The problems they faced
Breaking into new overseas markets was always in Solid Form Solution's plans. But significant costs and unfamiliar territories were challenging - even for a world-leader in solid state services.
To build relationships and diversify client base, the firm had to make their presence felt at foreign trade exhibitions and conferences.
Approaching Scottish Development International (SDI) was therefore a great first step to take, given its knowledge and experience in helping Scottish businesses discover new opportunities for growth. This led Marion Murray, the company's SDI representative, to suggest a surprising new market. One that turned out to be a perfect fit.
The answer we gave them
With support from SDI, Solid Form Solutions initially visited exhibitions across Europe and the US. “They provided us with market insights and told us about trade missions they were planning," says Julie Scott, a Director of the company. "We also got help with travel costs. It can cost upwards of £20,000 to take a stand at the big overseas exhibitions, so SDI support was really important."
But when the firm began looking to the exciting Asian market, they were surprised by SDI's insight. Korea had never been on their radar. Marion Murray's experience however, meant she spotted the new market potential immediately.
The company travelled, with SDI, to BIO Korea – a global biotechnology conference. “SDI has been promoting Bio Korea and exhibiting there for the last six years - encouraging our companies to incorporate Korea into their overall Asian plans," explains Marion.
The trip was worth it. “The amount of opportunities in Korea has been a real surprise,” Julie says. "SDI’s Korean Manager was fantastic and set up lots of meetings with potential customers.”
Korea was only the beginning of the story. Later in 2011 SDI support helped bring the company to the AusBiotech exhibition - and over thirty meetings.
Has Solid Form Solutions diversified into new markets?
Grabbing opportunities and working with SDI has paid off. "We certainly wouldn’t have considered the Korean market without SDI's help,” says Julie. "We’re very close to signing a new contract in Korea, with a company that SDI’s Korean team introduced us to.”
The firm can also account for £900k of business from one event alone, and they're now working with one of SDI's Australian leads. More new territories are in their sights: Japan most recently, with Singapore next.
“Use SDI's support,” says Julie, "they have a wealth of knowledge.”
is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.
Scottish Development International (SDI) works to attract inward investment and knowledge to Scotland to help the economy grow. It also helps Scottish based companies to trade overseas and promotes Scotland as a good place to live, work and do business. It is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and its work is guided by the Scottish Government’s strategy for economic development in Scotland.