How we'll increase exports

A Trading Nation aims to increase Scotland’s exports by:

  • focussing resources
  • making changes to strategy
  • making changes to policy
  • checking how exports perform

Focussing resources

Scotland will increase exports by focussing resources where they will have most impact.

For example, evidence shows that successful exporting countries:

  • focus on a limited range of products and services
  • sell to a limited number of countries

This is why A Trading Nation focusses on key sectors and countries.

Top 500 businesses

Scotland will also focus its resources around its top 500 exporting businesses.

Scotland currently has around 11,000 businesses who export. However, the top 500 are responsible for 80% of exports.

Increasing exports for the top 500 businesses could add £13 billion to Scotland’s economy (Gross Domestic Product), while increasing exports in the other 10,500 businesses would only add £2.9 billion.

Increasing exports for these businesses will also benefit the businesses who supply them.

Help for new exporters

All businesses in Scotland will still be able to get some help to grow their business and start exporting. This includes businesses who are new to exporting.

We’re looking at ways we can deliver this help in a different way. For example, improving the help and support available online.

Working together

A Trading Nation will also focus resources by encouraging organisations to work together on the plan’s priorities. This includes:

  • the Scottish Government
  • the enterprise agencies
  • agencies supporting education, tourism and specific industry sectors

By working together, it means businesses can make use of:

Businesses will also be able to access wider networks and trade and investment specialists across the world. A Trading Nation will use help from:

Changes to strategy and policy

A Trading Nation makes changes to strategy and policy.

These changes aim to:

  • raise awareness of exporting and encourage businesses to see it as an ambition
  • build the capacity and capabilities of businesses, so they can take up opportunities
  • make sure the right support is available to help businesses expand and exploit opportunities

To do this, A Trading Nation will:

Improving trade promotion, profile and reach

To do this, A Trading Nation will:

It’ll also look to increase trade promotion activity with more international missions and exhibitions. This will build on:

  • Scottish Development International’s current 68 global events
  • the Chambers of Commerce’s trade missions through their International Trade Promotion programme
  • major international events such as the Rugby World Cup 2019, Dubai Expo 2020 and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in China 2020

Refocussing Scottish Development International’s priorities

To do this, A Trading Nation will help Scottish Development International to:

  • separate into specialist divisions for exporting and attracting investments. This builds on a successful pilot in the food and drink sector
  • focus their resources on key countries and sectors that offer the biggest opportunities
  • help existing exporters sell in new countries or create new products
  • work with high potential, early stage businesses in industries like digital and life sciences
  • develop support to help more small businesses who are internationally focussed grow quickly. This includes business in the creative and technology industries
  • work more closely with the enterprise agencies to help more businesses export
  • increase the number of exporting businesses. To do this, they’ll work with the Chambers of Commerce, Business Gateway, sector leadership bodies
  • increase online training, advice and resources through the new enterprise agencies website
  • improve the skills within businesses through export qualifications and access to sales and marketing courses

It will also improve business networks by:

Checking how Scotland’s exports are performing

A Trading Nation aims to increase Scottish exports by £25 billion by 2029.

To understand how we’re meeting this target, we’ll track the:

  • overall value of exports
  • value of exports to particular countries
  • value of exports from particular sectors
  • value of exports from specific businesses
  • the number of exporters

We’ll also regularly check our actions to make sure we focus on the things that work.