Willie Cameron from MIS-CES
MIS-CES export everything from flapjacks and fudge to charcuterie and craft beer, to countries including Singapore and the USA. We caught up with them to find out more about the food & drink collaboration.
What does your company do?
Made in Scotland – Collaborative Export Solution (MIS-CES) is an innovative collaboration of high end food and drink producers, representing iconic parts of Scotland, all with a great story and narrative that strikes a chord with an international audience inspired by the magic and mystique of Scotland.
The vision of MIS-CES is ground breaking, not only in Scotland, but internationally. It will drive international opportunities for Scottish based SME food and drink companies, therefore making a significant contribution to the Scotland - Land of Food and Drink campaign and Scottish Government aspirations to double exports to £17.1bn by 2017.
When was your company launched, who by and why?
Launched in September 2015, MIS-CES is made up of a cornucopia of great producers from salmon and cheese to cakes and charcuterie to gin and whisky. Currently there are 10 core companies (representing 15 businesses) involved in the collaboration:
How long has the company been exporting?
The collaboration have been exporting now for just over 12 months and are seeing a positive like for like sales growth.
What do you currently export, and where to?
Products we currently export: fudge, tablet, macaroon, flapjacks, game, charcuterie, lactose free cheese, craft beer, cakes, traybakes, gluten free cakes, whisky, fresh salmon, gin, rapeseed oil, dressings, simply add chilli, ice cream, chutney, cheese, mustard & oatcakes.
What motivated you to start selling overseas, and how long did it take?
All trade carried out by MIS-CES is exporting. The aim of the collaboration is to support small Scottish businesses to gain access to overseas markets and improve and increase international trade. Small businesses often lack scale and capacity to achieve growth through exporting however this type of collaboration makes it possible.
What is the easiest part of exporting?
All members realise that this new approach takes time; year one to find your feet, year two to explore and understand markets and build relationships and in year three you can reap the benefits.
Having a team that understands this has played a vital role in succeeding – MIS-CES has taken its time to understand where it wants to be and what it needs to be doing to get there.
And the most challenging part?
A common challenge faced by collaboratives is ensuring the members realise that the collaboration is their business too. With MIS-CES this is the greatest opportunity for members to project their business into the global market place at very little cost due to shared resources. Each MIS-CES member is aware of the role they play and what is required of them. Open communication has been key to this success.
Have language barriers, currency changes, etiquette and culture ever caused you any difficulties? How did you overcome them?
We have not faced any problems with any of the potential barriers listed.
Did you get any support when you wanted to trade abroad? Who from, and was it helpful?
We had support from Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International & Highlands and Islands Enterprise and this has been extremely helpful.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to explore overseas markets?
To research and to establish one brand ambassador or more in each country.
Where next? What markets are you looking into and where do you see the company in 5 years time?
MIS-CES have been shortlisted for Scottish export team of the year at the HSBC Scottish Export Awards 2017 in association with Scottish Enterprise. Book your tickets now and join us to celebrate international trade.