IN uncertain times, it can be tempting to batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to blow over. The best approach, however, is to be as prepared as possible for unpredictability and gather the best possible advice on how to get through it.

No matter the challenges, Scottish business, with its ingenuity and innovation, has always ventured out into the world with confidence, rather than turning inward.

The Herald: MOTIVATE AND INSPIRE: The red "Get Set" stream is designed for new and early stage exporters, while the green "Go global" stream is tailored for exporters with more experience.

To that end ScotExport 2018 will provide the right information and provide access to people and organisations that will allow your company to look beyond our borders and trade internationally. This is the fourth annual ScotExport organised by Scottish Enterprise and this year it takes place on Tuesday, November 6, at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow.

Since the inaugural event in 2015, the attendance figures have increased year on year, making it Scotland’s flagship export event. “This is an event that can inspire, inform, and support companies,” says Paul Lewis, Managing Director of Scottish Development International. “The benefits of exporting are clear, not only for individual firms but the economy as a whole.

"This is where companies can find out more about how to take that next step to exporting or expand on already healthy international trade. “ScotExport also provides access to the wide range of support that Scottish Enterprise, SDI, and our partners in the public and private sectors can provide to exporters.”

Whatever stage companies are at, from initial planning to further expansion, exporters can access seminars and help, including multiagency advice and support from specialised EU field staff in the run-up to Brexit. This year there are two streams.

The red “Get Set” stream is designed for new and early stage exporters, while the green “Go Global” stream is tailored to exporters with more experience. Between seminars, the Delegate Hub will be the place to visit to find more information on something that might have caught your attention during the sessions.

Scottish Development International’s market experts from key geographical areas will be available to talk through potential trading partners, distributors, agents in specific fields and on-the-ground knowledge. If the extent of the reach is in any doubt, prepare to talk with advisers from China, London, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Ghana, Copenhagen, Paris, Rio, Houston, San Diego, Singapore, India, and Japan. The Trade Envoy for Poland will also be in attendance.

Also, speakers from across a range of businesses will share first-hand experiences and there will be advice on how to improve research and to make the most out of digital routes to market. Of course the challenges posed by our changing trading relationships will be addressed as we “Prepare for Brexit”, with specialist advice for companies at every stage of the exporting journey.

“Aside from specific seminars discussing Brexit and what it means for businesses already trading or looking to trade internationally, there will be a significant amount of information available to businesses to guide them through a period which could cause some uncertainty,” adds Paul Lewis. The value of talking with contemporaries from across the country cannot be underestimated either.

This is a place to exchange ideas and experiences. A healthy Scottish export market is good for everyone and opens doors for those in the first stages of expansion. “ScotExport 2018 is the place where solid information is at hand and the right people are available to talk to. We are working together to help Scotland’s economy thrive, but that begins with every individual company, no matter how small or what stage they are at, reaching out to wider markets,” adds Paul Lewis.

“We have confidence that Scotland’s businesses are competitive globally. Despite the global and political challenges that we face, the ingenuity and on-the-ground work continues. Our commitment at flagship events such as ScotExport 2018 is to work with them, identify the challenges, help to mitigate those as far as possible, and remain confident. “Making connections to international business can start here in Glasgow on November 6.”


Learn from experience of some of Scotland’s leading exporters

FIRST-HAND experiences of export strategy and success are an important part of ScotExport 2018. Among the speakers will be:
Dougal Gunn Sharp – Founder and Master Brewer at Innis & Gunn Since its launch in 2003, Innis & Gunn has moved from innovative craft ales to a wide range of beers including the number one craft lager in Scotland. The Edinburgh-based brewer now exports to 40 countries and, in 2017, sold more than 27 million bottles of beer globally.

The Herald:

Dougal Gunn Sharp is the founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn, which was awarded Gold in the prestigious Monde Awards and International Brewing Awards in 2017. He is also at the helm of the successful extension of the brand  – Innis & Beer Kitchens across Scotland, pairing beers with  quality food.

The Herald:

Laura Birrell, Founder and Managing Director of Sticky Heelz We’re told that success can be achieved by finding that elusive gap in the market. For Laura Birrell, success came with solving the problem of a gap – between her heel and a shoe.

Frustrated at a lack of a product to stop her shoes slipping off her feet, Laura came up with her own patent pending solution to improve the fit and comfort of shoes. The product, Sticky Heelz, hit the UK market in December 2015 and is now launching in the USA. There are also negotiations under way for distribution in Canada and Europe.

The Herald:

Robin MacGeachy, Chairman, Peak Scientific Robin’s is a story of innovation and persistence.

He started Peak Scientific in 1992 and although it went into administration in 1997 he remained as MD until he could buy the business back in 2004. A successful global exporter, Peak Scientific develops award-winning laboratory gas generator products. From a staff of 40 and a £5m turnover in 2005, it now employs 480 people globally, with a turnover of £60m. Over the years the company has enjoyed impressive annual growth of more than 20%, with sales generated in more than 100 countries including the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and South Africa. 

The Herald:

Mary Kernohan, Head of Business Development, SnapDragon Monitoring Ltd Showing that services as well as manufactured goods can be exported globally, Mary Kernohan is head of business development for SnapDragon, a brand monitoring solution for SMEs. Mary came to SnapDragon from her role as Head of International for Totseat Ltd, where she was responsible for 40 territories in securing orders and for supply and logistics, as well as for the company’s brand protection strategy.

At ScotExport 2018 Mary will share how SnapDragon as a service rather than  a tangible product is managing to succeed internationally.
Jamie McGowan, Co-founder, Essence of Harris. 

The Herald:

Based in the Outer Hebrides, Jamie McGowan has created jobs for young people, as well as a successful export business.

He is co-founder of Essence of Harris, a candle and home fragrance company. In three years, the company has grown to employ 14 people, working across the factory on Harris and Inverness, as well as two retail outlets (a third is confirmed for another international airport for 2019). Now, with two Essence of Harris sales reps selling into the US, the team has focused efforts on international export.

This is a small selection of the experts who will be at ScotExport 2018. Check the programme at for a full line-up and more details