INDUSTRY leaders are presenting two days of top tips for Highlands and Islands food and drink businesses who want to break into US and Canadian markets.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is hosting the two-part event in Inverness on May 14 and June 10, in collaboration with Scotland Food and Drink and Scottish Development International (SDI). There are additional dates in Perth on May 13 and June 9.
Experienced speakers from the US, Canada and the UK will explore issues including the routes to market, the hurdles to overcome in exporting and how to best deal with buyers. Moray-based business, Baxters, is leading one of the sessions to share their experiences of identifying products and finding international markets.
Norma MacDonald is a senior development manager with HIE. She commented: “This event is open to any food and drink business interested in exploring the North American market. The historical connection between the US and Canadian markets and Scotland, as well as today’s shared interest in products and services, provides links with great potential to Highlands and Islands businesses. HIE, with SDI, are interested in exploring the ways businesses who want to grow can break into potentially lucrative markets.”
She added: “We only have to look to the salmon farming industry to get an idea of the opportunities of developing the American market. Last year, Scotland saw an increase of 50 per cent in exports of quality salmon to the US.”
Maclean’s Highland Bakery is one of the businesses planning to attend the event. The Forres-based traditional biscuit makers already export their quality shortbread and oatcakes to China, Australia and New Zealand.
“Through HIE, we have been working with SDI locally for some time, and we are planning to go to a trade show with them in New York in June. There is definitely a market there for Highland Food and Drink products. We are hoping to pick up some tips at the workshop about the best way to attract business, and how to deal with potential distributor and importer businesses we need in the US.”
Businesses working with HIE, and with Business Gateway, can access support from SDI and its network of offices in 27 countries across the world. Specialists both here and abroad can help businesses with invaluable knowledge and access to markets.
The cost per day for the event is £50 for Scottish Food and Drink members and £75 for non members. Businesses can attend either or both events and further details are available from Charlotte Herring at email@example.com
HIE’s role is to develop sustainable economic growth across the region. To achieve this it creates infrastructure for future investment, assists large and small businesses with growth aspirations and has a unique role strengthening communities, particularly in fragile areas.
HIE supports the growth ambitions of business and social enterprise clients by creating close working relationships in order to accelerate growth in turnover, profitability, wage levels, exports and therefore Gross Value Added (GVA) in the HIE area.
HIE also invests in transformational projects across the region to make the Highlands and Islands a more competitive and attractive place to live, work, study and grow.
The region covered by HIE takes in more than half of Scotland, and is home to around 440,000 people. See www.hie.co.uk for more information.
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