Export advisory service

Take your business global with our support

Exporting is easier with an expert at your side. If your business is preparing to take the first steps to export its products or services, our team of experts are here to help. From getting to grips with the basics and preparing market visits to identifying potential customers and securing finance - we've got it covered.

Advice on exporting

"Don’t let the fear of uncertainty of selling to foreign territories stop you from taking opportunities." - Michael Corrigan of Trtl

Our export advisory service will help your business fulfil its international potential. Get advice and support from our experts to help you prepare an export plan. A committed plan is essential whether you're new to exporting or wanting to grow existing international sales.

We can help you:

  • Understand what’s involved and connect you to the right people
  • Create your own action plan and strategy
  • Define your markets and identify the best opportunities
  • Develop the resources and skills you need to trade abroad
  • Prepare your products and services for markets

Meet our export advisers

Ask an export adviser

Scottish Enterprise's export advisers L-R: Neil Fraser, Stewart Miller, Alastair Kennedy, Jane Milroy, Stephanie Rennie, Gail MacIntyre, Rosie Letts, Isabelle Henderson, Smart Masoni

Be prepared

Good planning and having a clear strategy are essential to export success.

Preparation really is everything. Sometimes companies flounder because they start to sell in a market that they don’t really understand. Perhaps they haven’t had time to calculate the real costs of exporting or the regulations associated with a country. Some rush in a little too quickly.

We can support your company in the early stages to help you avoid the pitfalls. We can help you with the details as well as the big picture. This will ensure that the time and effort you invest results in real business success.

In our experience, the companies succeed with exporting are the ones that are the most strategic.

What's your motivation?

Part of the planning process and your initial meeting with us will be to understand the reasons why your company wants to export. It could be that the UK market is saturated or the foreign markets offer new opportunities to grow?

Understanding your motivations will influence the plan and approach to adopt.

We encourage you to attend our free workshops to help you prepare for export. This is a great way to engage with some of the key questions and begin to develop and export plan.

You can then meet our export advisers face-to-face for ongoing support and professional advice to develop the plan into meaningful export activity.

Accessing markets

"You can never do enough research into your plans. The key to success is in many fields. But a good solid foundation built on in-depth research will help steer you in the right direction." - Ramin Golzari of Highlander Scotland

Market research is a vital element in shaping a company’s export plan.

Get connected to our free international market research support 

It's a desk-based service that provides information on global market trends, customer behaviour and competitor insights.

Making connections

As you progress through the research stage, we can help you make the all-important local connections. This can mean visiting a trade fair or taking part in a trade mission and identifying the right agents, retailers or distributors.

If you’re considering exporting we can connect you with an extremely valuable network of international connections. These include GlobalScot and Scottish Development International’s global offices in key markets worldwide.

We can advise how to select the right distributor and hook you up with companies here in Scotland who are already exporting successfully.

GlobalScot is Scotland’s unique global support network that can offer you free advice to help your company access new markets and trade overseas.

GlobalScot members are made up of Scots and people with an affinity to Scotland, with years of expertise and success in international business. The network is a perfect source of advice, guidance and expertise for Scottish companies that are planning to export.

Getting to know you

Export advice is not a one-size fits all. We’ll take time to get to know and understand your company properly. We often work closely with Business Gateway advisers and other professionals to make sure that we have a rounded view of your business needs.

Sometimes companies are looking for more practical or detailed support. For example, we can provide advice about adapting products and services for a market. And signpost you to information on the relevant legislation and taxes for that market.

Some services may differ in the Highlands and Islands. If your business is based in this region, contact Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Meet our export advisers

Advice on export grants and finance

"Always validate your service or products before you innovate or go to market." - Mark Evan of NomadiX Media

If you have a product or service which you’d like to develop for overseas markets you could be eligible for a grant up to £5,000. Our Make it to Market grant can support you to innovate and take the next steps to trading internationally.

You could get funding to:

  • Research market opportunities, potential customers and your route to market
  • Modify or enhance your product, packaging and branding to suit your market
  • Manufacture your products, implement regulatory requirements and carry out testing
  • Launch your product, conduct in-market promotion and complete supply chain set up

UK Export Finance

UK Export Finance is run by the UK government and provides funding to businesses that export and overseas business buying exports (buyers). If your business doesn’t have enough security to borrow from a lender, UK Export Finance can help.

UK Export Finance can:

  • Provide insurance to businesses exporting to certain countries
  • Offer guarantee to banks providing loans to export businesses
  • Guarantee loans for overseas buyers
  • Give loans to overseas buyers

Find out more about UK Export Finance on mygov.scot

Protecting your intellectual assets

"Be clear with your product. Be clear on its value, and have a clear pricing structure and support structures." - Peter Proud of Cortex

Your intellectual property (IP) rights are potentially some of the most important assets your business owns. On average, IP assets make up around 80% of the value of your business. So if you’re taking your products or services to new markets, you want to make sure they're protected.

Intellectual property assets not only include patents, copyright, registered designs and trademarks. They also include trade secrets, expertise, sector knowledge and brand identity.

We offer free, impartial advice to help your business identify, manage and exploit IP assets. Effective management of your IP, including expertise and market knowledge, can help increase your company’s profits.

Get support to manage your intellectual assets

What our customers say

'Exporting snuck up on us.' Leah Hutcheon, CEO, explains how Appointedd's multi-timezone software is opening new opportunities for the business worldwide

"We’ve had support from Scottish Development International to help us fund a trip to the US and connect us with the GlobalScot network, as well as put us in touch with other people who’ve done it before."

Read full success story
Craig Buchan from QPal in Edinburgh

Mobile payment company Qpal wanted to expand its business offering to international markets - we helped Craig Buchan, Qpal founder, gather customer insights

"The team in Scottish Enterprise provided real knowledge and expertise, and the quick turnaround times made all the difference."

Read full success story

Ask an export adviser

If you’re looking to take your first steps in exporting, get in touch with us. The adviser in your area is ready to help with your international development plans and all support is free.