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International trade investment for Highlands and Islands’ businesses

11 November 2013

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is investing over £400,000 to bring increased exporting know-how to the region’s businesses and help them reach new international markets.

HIE has introduced a new 18 month Smart Exporter international trade programme. It will build on the success of the Scotland wide initiative which has been delivered in the region by HIE over the past three years. During that time Smart Exporter has helped more than 200 local companies.

A review carried out with businesses which have participated in the events, forecasts that the region’s economy could realise more than £1m in annual turnover as a result of increased trade.

It is expected that more than 100 businesses, whether new to exporting or experienced, will benefit from this next round of international trade support. It will be delivered by HIE, in partnership with Scottish Development International (SDI) and with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Smart Exporter provides access to specialist training, advice and support through a range of group and one to one activities. It provides the latest market information to businesses across a range of specific sectors, like food and drink, tourism and energy to name a few and detailed, practical information focused on a particular geography.

Norma MacDonald, Senior Development Manager at HIE, said: “Businesses have told us that Smart Exporter has provided important skills and knowledge which has given them increased confidence to explore or build international markets.

“Moving from working in national to international markets can be significant for a business’ growth. Over the next year and a half we hope to support as many businesses as possible to make a smooth transition to trading in overseas markets.”

The next scheduled Smart Exporter event is looking at the Japanese market. On Wednesday 27 November businesses can meet with Stephen Baker, SDI’s Country Head in Japan and hear more about the export opportunities there. The Highland business perspective will be presented by Gilpin Bradley from Wester Ross Fisheries. The event is being held in HIE’s offices at Cowan House in Inverness.

Visit our Smart Exporter pages for more details. 

Notes to editors: 

  • Smart Exporter is an international trade skills programme offering free or subsidised support to expand exporting knowledge, whether for a company or individual based in Scotland.
  • The programme aims to ensure that ambitious businesses have the right skills and expertise needed to access international markets.
  • Services and support include: Preparing to Export Programme, strategy development, market awareness events, technical training and support.

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