Scottish Connections Framework

This Framework sets out a cohesive and cross-cutting approach to diaspora engagement. It outlines a series of commitments and ambitions to strengthen and expand our relationships with, and between, Scotland’s international communities, and expand on existing work with our established networks.

Doing Business with the World

Scotland is a trading nation with a long and proud exporting history. Scotland has also consistently ranked as the UK’s most popular inward investment location in the UK outside London. We will continue to work to support the internationalisation of the Scottish economy – and we want our diaspora to benefit from Scotland’s economic diversity and dynamism.

Scottish professionals and companies working internationally not only benefit Scotland, but also the regions and nations where they now live and work, driving often mutually beneficial economic prosperity and investment. Alumni of Scotland’s universities do likewise, taking the skills and expertise they have gained in Scotland back to their home countries.

International connections are crucial for many Scottish businesses. Managed by Scottish Development International, the GlobalScot[24] network has engaged a global diaspora of business professionals, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and community figureheads for over 20 years. Our expanding network of Trade and Investment Envoys bring representational heft when promoting Scotland’s business sector to governments around the world. And the independently managed Scottish Business Network lists 8,000 Scottish professionals they connect to worldwide, to support Scotland-based companies and organisations to develop and grow through the utilisation of the Scottish business diaspora.


Our GlobalScots are a vibrant, dynamic network of influential Scots and friends of Scotland working to help achieve our ambitious economic vision for Scotland’s future.

GlobalScots are an important part of the economic development ecosystem. They provide insight and thought leadership on priority areas for Scotland’s enterprise agencies and for government. They support companies by coaching and mentoring, helping them to accelerate their growth and manage risks, and providing them with significant shortcuts in their learning curve, drawing on their years of experience. We will increase the number of companies engaging with the network and will continue to encourage and enable GlobalScots to self-organise around key growth areas such as space, hydrogen and offshore wind, as well as key markets and themes of strategic importance to Scotland.

While GlobalScots have always focused on business engagement and support, the expertise, interests and connections of its members goes broader. Many members are involved in cultural and voluntary activities, and are themselves connected to Scottish diaspora organisations around the world. We will further enhance engagement in 2023 by encouraging interaction with and between network members.

To help support Scotland’s global connections, we will continue to promote the GlobalScot programme to Scottish businesses, our stakeholders and partners, and support them to unlock the insight, expertise, and connections of GlobalScots around the world.

We will grow the network in countries and sectors of strategic importance – particularly in Canada and the US, Asia Pacific, mainland Europe, and the Middle East, focusing on the priority sectors which will drive sustainable economic transformational change as outlined in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

We will ensure that future development truly represents and reflects the diversity of Scotland’s business community as a whole, increasing the gender diversity of the network, as well as recruiting the next generation of GlobalScots. We will seek to add business professionals from the creative and culture sectors, and involve GlobalScots in the development of Scotland’s culture policy and cultural offer.

We will increase our engagement with international alumni of Scottish universities to revive their connections to Scotland and potentially recruit as GlobalScots. This work will build on recent successful collaborations between the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International, and universities to host alumni-focused events in our priority markets, including the USA, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Trade and Investment Envoys

The Directorate for International Trade and Investment (DITI) leads the Scottish Government’s drive to internationalise the Scottish economy by building our trade capacity and presence in international markets, and by increasing exports and inward investment.

The Trade and Investment Envoy programme[25] is a key strand of this work. Established in 2017, the network is made up of appointees who work in a non-political capacity. The majority of Trade and Investment Envoys operate in the country where they are based, and add value by drawing on connections from their personal networks in-country and day-to-day business activities.

Since the launch of our export growth plan A Trading Nation in May 2019, we have grown our network from four to eleven Envoys, all of whom are also GlobalScots. They are located in Indonesia, UAE, Spain, Singapore, Poland, Scotland, London, and the East and West Coast of the US. Some of the Envoys have specialisms, for example, capital investment and higher education.

International business networks

The rapidly changing landscape of the domestic and global economy demands a joined-up approach from the public and private sectors if we are to maintain Scotland’s competitiveness and enhance our position in the global economy.

The International Trade Partnership (ITP2) between the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) and the Scottish Government identifies and builds opportunities for business and industry, empowering them to develop their strengths and to trade internationally.[26]

The SCC regularly engages with our diaspora – calling on the expertise and in-market intelligence of Trade and Investment Envoys and GlobalScots to make international connections that will support business, and connecting with diaspora communities as part of outward trade missions. No formal data is currently captured to measure these engagement levels, however we will work with the SCC to explore how diaspora engagement can be captured and evaluated as part of their ongoing delivery of the ITP2.

Case Study: Professor Wendy Alexander

Although primarily focused on Trade and Investment, some of the work carried out by our Envoys expands beyond this area.

Our International Higher Education Trade and Investment Envoy, Wendy Alexander, promotes the Scottish Higher Education sector, including representing Scotland’s interests in various UK Government and international forums.

As part of this work, Professor Alexander has represented Scotland’s Higher Education sector in locations including Nigeria, Singapore, and Indonesia. Her trip to Nigeria, in May 2022, was the first time Scotland had been officially represented on a UK delegation of this sort.

With the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, events bringing together GlobalScots, Scottish universities, and overseas Scottish alumni have restarted. These events are vital to facilitate knowledge sharing, networking and discussion across Scotland’s international communities.



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