Margaret Reynolds, Managing Director and founder of Dogrobes, recently joined a delegation of Scottish companies on a two day market visit to Dublin.
This multi-sector market visit was led by Scottish Development International (SDI), the international arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies, in partnership with West Lothian Chamber of Commerce. Margaret shares the experience of her visit:
Having recently become account managed by HIE, I was made aware of the opportunity to attend a market visit to Dublin. It seemed a perfect fit with our international strategy at Dogrobes and, as Scotland’s sixth largest export market, Ireland is a country we are keen to penetrate. What’s more, my daughter, who has worked for Dogrobes over the years, now stays in Dublin so not only was she familiar with the territory but she was on hand to accompany me to the two-day event.
The visit was open to all companies, but specifically targeted non-exporters or new exporters so we were confident it would be beneficial - and we weren’t disappointed. Not only was this the chance to network and share experiences with those in similar stages of business, but it put us in front of potential buyers and distributors.
The experience gave us exclusive access to market experts who delivered presentations on relevant topics while allowing attendees to ask questions or voice concerns about taking the leap into international trading. Taking us away from the day-to-day business, it provided a safe environment to explore and learn about the market.
So while I arrived thinking one thing about the Irish market, I left thinking something entirely different and my international strategy going forward will undoubtedly reflect this.
I have left furnished with contacts from across a network of organisations including SDI and the Scottish Government.
The most important lesson I took from this? That there is simply no substitute for being immersed - even for a short while - in the country in to which you wish to expand. That, plus the expert guidance and funding, is the invaluable resource that HIE and its partner organisation SDI can provide.
I would advise anyone in the Highlands and Islands wishing to dip their toe into international expansion to contact HIE and find out about the opportunities on offer. With HIE’s support, the world is your oyster.