Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is supporting local businesses to overcome fears about exporting by providing free training for those considering new markets abroad.
The two day introduction to exporting programme is designed for any company which is either attracting interest from abroad, or would like to find new markets. It is in Inverness on Wednesday and Thursday next week (18 and 19 January).
Adam Beeley, who is HIE's Smart Exporter project manager, said: "The training is for any size or type of business which is considering whether it could do business abroad - it could be IT, food and drink, manufacturing or many others. Through HIE and Scotland Development International we can help you access a wide range of invaluable knowledge, facts and figures about markets around the world."
One business which has put a number of its staff through the beginner and advanced programmes is Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore. In addition to their successful UK markets they now have dealings in Denmark and Australia and have developed their own exporting strategy.
Samantha Faircliff is the the brewery's Managing Director, she said: "In the early stages we were very reactive. We were nervous when we were approached by international clients as there are a lot of unknowns. How would we handle contracts, duty, distribution? HIE and SDI understand the importance and opportunities of exporting. They are keen to give you the advice you need on what to do and how to build the right relationships."
"We really appreciated HIE putting on these free courses, and it was time well spent for a variety of people at the brewery, including specific modules for sales staff, marketing and operations. It provided very useful advice on how to check out prospective markets, understand international law and we even came away with templates for international contracts."
"It is important to continue to grow as a business. With the opportunities our new bottling plant provides us, and clear strategies in place, we are much better prepared both at home and abroad. The overarching benefit of the training is that we are better prepared. Practical knowledge really helps dissolve your fears."
HIE is also running a range of programmes for new and more experienced exporters. Find our more on our Preparing to Export programmes pages.
The Smart Exporter programme is part funded by the European Social Fund.