Getting companies to invest in their growth is vital if we are to get Scotland’s economy moving again. That’s why I was delighted to announce SDI’s annual results this month, which show how we’ve been supporting Scottish companies to take advantage of new international trade opportunities.
In 2011/12 we worked with 190 companies on significant new international projects with a projected growth of £733m in sales over the next three years – this was almost double the £405m that was achieved through the same activity last year.
We also supported more than 1,380 companies through a range of trade and investment activities, such as workshops, trade missions and in-market support, to help them develop their international trade aspirations.
We know this approach works. Take premium ice-cream maker Mackies, for example, which identified a gap in the global marketplace for a Scottish premium crisp brand. We provided a package of support, including market research and focus groups, as well as help to target and attend international trade shows.
This helped the company take the steps it needed to take its product to new markets, and despite operating in a very competitive environment, nine per cent of sales are now made overseas, with year one sales of £700k in markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai. We also helped bring the company together with Scottish packaging company Taypack, which was also looking to expand into new markets.
The approach Mackies has taken is exactly what we need to see more of in Scotland.
We understand that global economic conditions are tough, and we want to encourage companies to invest in new markets and new opportunities to grow globally.
Economic conditions for companies remain a challenge, but it’s in these tough times that we need businesses to dig deep, think through their international plans with our support, and set themselves apart from the competition.
The publication of SDI’s results coincide with the launch of a new campaign by Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise and other partners, that calls on Scottish companies to say “Yes to Growth” and aims to stimulate greater investment by businesses.
We need more businesses to consider the significant benefits of investing in global markets, and help those already operating internationally to adapt to the changing patterns of trade and explore new opportunities that offer significant long-term gains for Scotland.