Growing our own export success story

Growing our own export success story

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, sets the scene for Scotland’s exporting future

As the world becomes more connected and trade more open, lucrative opportunities are emerging for Scottish businesses. From the traditional markets of Europe and the United States of America, to the high-growth markets of India, China and Brazil, there’s increasing demand for Scotland’s products.

The most recent evidence suggests that Scotland’s economic recovery is gaining momentum and international trade is firmly playing a role in this. Scottish manufactured export sales volumes increased by 3.5% in quarter two of this year, while the recent Global Connections Survey highlighted that Scottish exports grew by 7% in 2011 and are now worth almost £24 billion.

High profile exporters such as Brewdog, Rockstar North and Sgurr Energy demonstrate the very real opportunities that exist for Scottish companies. Indeed, in August, Ernst & Young reported that exports of Scottish goods will outpace the rest of the UK over the next five years, set to jump from £18.2 billion in 2012 to £20.1 billion by 2017.

With strengths in sectors from chemicals to textiles, financial services to electronics, Scotland’s exports are wide and varied.

Our food and drink sector continues to perform particularly well – HMRC Regional Trade Statistics showed that last year, Scottish food and drink exports reached £5.31 billion – the second highest on record.

Meanwhile, companies operating in the oil and gas sector continue to enter new markets – with exports rising by 8.4% to £8.2 billion in 2011/12.

While we are undoubtedly on track to achieve the Scottish Government’s target of a 50% increase in international exports by 2017, there’s no room for complacency. We continue to work hard with our partners to help more companies recognise the opportunities that exist for their business internationally.

Our 27 global offices play a key role in this; staffed with local experts ready to help Scottish companies navigate new markets and help them establish the right contacts to successfully grow their business and international trade.

Our newly launched Knowledge for Growth campaign will also play a vital role in helping to equip more businesses in Scotland to take control of their future growth strategies.
You can read more about this and our overall support offering throughout this BQ magazine.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Scotland competes in a truly global economy, so raising international aspirations and adopting an international mindset is an absolute necessity.  Scottish companies won't be able to create a competitive future for their businesses without actively pursuing opportunities in key markets throughout the world.

Thinking and acting globally will drive Scotland’s economic growth and help to cement our place as one of the most ambitious, innovative and successful countries in the world.