she said.
"By bringing like-minded people together with the shared ambition to grow the economy in Moray, it is anticipated that the assembly will not only make an impact on the process of developing the deal itself but also in championing the case for the Moray Growth Deal to UK and Scottish governments."
The Moray Growth Deal Business Assembly will meet every two months initially. Other members of the Moray Growth Deal Business Assembly who will attend subsequent meetings include Margaret Reynolds from Dogrobes Ltd, Andrew Mulholland from Hunted Cow Studio Ltd, Rory McCann from Macduff Shipyard.
Commenting on the meeting, Pearl Hamilton said: "I feel very positive after this first meeting. As a micro business, it is encouraging to be invited to join this forum. Micro businesses make a significant contribution to the Moray economy and community and I look forward to collaborating with other businesses and generating wider support for the Moray Growth Deal."
Mr Forsyth added: "We were delighted to host the inaugural meeting of this prestigious group at Forsyths. It was a very positive meeting with a lot of enthusiasm for the Growth Deal from all sectors represented. We look forward to getting more involved in the process over the next few months."
Further information about the Moray Growth Deal can be found at http://www.mymoray.co.uk/
Businesses interested in becoming a member of the Moray Growth Deal Business Assembly are invited to register an interest via the My Moray website: http://www.mymoray.co.uk/moray-growth-deal-business-assembly/