Why International Trade Is More Important Than Ever
1st December 2017
It has never been more important for businesses in the Highlands and Islands to target global markets, writes Martin Johnson, HIE's head of international trade and investment.
At the same time global markets have never been more accessible to the region, so we are in a good place.
With Brexit high on the media agenda and at the forefront of many minds across all business sectors, Scotland's and the UK’s future place in the world remains uncertain. While we do not know what lies ahead, we can confidently predict significant change for just about every sector of our economy, whether tourism, food and drink, life sciences, energy or creative industries. Therefore, businesses need to do what they do best - promote and sell their products and services.
The Highlands and Islands has a very strong track record of international trade, from the earliest days of selling seafood and agricultural products, to more recent times of medical supplies and globally attractive tourism destinations. There are many examples in every part of the region of businesses that have traded across all quarters of the globe.
Now, with the massive improvements in digital and mobile connectivity, transport and infrastructure, there is huge growth in e-commerce; selling and delivering products and services online.
The transport of people and goods is quicker, easier and more affordable. There is global growth in the middle classes, with money to spend on fine food and drink or holidays, many of whom will see the Highlands and Islands as an attractive prospect. This strengthens, and provides new opportunities to building on, the region’s existing international reputation for quality.
At Highlands and Islands Enterprise our role is to help businesses get the information, advice and support they need to "Brexit-proof" themselves and reach out to the world. Through our programme of events businesses can find out about market opportunities in countries that might be of interest to them and how to go about pursuing these opportunities.
We provide advice and information on all aspects of international trade, and can help towards the costs of expanding global business activities. Our website at www.hie.co.uk hosts a wealth of useful information, self-help guides, and signposting to other sources of support.
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Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new director of business and sector development. Originally from County Durham, David Oxley joined the organisation in 2004 as head of operations in Lochaber before moving to Forres with his wife and son in 2011 to take up the role of area manager in Moray.
The development of Inverness Campus moves another step forward with tenders being invited to build a second life science building. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading on the development of the campus.
Aerospace and defence sector opportunities in the region highlighted at event Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to a free workshop to find out how the region can benefit from opportunities in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. It will be held in at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus on Tuesday 26 September 2017 The event is organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and ADS Scotland which is the Scottish branch of the aerospace, defence, security and space industry trade organisation, ADS.
Over 250 community leaders from across Scotland will meet in Aviemore today and tomorrow (21-22 September) at a national conference to look at the impact and future role of community-led development on Scotland's social and economic fortunes. The event, hosted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and supported by the Scottish Government, brings together community groups, academia and experts to discuss the vital contribution communities make to Scotland and consider how to support their continuing and increasing ambitions.
Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has just announced over £660K of funding for 13 new projects aiming to develop innovative control systems for wave energy converters. This initiative brings together control systems specialists from mature sectors such as aerospace and oil and gas, to work with Scottish technology developers in addressing the challenges of controlling and integrating Wave Energy Converter (WEC) systems and their components.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is offering its clients across the region support to protect themselves from cyber attacks, by launching the Cyber Strong business project. Co-inciding with Digital Leaders Cyber Resilience Week (11-15 September 2017), the agency is launching a programme to help local businesses and social enterprises achieve national Cyber Essentials accreditation.
Food and drink businesses looking to grow through innovation are encouraged to register for a free workshop which takes place in Inverness on 31 August. The event will focus on the new ‘Make Innovation Happen' service which provides a single access point for all innovation support to the Scottish food and drink industry.
Twenty-three Scottish companies are travelling to Norway this week to highlight the country's expertise at the world's largest aquaculture technology exhibition. Aqua Nor 2017 gets under way in Trondheim on Tuesday (15 August 2017), and runs until Friday (18 August 2017).
The successful North Coast 500 tourist route will need strong co-ordinated support from the public sector to ensure its long term sustainability. Experiences of the initiative should also be shared with groups around the country looking to develop similar projects.
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