Promoting Scottish business abroad

Engagement with corporate leaders in North America.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has engaged business leaders and promoted Scottish firms abroad, while visiting Canada and the United States this week.

With £6.1 billion of Scottish goods and services exported to North America in 2017, it is one of Scotland’s most important markets. There are also currently 550 US-owned enterprises in Scotland, employing more than 106,000 people, and 40 Canadian-owned firms employing nearly 4,000 people.

In New York, the First Minister visited Morgan Stanley’s Fusion Center to discuss collaborative projects at the firm’s centre of excellence in Scotland. The company employs 1,550 people in Scotland and is a key part of the country’s financial services industry.

The First Minister also addressed a Scotland is Now investor lunch, hosted by IBM, where around 50 leading business people heard about Scotland’s strengths and assets as an investment location and trading partner.

When in Washington D.C. the First Minister met representatives from Verdant Power and the technology firm Leidos. She also met Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, to discuss their further expansion of hotel operations in Scotland, and addressed the Global Women’s Innovation Network, who will be visiting Scotland later this year.

In Canada the First Minister hosted an 85 person event to launch the Scotland is Now campaign encouraging people to work, study, invest, visit and live in Scotland. As well as championing food and drink exports, she set out the potential of Scotland to the Toronto Stock Exchange, met representatives of the Toronto Region Board of Trade and toured MaRS Discovery District to share learning on how to further boost entrepreneurial and start up activity in Scotland.

The First Minister said:

“North America is one of Scotland’s most important trading partners around the world, with the US alone being our most valuable export market with an estimated £5.5 billion of exports in 2017.

“It’s been invaluable to have the opportunity to speak directly with representatives of many of the US and Canada’s leading businesses and sectors, making clear the many benefits Scotland has to offer as a business location.

“It has also been hugely important to meet existing investors and partners to discuss how we can work together through the challenges ahead.

“With Brexit continuing to pose the biggest threat to our economy, it is vital that we do all we can to promote Scotland as a great place to establish yourself and invest in, and show we remain very much open for business.”

Steve Dunlop, CEO Scottish Enterprise, said:

“The USA is Scotland’s top international export destination, and one in five investments originate in the US, making North America a crucial market for Scotland.

“With uncertainty around Brexit there has never been a more important time to strengthen links with vital international markets and visits like this allow us to do just that.”


The First Minister was accompanied on the visit by Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise and Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab.

 See the First Minister’s blog for details of her engagements this week in North America.


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