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Support to food and drink businesses to improve exporting skills

07 June 2012

Understanding the importance of preparation, and planning before embarking on international growth are just some of the subjects covered in a free-to-attend event for food and drink businesses on Thursday 21 June.

The event takes place at Cowan House and is aimed at businesses in the Highlands and Islands interested in expanding their global markets.

The Export Strategy Forum is hosted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and is designed to highlight the importance of raising awareness of support available to companies, giving them the best chance of achieving their international ambitions.

The event is part of Smart Exporter which is an international trade skills programme designed to increase exporting skills and knowledge amongst Scottish businesses.

As part of the programme for the day, Charlie Devin of Lossie Seafoods, will share his business experience of working in an international market.

Charlie commented: "As a business grows it may naturally widen its market, but lack of know-how in finding international opportunities or fear of the unknown can deter some companies from taking that step overseas. That's where organisations like HIE and SDI can help, as can sharing experiences with other businesses already exporting.

"Lossie Seafoods Ltd exports in the region of 80 percent of its production globally including to Switzerland, Italy, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Greece, and further afield to The United States, Mexico, Hong Kong, U.A.E, and Jordan. There are people all over the world who are interested in high quality Scottish goods and services and it's worth exploring how your business can benefit."

Gary Reid from Reids of Caithness, bakers and confectioners based in Thurso will also give a presentation on the difference targeting international markets has made to his business. Gary said: "Over the past year we have signed a number of contracts to export goods internationally to the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Germany, Hungary and Ireland. We have also just completed an order for a container full of biscuit tins which is heading to China."

The company has also been working with Jamie Oliver over the past year to supply biscuits to the television chef's JME range which is one of Reid's finest achievements to date.

Laura Robertson, Development Manager in HIE's international team said: "The event is for any size of food and drink business which is considering whether it could do business abroad. 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."

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: "Exports of Scottish food have grown 62 percent since 2007, crossing the £1billion a year mark. The reputation of our produce around the world is growing and we now have a great base on which to build further international activity. That means we have to equip companies with the skills required to expand into new markets and the Smart Exporter programme offers invaluable support to Scottish businesses to improve their exporting skills and knowledge."

Smart Exporter brings together Scottish Development International, HIE and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, along with funding from the European Social Fund, to deliver this unique international trade skills programme designed to increase exporting skills and knowledge amongst Scottish businesses.

Anyone interested in attending the event or for further information please contact Laura Robertson on 01463 244528.

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