Global influencer is new chair of Economic Development Association Scotland

Neil McInroy, new chair of the Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS)

SCOTLAND’S leading organisation for economic development professionals has appointed an international expert in economic development and community wealth building as its new chair.

Neil McInroy begins his new role at the Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS) today (Monday July 3), succeeding Liz McEntee in the post.

EDAS is the country’s foremost membership organisation for organisations and people with an interest in economic development, widely recognised by policymakers and politicians as the sector’s go-to organisation.

Neil is an experienced economic and social policy activist, practitioner, trainer and organisational leader.

As well as having recently completed a three-year secondment to the Scottish Government as a community wealth advisor, he is the global lead for community wealth building at influential USA-based think-tank The Democracy Collaborative.

Previous roles in his 25-year career include chief executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) – the UK’s national organisation for progressive local economies.

Neil, who lives in Oban but with an office base in Washington DC, said: “I’m delighted and looking forward to taking the Chair of EDAS. Economic development and EDAS has never been more important, it lies at the cutting edge of the climate crisis challenge, helping to deliver a wellbeing economy and ensuring all Scots have a genuine and growing stake in the wealth we all produce”. 

“Over the past 25 years, I’ve striven to develop economies that truly work for people, place and planet. In these times, we must amplify progressive economic policies, with EDAS leading the charge for critical innovation in the practice and delivery of economic development’  

“Working with enterprise, business, and communities across Scotland every day, EDAS members are in a unique and special position with a vital role to play in forging the required step change”

EDAS seeks to ensure that economic development is at the forefront of national policy debate, giving professionals in the sector the opportunity to inform and inspire through training and networking events.

As well as working with a range of regional, national and international governments, Neil has worked on economic development  and community wealth building activities throughout the UK and the USA, as well as many countries across Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand

He is also an honorary citizen of the city of Jeonju, South Korea, following his work on social enterprise and community ownership there as well as being recognised as an influential author on economic development.

Charlie Woods, a long-serving EDAS board member who chaired the organisation on an interim basis during the recruitment process, said: “It’s fantastic to have a professional of Neil’s calibre taking the helm.

“He is incredibly well recognised across the sector. His passion for building a fairer, greener and stronger Scotland is abundantly clear – and will, I’m sure, strike a chord with our members and wider stakeholders. Colleagues are really looking forward to working with him more closely.”

Liz McEntee stepped down as chair earlier this year following the end of her three-year term in office. She has been thanked by members for all of her work in the role.

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