Scotland: a trading nation

A plan for growing Scotland's exports.

6.1 Business-to-business mentoring - the First Minister's Export Challenge

Governments don’t export, businesses do. We recognise that other businesses will often be more effective advocates of the benefits that exporting can bring and will be able to offer advice and support to their peers on the issues and challenges new or inexperienced exporters may face.

In November 2018, the First Minister launched the Export Challenge, a business-to-business mentoring programme, at an event organised by CBI Scotland in partnership with Scottish Development International and Bank of Scotland. The Export Challenge will invest up to £2mn over 3 years to support 50 existing exporters per year to ramp-up overseas activity and create 100 business-to-business mentorships per year to support new exporters. 

For a business to become a mentor (or Export Champion) they must be an experienced exporter, interested in sharing expertise, knowledge and insight to support the growth of a Scottish based business. An Export Champion is expected to mentor at least one mentee business for a year, having a minimum of 6 high quality interactions per year with each mentee business and providing engagement/support to the mentee business from across other parts of their business.

For a business to be mentored they must have a product or service that is ready for market and be either new to exporting or have plans to enter into an international market. They should also demonstrate a commitment to increasing their exporting or internationalisation as a result of the programme.

portal allows businesses to register interest in the Export Challenge and eligible businesses will be matched with each other according to need and expertise to ensure that the programme is as effective as possible.

Businesses participating in the programme can expect to work closely with their mentor business and will be able to access further sources of export advice and support. Demand will be closely monitored to identify any gaps in support that may be filled by bespoke products or services.

We will:

1. Continue the roll out of the FM Export Challenge, with the pilot phase implemented in 2019.

2. Implement robust evaluation metrics to guide development of the programme to maximise ROI. 

3. Ensure relationship management is maintained with all business members within the programme, and open access to further sources of export advice and support where appropriate.

4. Engage effectively with delivery partners, including CBI Scotland, to ensure a One Scotland approach.

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