Legislation to create a new agency to address economic issues in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway was passed by Scottish Parliament MSPs last week.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is a momentous day which I’m sure will usher in a new era for the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.
“We have been given the green light to press ahead with ambitious plans to create an enterprise agency that is tailored specifically to capitalise on the tremendous untapped potential in the area, driving inclusive and sustainable growth whilst taking into account the area’s distinct economic circumstances.”
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said: “The South of Scotland Enteprise Agency holds the key to unlocking significant potential right across our region, and I look forward to the renewed economic drive that it will hopefully deliver.
“We have seen how successful Highlands and Islands Enterprise has been, and the new agency will offer easier access to business support, removing the barriers which people experience in obtaining funding.
“The agency should firstly, be an enabler, not a disabler. It must be dynamic and suit the needs of the South of Scotland.”
“We must tackle the inequalities experienced in the Borders which means putting the most difficult issues to the top.
“Take for example the gender pay gap, which I believe deserves the greatest attention. If we are to retain young people, especially young women in the Borders, we need to ensure that the gap closes. I hope the new agency will deliver such changes”.