- 12 Aug 2019
Attendees and apologies
- Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Trade investment and Innovation (Chair)
- Eric Balish
- Russell Dalgleish
- Rachel Jones
- Ferdinand von Prondzynski
- Kate Little
- Paul Sheerin
Also in attendance
- Neil Francis, (SDI)
- Ewen Cameron (SDI)
- Lindsay Branston (SE)
From Scottish Government
- Stephen Pathirana, DD Trade & Investment
- Scott Strain, Head of Trade Promotion
- Lesley Ward, Senior Policy Adviser, Trade Promotion
- Catriona Syme, Trade Promotion
- Gurjit Singh, Trade Support
- Karen Betts
- Linda Steedman
- James Withers
- Afzal Khushi
- Laura Birrell
- Kevin Norris
Items and actions
Item 1 - Welcome & Introductions, apologies, minutes of previous meeting
The Minister welcomed attendees and indicated that following publication of A Trading Nation he would like the Board to be structured around delivering the plan. This would involve the Board having strategic oversight of our development of the plan and members offering guidance and advice on specific elements of the plan that they have expertise and experience in.
Minutes of the previous meeting were agreed and apologies accepted from, Karen Betts, Linda Steedman, James Withers, Afzal Khushi, Laura Birrell and Kevin Norris.
Item 2 – SDI: Delivering the Export Growth Plan – Neil Francis
SDI are part of a national export service system that includes other partners like Chambers and Local Authorities. A coherent export support system is a key aim of the Strategic Board and is crucial to ensure that support is available to all companies.
As outlined in A Trading Nation SDI will focus on driving export growth primarily from tiers 2 and 3 (‘solid performers’ and ‘sleeping giants’) of the business segments, using data on current international sales to determine where SDI should focus the balance of effort.
In total, SDI have around 100 staff based overseas in markets of interest for Scotland. SDI are increasingly asking them to do trade development rather than just trade advice. Looking for individual opportunities in-market and connecting them to customers.
Each trade advisor will look after around 25 to 35 companies. The trade advisory role has become more specialised and specifically focussed on working directly with companies. There is now a specific Trade Services team that provides the support to deliver around 60 – 70 international market events every year, including missions and learning journeys into the 26 priority markets.
SDI target for this year is a £1 to £1.5 bn uplift in international sales.
Discussion: There were a number of questions considered in discussion including:
- whether the balance on solid performers vs sleeping giants is right
- whether the right people with the right skills and experience are in place in Scotland and in-market
- how best to make use of feedback and crucially, to build ambition amongst companies to take up the support and services on offer
It was agreed that:
- the impact of assistance needs to be measured and understood as well as feedback recorded and acted upon. This is part of the evaluation frameworks being developed as part of the Export Growth Plan
- networks, in particular GlobalScots need to be used to support connections across sectors, especially if the experience of the in-market specialist is limited or focused in another area
- it is essential that overseas staff have the networks businesses need in-market as well as knowledge of Scotland and its companies and are invested in its future
Action 1: Trade Board members to go back to NF with specific feedback.
Action 2: NF to think about how best to gather and use feedback to drive change in networks, products and services.
Action 3: NF to send trade board members the link to the GS information and recruitment pack.
Item 3 – Alumni
Item 4 - Business Survey
Item 5 - Presentation – Single Digital Entry Point
Discussion: A number of issues were discussed including whether adding a new URL would further clutter the landscape, how the site would be optimised to come higher up the search results and the challenges and requirements of responding to queries in real time as opposed to within business hours.
Item 6 - Presentation – E-Commerce
There was a general consensus that E-commerce is an area where there is further work to be done to support businesses but that it is essential they get the right advice to ensure their business is able to benefit and grow from using e-commerce to support their international ambitions.
Action 10: RJ to work with EC on specific ecommerce advice for China.
Item 7 - Presentation – Scotland Is Now
Members received a presentation on the Scotland Is Now campaign and the development of the business pillar.
Discussion: Discussion included consideration of whether education should be included within the business pillar; the need to ensure that assets area available in the languages of our priority markets and a desire to make sure we are really showcasing Scotland as it is now, rather than trading on past success. In addition, the need to enable the brand to be used by Scottish businesses without diluting the brand value and tailoring content depending on the audience were raised.
Action10: GS to follow up on the SIN T&Cs and report back to members.
Action 11: RJ, RD to contact GS with ideas from real businesses.
Directorate for International Trade and Investment
Glasgow G2 8LU