While all eyes will be on George Osborne when he delivers his latest Budget on 16 March, there are plenty of other business events taking place during the month.
LIFE SCIENCES CONFERENCE, EDINBURGH
First up is a life sciences conference at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on George Street. The event, organised by The Scotsman, is titled “Innovating to Succeed, Making Scotland a world leader in life sciences”, and will hear from Stewart White, the chief executive of Glasgow life sciences firm Collagen Solutions. Deputy First Minister John Swinney is also due to attend, along with other speakers including Patrick Wiggins, chief executive of Irvine Bay Regeneration Company, NuCana chief Hugh Griffith and Iain Robertson, chair of the Scottish Health Technologies Group. The conference will be chaired by Scott Johnstone, chief executive of the Scottish Lifesciences Association.
INVESTING WOMEN ‘AMBITION & GROWTH’ CONFERENCE, EDINBURGH
The Investing Women ‘Ambition & Growth’ conference is the first of its kind in Scotland, bringing together Scottish women entrepreneurs and supporting angel investors for a two-day inspirational and informative event. It will take place at Dynamic Earth on the 7th and 8th March 2016. A dinner will be held at Edinburgh Castle on 7th March where the winner of Scotland’s only pitch competition for women-led companies will be announced.
TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE, ABERDEEN
The ITF Energy technology showcase returns to the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC), where the focus will be on “technology’s role in transforming costs and increasing efficiency now”. Last year’s event attracted more than 500 visitors and 61 exhibitors, and this year’s conference – organised in collaboration with trade body Oil & Gas UK and supported by the industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority – will include speakers from energy majors such as BP, Shell and Total, along with the University of Cambridge and the National Physical Laboratory.
Budget day. The Chancellor has already come under pressure to implement a further 2 per cent cut in excise duty on spirits, with the Scotch Whisky Association arguing that, despite last year’s reduction, tax on an average priced bottle of whisky still stands at an “onerous” 76 per cent. Former pensions minister Steve Webb – now policy director at insurer Royal London – has also argued that the Budget would be tantamount to “robbery” if George Osborne replaces current pensions tax relief with either low flat-rate tax relief for all or a pension “ISA”, whereby upfront tax relief would be abolished and workers would pay tax when they are paid, rather than when they receive their pension.
DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR AWARDS, GLASGOW
The Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland gathers at Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel for its director of the year awards. Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar won last year’s gong for businesses with a turnover of more than £35 million, while Ronnie Wayte, boss of funeral plans provider Golden Charter, was named director of the year among smaller firms. This year will see 42 Scottish directors battle it out across 15 categories. Winners will also have a shot at the prestigious UK director of the year awards in London, to be held in October.
OFFSHORE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, ABERDEEN
At the other end of the country, the same day brings the Society of Petroleum Engineers offshore achievement awards to the AECC in Aberdeen. Countdown star and maths expert Rachel Riley is due to return as the host and will present the winners with trophies designed by Robert Gordon University’s Irina Viskanta. More than 500 industry professionals are expected to attend the awards ceremony, which is marking its 30th anniversary with a record number of entries from across the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors.
FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES CONFERENCE, GLASGOW
The Federation of Small Businesses holds its national expo and conference at Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre. BBC Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark will be the host for the conference, which has also lined up Ofcom chief executive Sharon White and jam entrepreneur Fraser Doherty among its speakers.