Direction of travel is taking us to New York, Northern Italy and Bavaria …
By Richard Muir, Deputy Chief Executive
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has travelled a long way in its international trade development work in the last couple of years. We’ve always had a really strong certificates and documentation service for exporters, but joining up with overseas Chambers of Commerce has been a relatively new thing for us.
This really started after we were invited by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau to attend a business and media networking event in New York last March and we invited some of our President’s Club members who are based in the Eastern Seaboard of the USA.
Quite a few of the President’s Club members came to the event and brought some of their senior business contacts too. It was a really successful evening and we took the opportunity to meet with the President of Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Jessica Walker. We had a really positive meeting and within an hour a Memorandum of Understanding was discussed and agreed. Our international trade partnership journey had begun.
And so, roll forward a year and we have already taken eight of our companies over to New York for a series of business to business sessions last November which have proved to be invaluable for some of the participating companies. One is considering opening an office in Brooklyn, one has a contract with a vending machine company in the US which gives vital distribution and profile, one launched her product at one of the events we attended and two others have done business with each other.
We are now in the middle of planning for the Manhattan Chamber’s return visit to Glasgow on Wednesday 24 May. They’ll be bringing up to ten of their member companies to Glasgow to meet with Scottish companies who can help them to achieve their business aspirations in Scotland.
And we’re not limiting ourselves to doing overseas business in the US.We’re also active in Europe. We have struck up another partnership with the British Chamber of Commerce in Italy and will be taking up to ten of our companies out to Milan on Monday 5 June to meet with like-minded businesses based in Northern Italy who can partner with our Scottish companies. The Italians are really keen to work with companies in engineering, manufacturing, design, fashion, textiles, 3D printing and furniture making and other distinctive Scottish artisan and craft businesses.
We’re also in the process of finalising a partnership with the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce in Bavaria and hope to make a visit to meet with the Chamber there in October. Other partnerships are imminent with Chambers of Commerce in Dusseldorf and Dubai and we are in dialogue with members of our President’s Club and keen to look at further ‘sweet spots’ where there are strong clusters of expat Glaswegians who are more than happy to help companies from this part of the world to find lucrative new markets.
It’s interesting times and we are trying to assist where we can and do our bit to make the path to exporting easier and complement the fine work of our local and national partners and stakeholders including Glasgow City Council, Scottish Government, SDI and Scottish Chambers of Commerce. So let us know if you are interested in participating in any of the above partnerships. We’d love to hear from companies with genuine exporting ideas and ambitions. We took the opportunity to jump on a plane to meet with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce team in person and so far it’s been good for our businesses and us. We hope you might like to join us in the future too.