Professor Lesley Sawers delivers State of the City Conference speech

15 November 2013

Professor Lesley Sawers delivers State of the City Conference speech

Professor Sawers delivered a speech to more than 400 business leaders

Professor Lesley Sawers, Vice Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business Development, Enterprise and Innovation, addressed the 16th annual State of the City Economy Conference today in the Radisson Blu, Glasgow. 

Sharing a platform with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Leader of Glasgow City Council Gordon Matheson, Professor Sawers delivered a speech to more than 400 business leaders.

Professor Sawers stressed the importance of GCU to the city of Glasgow, highlighting the university’s £440m contribution to the Scottish economy and the global reach of the University with campuses in Glasgow, London and New York.

Professor Sawers said: “Universities have a key role to play in economic development, in driving social change and innovation, and in delivering lasting, economic success that is shared across every community in this city.”

To do this, a network of universities across Scotland linked internationally would harness access to information and innovative thinking.  She urged strong civic and political leadership, partnership with businesses large and small, and working with third sector and civic organisations to retain talent within the city.

Professor Sawers added: “By linking social innovation and business networks to wider communities and partners across the city, the plan is to create a single gateway to support Glasgow businesses, cooperatives and social enterprises to grow and provide opportunity for staff, students and communities across the city.”

Professor Sawers also warned businesses not to become “complacent” while pointing out that a recent study from KPMG concluded that: “Scotland’s cities have performed reasonably well through the current recession compared to their English counterparts.”

Professor Sawers also said her decision to move into the education sector was borne out of a desire to make a real and lasting difference to people’s lives.  She cited GCU’s Chancellor Professor MuhammadYunus as an inspiration and called on businesses to follow the example of the anti-poverty campaigner and to inspire “not the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today.”

Looking forward to the year ahead, Professor Sawers said: “It’s the People that make Glasgow and it is the people of this city who will deliver the most successful Commonwealth Games.

“And we will go on to ensure that the economic, social and wellness legacy doesn’t reside solely in bricks and mortar, but it translates into actions and activity that will power Glasgow forward through the 21st Century.”