WE all know the difficulties that are being faced by a range of sectors with the energy and cost of living crisis following close after the unprecedented difficulties of the pandemic.

Today, as Scotland faces financial, societal, and environmental challenges, the need has never been greater, across culture and business, for agile thinking, innovation and cross-sector collaboration.

Our mission at Arts & Business Scotland to be the connector between the two sectors is an essential one. All too often, arts and business are thought of as two separate spheres, a missed opportunity for both.

As challenges continue, we must establish and consolidate creative partnerships between the business and culture sectors. These will bring major cultural and economic benefits both here and internationally. The success of our nation's cultural profile relies on this, and the creative/ cultural sector has an essential role to play.

I believe that at a UK-wide level, we are missing an opportunity to harness creative thinking and use it to drive real economic transformation.

A recent survey of business and public sector professionals focused on what role cultural engagement could play in addressing issues such as trading and staffing challenges. More than 100 respondents agreed engaging with arts and historic environment organisations had a major impact in providing innovative solutions.

We have a window of opportunity with the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, to get involved and be key partners when it comes to strategic public sector innovation, harnessing people with the skills to bring in a different, creative approach into the heart of economic development and growth.

Acrylics manufacturer Midton Acrylics Ltd, is a shining example of how this can work – through their Glasgow School of Art partnership, students have been using newly developed recycled acrylic materials to create original sculptures, benefiting both the students' development and the business's sustainability and growth.

We can help the business sector harness the power of creative thinking, accelerate problem solving and product development and think laterally to take advantage of the opportunities challenging times bring. The creative industries have demonstrated this throughout the pandemic, pivoting, surviving and thriving often with very limited investment but with creative and agile thinking.

How can we turn words into action? Later this year, Arts & Business Scotland will create opportunities for the culture and business sectors to connect and thrive through the Culture & Business Marketplace launch – a new platform that aims to address exactly this.

Our key objective is to ensure that the value and return on businesses establishing creative partnerships is realised. We believe the Marketplace will be the transformational tool to deliver this, whilst increasing the commercial sector's confidence in the culture sector as a partner. It will also help the vital creative industries to build new, sustainable income streams.

We aim to be the catalyst in bringing the culture and business sectors in Scotland together to unlock the huge economic potential and build a stronger future on our unique commercial and cultural heritage.

Jane Morrison-Ross is chair of Arts & Business Scotland