Scotland: a trading nation

A plan for growing Scotland's exports.

6.6 Leveraging exports from London

While the plan is focused on increasing Scotland’s international exports, there is an understanding of the importance of the London market to help deliver this objective. As a first point for sales expansion outside of Scotland, the rest of the UK, and in particular London and the South East, offer some particular advantages for Scottish businesses.

As well as providing a substantial potential market for Scottish products and services, London is home to many international organisations across a range of sectors and hence provides easy access to international networks and selling opportunities without having to necessarily visit international markets to begin the sales process. It also provides opportunities for businesses to learn how to sell into new markets in an environment which has lower logistical, cultural or language barriers than international markets. This approach is something our counterparts in Ireland have successfully developed to support their internationalisation agenda and consideration will be given to whether Scotland should consider adopting a similar approach.

The Scottish Government, our enterprise agencies and VisitScotland are co-located in Scotland House in central London leading to a strong culture of collaboration. Traditionally, the SDI team has had a primary focus on securing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) opportunities for Scotland, a mission that has proved particularly successful with Scotland being the top UK destination for FDI outside of London in each of the last 6 years. 

Scotland House is a valuable resource for Scottish businesses moving into this market, providing a great venue for business and networking events. A key objective of the development of Scotland House, and a feature of Scotland’s International Framework (2015), was to take advantage of London’s status as a ‘global gateway’ for both trade and investment, supported by joint working between the Scottish Government and its agencies. 

The Trade Board has commissioned a survey of Scottish businesses to better understand what trade support they believe would be useful in the London market and we will consider that information carefully. 

The focus of this plan is on supporting the growth of international exports rather than domestic trade but we do recognise the importance of leveraging the rUK market to support business growth.

We will:

1. Support the establishment of stronger business networks in London. 

2. Use the results of the Trade Board survey to determine what action is required to most effectively support Scottish businesses.

3. Support the Scottish Business Network over the next 2 years to build capacity that supports Scottish businesses to exploit opportunities in London and the rest of the UK.

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