Supporting increased internationalisation across the business base is a priority for HIE. Research shows that businesses that trade internationally grow faster, exhibit higher levels of productivity and are more innovative than the business base as a whole. The challenge is, therefore, to develop a more outward and globally aware region – to develop greater global ambition. This will require a broader approach to embed an international mindset across the Highlands and Islands for all businesses.
A core part of this approach will involve the development of a digital-based campaign, augmented by a series of events, to help articluate the considerable business benefits to be derived from trading internationally. Further support from specialist advisers to help clients refine and progress their plans more rapidly will be made available, alongside efforts to encourage more collaboration between businesses to build scale to help them enter new markets.
We will develop the exporting base in the Highlands and Islands by working with experienced exporters to extend their reach into new markets and opportunities, and we will work more intensively with the broader range of businesses for whom international trade is currently an aspiration.
We will continue to deliver international business support through our partnership with Scottish Development International (SDI), whilst our International Highlands and Islands programme will help firms take their first or next steps into overseas trade.
Inward investment has played an important role in helping diversify the region’s economy and creating large numbers of jobs in growth sectors. Working closely with SDI we will look to attract more new international firms
to our region, capitalising on the opportunities in Enterprise Areas and building on the successes of recent years, particularly in the energy, life sciences and business services sectors.
We equally recognise the importance of the many existing inward investors operating across the Highlands and Islands.
Over the period of this plan, we will increase the priority afforded to investor development and seek to maximise their impact through direct operations and supply chain development.