CVDK: As an expat who made his name away. He has came back to give his influence back to the country. He hasn’t taken to social media yet, so I registered those for you. As a thank you for coming, I will gift those to you! Thank you very much for coming up here from London for this. I know that knowing you, there will be all sorts up your sleeve coming next! On behalf of everyone here, thank you Lord Smith
Question: Company Lifecycle. SSE is a Perth headquartered company. 15 years ago it was Scottish Hyrdo. Do you notice a difference in the opperating values between it in Scotland and England, now that the two companies are one.
Lord Smith: If you have differences inside a company, you have a real problem. We are British, Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh energy. We are very much the one company. When we merged, we took the best and they were all in the one company. The Cheif Exec’s had to move to Scotland, to be part of our company that was the one company.
Weir’s is slightly different. We operate out of Glasgow in over 70 countries. But we are one company HQ’d there, supporting our structure around the country. All supporting the local communities around the world. We have the same standards everywhere. Health and safety standards are the same across the world. China, USA, Europe. It is our ethos and standards. Everywhere.
CVDK: What should people be taking away from this
Lord Smith: You, Tom Hunter and others here, are an inspiration. The little incubator projects are great. You are there to give advice and the new generation of entrepreneurs are there to listen and take your incubator space! It gets everyone together, learning and helping.
You have been there, failed and picked yourself back up. Infant mortality hits you when you are wi. We need people to protect this.
CVDK: That is a great take away for this from the Entrepreneurial Exchange. Time for some more questions.
CVDK: You seem to have been pretty a-politcal. Why are you now involved in the House of Lords?
Lord Smith: A lot of people in there are very very expert at what they do. A lot can be learned there and we all have a job to do while we are in there. I believe I have something to give
CVDK: I had seen you in the boardroom as part of the Smith Group. Entrepreneur in education. Do we have a bigger problem in Scotland than anywhere else?
Lord Smith: No. There is lots of places all over the country. We are looking to get 16-19 year olds into employment. In Greece, there is 50% unemployment, with 25% of them being young people.
The attitude of some people today is that you shouldnt be employed. A mistake was made in the 80’s with the lost generation. We are in danger of this happening again. We must do all we can to avoid this. We have to do apprentiship schemes to get people involved. We can use encouragement with these youngsters to train them and get them into the workforce.
CVDK: You are head of the organising committee for 2014. You gave use the shooting
Lord Smith: Well yes! Barrybudden is a great place for it!
CVDK: 2014 is going to be action packed. What will it do for the Scots?
Lord Smith: It will get people fit. It will be good for the business. 80% of the contracts have gone to Scottish companies. Melbourne was almost 100% supplied by Australians. There is competition in Scotland, but we are determined to keep it local.
It will be a festival. Not just a games. Lots going on all over. The council is involved.
There will be a great legacy as well. A velodrome, an Olympic pool and 1000 new homes. It will be great for the infrastructure as well.
CVKD: Can we get tickets? (lots of laughs)
Lord Smith: It is hard. We need 20millions from ticket sales. We want people in Glasgow and Scotland to get them. We need the fat cats to pay the big money. But we will make it available to everyone. The velodrome and pool will be finished this year. Giving it to the community early.
CVDK: Dundonians are not shy of a charity. Our McManus galleries is very similar. We have gone out and got Kengo Kuma to build our V&A. Do you think this cultural regeneration can drive the local community?
Lord Smith: Yes, definatieyl. It makes the population feel good about themselves. It makes companies think “why would I want to go to Dundee” This can give them an answer. Places on the continent have a rich history of culture that people flock to. This has worked well for Manchester, and is working well for Glasgow.
CVDK: Is it a necessity to invest in culture in the 21st centuary?
Lord Smith: Absolutely. It is great. It drives ambition. Get the people involved. Get D C Thompson behind you to stimulate it.
CVDK: Sometimes business people forget their business brain when they go to not for profit. You have not been one of those. How has Glasgow done so well in its regeneration?
Lord Smith: Glasgow was founded from tobaco. Its deep water port was a deterrent to pirates. They then made ships and trains. The people that made their money their became philanthropists. They just put something back. for that reason, Glasgow has always been rich in that area.
There is a charitable status there. A lot of money that the council cannot access. Lots of this goes straight into the leisure and sport. The Commonwealth games has become a natural extension from that.
Kelvingrove is much like the V&A. A lot of publicly raised money. We raised money for Kelvingrove. We knew where to go to get money. Heritage funds, rich local businesses and the public. We raised several hundred thousand pounds from the local people in Glasgow. Each and every one of those is recognized in the building.
Brian Kenny from IBM: I have noticed that many of the industrial assets have been optimized by technology. Entrepreneurs love technology. Do you see the opportunity for technology to revolutionize the utility industry.
Lord Smith: Yes, absolutely. The utility area does not know a lot about our customers. The smart meter penetration is very small, and often they do not work.
In the 70’s it was not believed we could drill for oil several hundred feet down. Now we can drill for 2 miles.
George from Perth: Where do you see nuclear? Is it dead?
Lord Smith: I would be surprised. There has to be a lot of subsidies that goes into this. What nearly killed it last time was you cant turn it off. You can stop gas turbines and hydro. With nuclear, you are always producing. Regardless of supply. This created a lot of losses.
New legislation is trying to put in place a floor price for nuclear. This will allow nuclear providers to be assured they can make money.
A market has to be there for it to happen. Tidal, hydro etc is intermittent. Just now we still need coal to power when the others stop. For nuclear to happen again, there has to be a market for it. The government has to produce a guarantee to buy nuclear at a price for the long term.