Working together on exports: Why it makes sense

Working together on exports: Why it makes sense

Working together on exports makes perfect sense for the UK and Scottish governments, as Scotland office minister Andrew Dunlop points out ahead of the HSBC Scottish Export Awards 2016 in Glasgow...

The Scottish Government published its trade and investment strategy last week, underlining the importance of the goals it shares with the UK Government to increase exports from Scotland and attract more foreign investment.

These are the goals that Scottish Enterprise is working with UK Trade & Investment to achieve. Thousands of Scottish firms were helped to win sales abroad last year, while over 5,000 new jobs in Scotland were created by foreign direct investment.

As the strategy states, we need to make the most of our global collective footprint. The Scottish Government is represented in 19 countries overseas and the UK Government has representation in over 200 locations. What this mean for Scottish companies is “the best of both worlds” - help close to home and support overseas from the UK’s huge international network. 

Working together on exports makes sense. It’s why UKTI and UK Export Finance have partnered with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International on the Exporting is GREAT campaign. Hundreds of Scottish firms benefited from hearing first-hand from experienced exporters and received advice about how to get started this month as the Export Hub visited Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh.

We’re now working on the next stages of this campaign: Exporting is GREAT week, which is taking place across the UK from 18 April; the International Festival of Business in June; and then another Exporting is GREAT tour in the summer, this time taking in the Highlands and Islands. 

We want Scottish businesses to know that the demand is out there, and you could be too. If you have a product or service that works well here, there’s a fair chance that someone outside the UK will want to buy it. After all, some 99% of the world’s population live outside our shores. And it’s not hard to find customers overseas - you can do it from your back bedroom, by searching for live opportunities on the Exporting is GREAT website.

There are currently over 2,000 listed – from refurbishing an opera house in the Czech Republic to working in the oil and gas sector off the coast of East Africa. For those who sign up to join the business club at the International Festival for Business in Liverpool, international customers will come to you.

Exports matter because they help to generate jobs and growth. That’s why I welcome the HSBC Scottish Export Awards 2016 that are being supported by Scottish Enterprise. Among those shortlisted are some of the best and brightest companies in Scotland: ranging from technology firms and advanced manufacturers to “mumpreneurs”.

I congratulate BQLive on this initiative. In sport, we always celebrate our success on the global stage, and we will do so again this summer when Team GB heads off for the Olympics.

I think these firms are champions in their own right, beating the international competition to win sales in the global marketplace. In 2016, I’d like to see many more firms follow suit, drawing on the support that the UK and Scottish Governments, working together, can provide.