Developing Scotland’s export capabilities is essential to maintaining and creating sustainable economic growth.

Our research has shown that many companies that export, experience a positive impact to profit and sales in the first 12 months and continue to grow faster than those which remain within domestic markets. They are also more innovative and offer wider opportunities for job creation and expansion. As such, developing Scotland’s export base must be a priority for government and focus should be given to ensuring that businesses are supported and equipped to deal with this challenge. It is valid to have national targets to increase the value of exports but we must also set a target to Increase the number of smaller businesses engaged in exporting goods and services.

There are a number of barriers that need to be overcome to encourage further exporting capacity. The primary issue is one of perception, with 65% of non-exporters feeling that they do not have the right product or service to trade internationally and others citing concerns in relation to the size and nature of the target overseas market. In many cases, these are areas which could be resolved with better market information, access to overseas networks and expert mentoring support. Moreover, further work needs to be done to increase the skills base of existing workers and young people to ensure that international trade is better understood and the skills developed (such as languages and cultural awareness) that will serve to further open up these markets.

With 86% of exporters and 86% of those considering exporting citing the EU as the main target market, it is clear that it is in Scotland’s interests to remain part of the EU single market.