The first Business in the Parliament Conference (BIPC) was held in 2004.
It was instigated by the Scottish Parliament’s then Enterprise & Culture Committee (now Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee) with the aim of bringing the worlds of business and politics closer together.
That ethos of encouraging dialogue and greater understanding between the two communities remains at the heart of the event.
BIPC is an annual event, taking place each autumn (except in the year of a Scottish Parliament election).
It is jointly organised by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, its planning overseen by a Working Group made up of business membership organisations:
- Scottish Council for Development and Industry
- Institute of Directors
- Chambers of Commerce
- Women’s Enterprise Scotland
- FSB Scotland
- CBI Scotland
- Young Enterprise Scotland
The conference is usually held in the multiple award-winning Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood in Edinburgh.
It’s hosted by the Parliament’s Presiding Officer, with a networking dinner on a Thursday evening and a plenary session, including guest keynotes and a speech from the First Minister, on a Friday morning. There are traditionally also a selection of breakout sessions and a cross-party panel of MSPs.
Some of the speakers who have addressed the conference over the years include:
- award-winning young entrepreneurs from schools in Orkney and Aberdeen
- Jayne-Anne Gardia (Virgin Money)
- Edel Harris (Cornerstone)
- Sir Ian Wood (Wood Group)
- Leah Hutcheon (Appointedd).
Themes have covered leadership, growth, entrepreneurship, internationalisation, innovation, and the year of young people.
This year’s event (2020) is the 14th BIPC and, against the backdrop of the pandemic, the first to be held online.