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.
Highlands and Islands businesses will have the opportunity to develop their brand to help them stand out against the competition at a series of brand development workshops. Organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), as part of its Entrepreneurial Academy, the brand development workshops will be delivered by experts in the field and will be free to attend.
Eann Sinclair is the new area manager for HIE in Caithness and Sutherland. Eann is from Thurso and graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in Scottish and English Literature before gaining an MSc in Tourism.
A dynamic new programme for young entrepreneurs has been launched by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to discover and support the business leaders of the future. IMPACT30 has been designed to uncover a new generation of ambitious talent, offering bespoke support from industry experts to help drive the growth of their businesses.
Scotland's data innovation centre, The Data Lab, has secured up to £13.5 million in new Scottish Government funding. The announcement on Thursday 20th September 2018 follows its success during its first phase of activity, in which it established Scotland as an international data science hub.
IE has announced performance figures for its work in 2017/18. The figures are included in the agency's annual accounts laid before the Scottish Parliament.
Businesses and social enterprises across the Highlands and Islands which want to head-off cyber attacks in their online work are being offered jargon-free, expert advice. The Cyber Strong Business programme, introduced by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) last year, is back with a second series of workshops, one-to-one consultations, and a Cyber Cafe in venues across the region.
Week commencing 27 August 2018 UKVL Sutherland: Today (Friday) marks Roy Kirk's last day as Area Manager for HIE in Caithness and Sutherland, as he will move next week to become full-time director for the Sutherland Spaceport project. Following Roy's move I have been offered (and have accepted) the role of acting Area Manager for Caithness and Sutherland, which in the short term I will take forward in addition to my CNSRP work.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has made leadership changes in Caithness and Sutherland, following the recent announcement of plans to create a spaceport near Tongue. Roy Kirk has moved from his role as area manager to become project director for the new spaceport, where he will lead HIE's plans to develop the new satellite launch facility.
Weeks commencing 30th July and 6th August 2018. Sutherland Spaceport: Greg Clark MP, the UK Government's Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was in the north this week to visit the site of the proposed Spaceport in North Sutherland.
A study into the importance of local banking services in rural areas has recommended a ‘whole system response' to meeting the banking needs of communities and businesses. Share The study was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) amid a growing trend of rural bank branch closures.
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