The organisation has kicked off a series of free international trade workshops in a bid to support businesses that aspire to sell to overseas markets via the web but lack the knowledge and expertise to do so.
Open to any business in the region, the one-day interactive workshops focus on selling online internationally, promising to furnish business-owners who aspire to sell abroad with the tools required to create and manage a strong online presence. It will also help participants identify the right direction to grow international sales and to boost business on a global platform.
The workshops will cover all considerations for selling online internationally - from identifying markets, pricing strategies, legal requirements and overcoming language barriers. They are the latest move by HIE to develop greater global ambition in the region and to embed an international mindset across business owners in the Highlands and Islands.
The online experts and HIE trainers responsible for delivering the training include digital marketing consultant and CEO of Orthic Consulting, Stephen Whitelaw; and International trade consultants David Gass and Ewan Ramsay.
The call for businesses to sign up comes just days after figures released by HM Revenue and Customs show Scotland's exports grew by nearly a fifth in 2017, the fastest rate of any UK nation. This makes Scotland the only part of Britain with a surplus in traded goods.
Supporting increased internationalisation across the business base is a priority for HIE, with further support available from HIE’s export advisory service to help businesses develop and progress their export plans more rapidly.
Social media evangelist Stephen Whitelaw will play a key role in delivery of the workshops. The results-driven achiever boasts a multi-disciplinary background with a proven record in helping companies with the development and technology challenges they face. A regular keynote speaker to Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Microsoft, GroupOn and Oracle, Whitelaw has started and sold a number of technology companies over the decades and worked with many young startups.
Stephen commented: “Things happen so quickly in the world of digital technology and business who fail to keep abreast with the latest online sales and global marketing techniques simply won’t survive.
“Lack of information, lack of confidence and the fear of bureaucracy can discourage any business owner from overseas expansion. These workshops are designed specifically around breaking down those barriers through education and advice to allow any aspiring business to develop its online global presence and reap the rewards of doing so.”
Martin Johnson, HIE’s regional head of international trade, commented: “Research shows that businesses that trade internationally grow faster, show higher levels of productivity and are more innovative than their respective industry base.
“We would encourage any business hoping to maintain a competitive edge in today’s environment to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities abroad and selling online is fundamental to achieving this.
“At Highlands and Islands Enterprise, we can provide the support, information, advice and funding to grow your business through overseas trade. It’s an exciting time to be a business in Scotland.”
These workshops are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund in partnership with Scottish Development International and HIE.
Details of all the workshops and how businesses can sign up can be found here.