TWO of Scotland’s most influential industries are set to take centre stage at a new event designed to address a range of potentially hostile and business-damaging scenarios.

The inaugural Scotland’s Retail and Tourism Conference 2018 – Managing the Risk, at the RBS Business School, Gogarburn, Edinburgh, next month, will bring together small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the sectors.

It is being hosted by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC).

The centre’s business resilience officer, Lorraine Jarvie, said: “These two industries are exposed to the same harmful risks, from fraud

right through to the most sophisticated of cyber-attacks.

“Not only that, but they are both hugely important to Scotland’s current and future economy and often intrinsically linked, so it has made a lot of sense to hold this event.

“Our overarching aim for the conference is to arm smaller businesses with training and insight required to reasonably manage risk – and if damaging scenarios can’t be prevented – to know when to call in expert help.

“We hope that this can become an annual diary date, helping the community come together and share knowledge and individual experience.”

Presentations from leaders in Scottish business, and smaller breakout sessions, will give attendees practical advice and expertise to deal with potential dangers in the sectors, such as fraud, cyber-security and human trafficking.

Jim McFedries, head of profit protection and security for Scotmid Cooperative, a key partner of the event, said: “The retail sector contributes to the lifeblood of Scotland’s cities, towns and villages, providing employment and enabling our daily lives.

“It is by its nature confronted by both the oldest scams in the book, but also very modern concerns of cybercrime and sophisticated supply chain attacks.

“This conference, bringing together pre-eminent experts in business risk, public-sector and crime fighting bodies and small business, is brilliant – and we’re hoping our sponsorship will be able to play an integral part in its success, allowing it to become a key annual event.”

The conference will feature an interactive demonstration by ethical hackers from the SBRC’s Curious Frank team, who will give a stark example of how unscrupulous hackers could damage a business.

Paula Ritchie, regional head of business development Scotland with sponsor RBS, said: “These two sectors are intrinsic to Scotland’s future prosperity and it is vital that we support them through such a challenging time.

“Both are exposed to such a wide range of potential frauds and dangers – and for so many SMEs especially, the dangers have the potential to be business critical.”

She added: “As a bank, we are committed to helping keep our customers safe and secure and we understand why events such as this are so important.”