top of page
Igessund Paper Mill Workington

Providing an opportunity to shape the development of the Borderlands region, our Economic Forum is an important part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.


The remit of the Economic Forum is to provide an opportunity for wider stakeholders - with a particular focus on the economic development agencies and the business community to contribute towards maximising the impact of the Growth Deal in stimulating inclusive economic growth within the area served by the Growth Deal.


The Economic Forum supports the Partnership Board by representing the voice of local businesses, ensuring that decisions are made to benefit local employers and local people for a more sustainable future.

There are 10 members of our Economic Forum, each bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to underpin decision making to drive a positive impact across the Borderlands region.

Our Economic Forum

Borderlands Economic Forum members

Jack Stopforth

Jack Stopforth MBE MA,
Taylor Stopforth (Consulting) Limited
Chair of Borderlands Economic Forum

Emma Porter

Emma Porter,
Board Member Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership
Managing Director - Construction, Story Contracting

Chris Brodie

Chris Brodie,
Lead Head of Skills Planning and Sector Development at Skills Development Scotland

Bill Colquhoun

Bill Colquhoun,
Senior Partner and Founder of Lomond CEO Services

Fiona Stoddart

Fiona Stoddart,
Creator, Solway Connections Guided Tours

Helen Golightly

Helen Golightly,
Chief Executive, North East Local Enterprise Partnership

Prof Russel Griggs

Prof Russel Griggs OBE,
Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE)

Lord Inglewood

Lord Inglewood,
Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership

Paul Casiera

Paul Casiera,
Front Line Leader, Pirelli Ltd Carlisle

John Paterson

John Paterson,
Director, Egger Forestry

What is the Economic Forum? 

The Economic Forum is a central part of how we are delivering the Deal, whilst embedding the voice of businesses, third sector and regional strategic economic partners. It is a fantastic opportunity for individuals from the business community who are passionate about the place they live and work to contribute to the future of the Borderlands.


The Collaboration Agreement formally sets out the Economic Forum role as part of the Governance approach for the Deal. This is primarily to advise the decision-making body, The Partnership Board, on aspects of the Deal. The Chair of the Economic Forum sits on the Borderlands Partnership Board (alongside the five local authority Leaders). 

The role of the Economic Forum is a proactive one, helping us to deliver the deal we have, anchoring our activities in the local and regional business community and looking forward to new opportunities for joint work. Members champion the Deal when engaging with their own networks and support the implementation of the Deal. While the projects and financial arrangements have already been agreed, this group supports Borderlands' partners towards a shared ambition of achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth for the Borderlands.

Who is included? 

The Economic Forum is made up of two business representatives from each of the local authority areas and four regional stakeholder representatives covering the South of Scotland Enterprise agency, Skills Development Scotland, and the Cumbria and North East Local Enterprise Partnerships. The Forum meets on a quarterly basis. 

The role and focus of the Economic Forum 

“To provide an opportunity for wider stakeholders - with a particular focus on economic development agencies and the business community (including social enterprise) to contribute towards maximising the impact of the Growth Deal in stimulating inclusive economic growth within the area served by the Growth Deal.” 

The Economic Forum is not a decision-making group in its own right, but advises the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal Partnership Board on decision making, with meetings being held on a quarterly basis.​

By collaborating with and understanding the needs of employers, we ensure the voice of local businesses is central to our planning and delivery.

The focus of the Forum is to:

  • Support and improve delivery of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal

  • Provide a critical friend role in proposing improvements to delivery to maximise benefits. In practical terms this will include presentations and reports from key projects in delivery to identify opportunities to align activity or improve the outcomes

  • Advise and provide appropriate challenge to the Partnership Board, to properly reflect the wider economic interests of the Borderlands Region in its decision- making, including the development of business cases for proposed Growth Deal projects

  • Champion, co-ordinate and offer advice to the Partnership Board on priorities for skills, business growth and regeneration, and ensure that these are delivered in alignment with local needs and aspirations whilst delivering against the Growth Deal priorities

  • Consider performance of the deal overall and highlighting recommendations to the Board on opportunities for improvements. In practical terms receive, comment on and provide advice on the overall delivery of the programme

  • Where projects are being proposed or requesting significant variations to provide recommendations to the Board as part of the approval process. In practice a minor role

  • Maintain appropriate channels of communication and escalate decisions as necessary with third party organisations. Engaging and guiding wider partnership activities 

  • Proactively identify potential areas for collaboration or additional activity in response to opportunities that arise including those identified by partners from strategic organisations to align funding and draw in wider opportunities for activities. All members will be asked to bring proposals to the Forum

  • Advise the Partnership Board on how best to engage with the business community regarding the Growth Deal

  • Provide advice on economic priorities for the business communities across the Borderlands Region

  • Champion the Deal amongst partners and other organisations to raise awareness and highlight opportunities to improve communications and engagement with a wide variety of stakeholders/bodies across the Borderlands. Practically this will include receiving communications and acting as conduit to local and regional business organisations and report back on key issues raised in other organisations through contacts

  • Utilise business networks to promote and support the successful delivery of Growth Deal projects and programmes

  • Ensure that the Borderlands Deal remains engaged and a key element of delivery across the South of Scotland, North East England and Cumbria. Prepare for wider and future partnership activities 

  • Consider and develop proposals for the Partnership Board in relation to opportunities for future Borderlands Deal activities to support and promote a second deal

Governance and our Partnership Board


Find out more about decision making and the delivery of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, governed by our Partnership Board. 

Borderlands partners

Our partners


Find out more about the partners we work with to deliver sustainable and inclusive economic growth for the Borderlands region.

Whitehaven port at night



Download agendas, meeting minutes, newsletters, strategy documents and reports.

bottom of page