Fife Council partnership launches international trade service

Exporters in Fife are to benefit from a new one-stop-shop launched by Fife Council and partners to help businesses trade in the UK and internationally.
They’ll be able to access the services of Fife Council’s Economic Development team, Business Gateway Fife, Scottish Development International and Fife Chamber of Commerce via a single point of contact and receive help to go global.
According to the Council, this new joined-up approach has been designed to boost the number of Fife firms successfully entering UK and international markets.
It says the single access service will help businesses identify export opportunities, reach new customers, access in-country knowledge and international market intelligence, maximise e-commerce opportunities, overcome barriers to market entry and develop overseas marketing strategies.
Depute Fife Council Leader councillor Lesley Laird, spokesperson for Economy and Planning, said: “Our aim is to make it simple for businesses to do business.  By joining up the various export services and support opportunities that are already in Fife into a one-stop-shop we will be in a better position to equip more businesses with the tools needed to tap into new markets, grow and create jobs.
“With the drive and determination of the region’s business leaders, combined with the provision of additional support this should enable businesses to take advantage of growing global opportunities. Local businesses are already maximising their export potential and we anticipate that many more will now want to expand their horizons and play an important role in making Fife the best place to do business.”
A new guide entitled “Expanding Your Horizons: Your Guide to Accessing New Markets” is now available online and a series of growth workshops is being designed for firms looking to export.
Pamela Stevenson, lead officer, Enterprise and Business Development, Fife Council, said: “Trading outside of Scotland can open up a mass of opportunities. Fife is already home to a number of export success stories. Whatever stage you are at in your export journey, whether you are considering expanding into new geographical areas or already exporting and want to improve your processes, through our partnership approach, we can help you harness new opportunities.”
The Council says Scottish Government statistics reveal that £27.9 billion worth of Scottish goods and services were exported across the world in 2013 – a rise of £1.9 billion in a year – highlighting the strength of the Scottish brand to international markets.
Fife exports are estimated to be worth just over £2,000 million, according to latest figures from the Fife Economy Partnership 2013 survey and businesses across a range of sectors already export to major markets, including Eastern Europe, Germany, the USA and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries.
Dunfermline-based Connect EcoSystems, which supplies carbon removing machines to the hotel and catering industry, is now a European success story.
Dave Williamson, owner, Connect EcoSystems Ltd, said: “We recently launched our products to the international market. Thanks to assistance from Business Gateway Fife and Fife Chamber of Commerce we obtained funding to scout potential markets and received assistance with the correct relevant export documentation. As a result we now have a strong foothold in Ireland, Spain, Portugal and New Zealand.”
Neil Mcintosh, CEO of Kirkcaldy-based CluisTROM, added: “We asked for help from Business Gateway Fife to attend the largest audiology show in the country. Straight away my Business Gateway Fife advisor realised the potential the show had for business growth. This resulted in a 400 per cent rise in sales and a huge increase in brand awareness south of the border.”
The new service will be headed up by Business Gateway Fife, which will receive enquiries via the phone and online and filter them to the relevant partner.
Services will include the following:
  • Export readiness health check and support
  • International/national market intelligence
  • Market development programme
  • Legal and documentation
  • Sales and marketing
  • Language services
  • Seminars and training