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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 07:35 GMT
Minorities 'provide new thinking'
Immigration centre
The Fresh Talent initiative aims to attract foreign workers
Ethnic minorities in Scotland have been praised for offering "new ideas and new ways of thinking" to boost the country's economy.

Parliamentary Business Minister Margaret Curran said cultural and social barriers must be broken down to assist their progress.

Addressing the Minority Ethnic Business Conference in Glasgow, the minister pledged to support business growth.

Ms Curran also praised the Scottish Executive's Fresh Talent initiative.

It encourages foreign workers to Scotland and has been identified as a way to tackle depopulation.

'Dynamism and creativity'

Ms Curran said the Fresh Talent drive encourages bright, talented, hard-working people who can make a positive contribution to Scotland's economy.

The minister revealed that people from minority communities are twice as likely to be self-employed as Scotland's white population.

She said: "It's well recognised that our future economic success will largely depend on our ability to sustain greater entrepreneurial dynamism and creativity.

Margaret Curran
Margaret Curran: "Focused on improving competitiveness"

"We are focused on improving Scotland's competitiveness through high value, high skills activity and have recently refreshed our enterprise strategy to reflect this.

"We want to benefit from diversity, new ideas, new blood and new ways of thinking."

Ms Curran urged people from every community in Scotland to use Business Gateway for advice and financial support.

She added: "Business Gateway is a clear demonstration of the Scottish Executive's willingness to listen to the business community and respond to business needs."

On Sunday, First Minister Jack McConnell said depopulation was a threat to Scotland's future prosperity and he believed the Fresh Talent initiative was the best way to tackle the problem.

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