Promoting Scotland’s products on the world stage

A photograph of two attendees at the Scottish Export Awards

Key points:

  • We will work with partners to develop and drive one clear brand Scotland
  • We now have a network of offices in 30 locations in 19 countries to drive trade and investment in Scotland
  • We will revamp GlobalScots and engage Scotland’s wider network of diaspora, alumni and friends globally to promote Scotland
  • We will also publish an Alumni Action Plan later this year

The Scotland Is Now campaign is promoting Scotland as an open and outward-looking country and is already raising Scotland’s profile on the international stage. Building on this we will work with business and other stakeholders to develop one clear national Scotland brand for all to use. We will underpin this with open-source promotional material to support our businesses to go global; and to attract global businesses to come to Scotland.

We have added to our existing international network with new offices in Paris and Ottawa, to promote Scotland as a place to live, work, invest and do business, as well as almost doubling the number of staff working for Scottish Development International (SDI) across Europe to support Scottish businesses. The Scottish Government, SDI and VisitScotland collectively have a permanent presence in key markets around the globe. This presence provides direct market intelligence and connections for Scotland’s businesses We will use this presence to increase ministerial visibility in existing and potential trading partner countries, developing stronger government-to-government and business-to-government networks.

Introductions and informal advice are often key to achieving international business success. So as well as strengthening our network of overseas offices we are extending our reach by tapping more deeply into the Scottish overseas diaspora by refreshing and expanding the GlobalScot programme, including doubling to 500 in Europe by 2020. We will enable and encourage ‘openness’ across the network through a redeveloped digital platform that promotes connectivity directly between members and exporters. We are also developing the network to support and align with our Brand Scotland ambitions, as well as wider international networks, including diaspora and alumni.

Scottish colleges and universities have strong international links. It is estimated there are 1.5 million alumni of Scottish institutions globally. The Muscatelli Report suggested how HEIs might encourage some of their most influential alumni to join a network of people able to help connect Scotland with potential inward investors. A short-life working group has been established to co-create the Alumni Action Plan with the aim of publication later this year.

This year, we also launched Phase 2 of our Food and Drink Export Plan, backed by £4.5 million of funding of which £2.7 million comes directly from Scottish Government. This funding will help the Scottish companies take their products into new and existing markets, supported by expert advice, to build relationships with buyers and offer encouragement to develop new products. In the coming year, we will also maximise opportunities to showcase and promote Scottish food and drink internationally and to the UK market.

Case study: A team approach brings new investment

MIPIM is the world’s biggest real estate exhibition, with more than 26,800 participants from more than 100 countries, bringing together the most influential players from all international property sectors. The event offers unrivalled access to the greatest number of development projects and sources of capital worldwide.

The aim of Scotland’s involvement in MIPIM is to showcase the competitive advantages our country boasts - and to ensure the rest of the world knows that Scotland is open for business.

While there have been previous regional delegations, 2019 saw a collaborative Team Scotland presence at the event for the first time. Scotland’s economic development agencies, biggest local authorities and other public sector bodies joined together with private sector sponsors and partners to promote both the excellent investment opportunities available, and the private sector’s ability to deliver them on the ground.

Attendance at MIPIM and similar events has led directly to £2 billion of investment in Scotland over the past decade, with projects including the St James’ Centre in Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Central Quay redevelopment.

Stuart Parker, Managing Director of Construction Scotland at Morgan Sindall, said: “MIPIM 2020 will provide Team Scotland with an excellent opportunity to showcase its impressive investment portfolio. Scotland has rightly received global recognition as a growing economy, and the delegation’s presence will benefit not only in terms of profile, but as a stimulus for sustained development and urban regeneration.”

A great success? So much so, we are all going together again in 2020, to attract interest in development and investment opportunities not just in property, but also in major placemaking sites and in the first phase of our £3 bn portfolio of Green Investment opportunities.

Key resources:

Scotland is Now

GlobalScot

Scottish Development International

Global Scotland: trade and investment strategy 2016-2021