David Watt: Scotland must think global to boost growth

In boardrooms across the country, internationalisation must be on the agenda.

Six out of 10 (61 per cent) Scottish  food and drink firms are pursuing new international customers.
Six out of 10 (61 per cent) Scottish food and drink firms are pursuing new international customers.

For strategic growth, all businesses need to think global, because that’s where the market lies, and importantly, where the competition is.

In this country, less than 10% of businesses currently export.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

To move Scotland’s economy forward, we must increase that number by building our tourism income and our manufacturing exporting.

We should focus on developing new technologies and boosting our financial services sector.

Scotland is doing fantastically well in growing our international offering in food and drink, and this will continue.

But other sectors can get on the global bus too – all businesses should be searching for international opportunities and turning them into successful ventures.

That’s why the IoD in Scotland is initiating its first International Week – to ensure directors and boards are thinking globally.

From big corporate companies to start ups, the future is global. Setting that thinking in place from the beginning is fundamental to business success. Our international week will provide an opportunity to hear from businesses – large and small - which are already successfully trading internationally, as well as from politicians and diplomats that can help. Discussion will surround the benefits of trading abroad, ‘how-to’ guides, and potential hazards to avoid.

It’s an excellent way for businesses who are taking the first steps into international business, or indeed those who are already trading abroad, to learn from the experience of others and share knowledge with companies in the same position.

Scotland is a small country at the geographical periphery of Europe and international trade is our lifeblood – our heritage and our future. We have to internationalise like never before to ensure that Brexit does not leave us marooned in the North Sea.

To attend Scottish International Week, visit http://www.scottishinternationalweek.com/ and register interest to receive a full list of events to select from.

David Watt is the Executive Director of IoD Scotland.