26 November 2018

  |  CBI Scotland

Press release

Reclaiming Scotland's place as a trading nation - CBI Scotland welcomes new scheme to support exporters

CBI Scotland today hosted an event in partnership with the Scottish Government to help Scotland reclaim it's place as a first class exporter. 

Reclaiming Scotland's place as a trading nation - CBI Scotland welcomes new scheme to support exporters

CBI Scotland has today welcomed the next phase of a Scottish Government initiative to boost Scotland’s exporting base through enhanced business support.

At an event in Edinburgh, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, alongside Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Ivan McKee, outlined the Scottish Government’s plans for a more outward looking Scotland and provided further details of a peer-to-peer mentoring to support the next wave of Scottish exporters.

With just 70 companies currently responsible for around half of Scotland’s of exports, more has to be done to ensure that Scottish companies embrace global markets and experience the productivity benefits of exporting.

The event, sponsored by Bank of Scotland, Dentons and KPMG, brought together more than a hundred firms to discuss exporting best practice, access to finance and professional service support for budding exporters.

Speaking at the event, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Growing our export market is central to Scotland’s trading potential and the Scottish Government are doing everything in our power to see even more Scottish products and services in even more markets.

“We will work closely with industry on how we can achieve our ambition, and I’m very pleased that CBI Scotland are supporting us with our export challenge. With investment of £2 million we will create 100 new business to business peer mentorships each year for companies aiming to start selling to overseas markets, and intensively support 50 businesses already exporting to increase their overseas activity.

“I ask that all businesses that feel they could benefit from peer-to-peer mentorships to work with us and together we can grow our economy and help Scottish businesses thrive internationally.”

CBI Scotland Director Tracy Black said:

“We’re delighted to support this excellent initiative by the Scottish Government. Scotland has such an incredible legacy in global trade and commerce that it’s really disheartening to see so few companies looking to seize opportunities in overseas markets – particularly when we know that it brings huge productivity benefits to both individual firms and Scotland overall.

“Delivering a step-change in Scottish exporting requires real partnership between government and business. That’s why we’re so grateful to the First Minister for her personal leadership in driving through this ambitious programme and for listening carefully to the views of business in helping to shape this agenda.

“Against the backdrop of Brexit, there’s real urgency for Scottish companies to take bold steps and claim their space in a competitive global economy. Hesitancy just won’t do and could see us lose ground to our most important competitors.” 

In 2017 CBI Scotland launched a landmark report, Pursuing Prosperity, which identified boosting exports as one of four key drivers to address Scotland’s woeful productivity levels. It highlighted the virtuous cycle between productivity and exporting, with more productive companies being far more likely to export and exporting being shown to deliver productivity gains to those firms that export.

CBI Scotland further launched Winning worldwide: Scotland, a new policy briefing outlining key measures that will make Scotland a bigger, bolder and better exporter:

  • Start at home: A progressive, pro-enterprise environment is the single most important driver of trade
  • Put people at the heart of the effort to increase exports: Developing our domestic skills base to acquire more international awareness, digital expertise and foreign languages can help foster an outward-looking, exporting culture 
  • Create a long-term partnership between government and business: CBI members are clear that it is partnership between government and business that will deliver success
  • Play to Scotland’s strengths: Building on what we already do well is key, as is utilising both ‘brand Scotland’ and ‘brand UK’, which both have significant appeal across the globe

Event sponsor and keynote speaker, Edward Thurman, Managing Director and Head of Global Transaction Banking, Bank of Scotland, said:

“The future success of the Scottish economy depends on businesses of all sizes and sectors looking to overseas markets for growth and seizing the opportunities they bring, but they don’t have to go it alone.

“At Bank of Scotland, we understand what businesses need to make trading with new markets, or for the first time, as smooth as possible.

“By working with firms as partners, we can develop tailored exporting strategies that help their business to drive growth and increase their global footprint.”