02 Feb 2021
By Seren Porteous, International Trade Executive, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
Last week saw the end of Glasgow Chamber’s fourth virtual trade mission in ten months and first trade mission of 2021. The market in question was sunny Barcelona and we, alongside our business delegation, were supposed to be enjoying the Spanish sunshine, food and laid-back culture, easing ourselves into the new year. Instead, like everything at the moment, we embraced this new market from behind a screen, soaking up as much of the culture, business etiquette and industry knowledge as we possibly could from the confines of our own office spaces. Despite the lack of physical presence however, the virtual world, as it has done now for many months, surpassed our expectations and provided an excellent space for building relationships, sharing knowledge and learning about the opportunities in a new market.
We worked in collaboration with the British Chamber of Commerce Spain, focussing on Renewable Energy and Green Tech, with the aim to engage Scottish businesses within this sector, as well as capitalise on and develop opportunities connected to COP26. The delegation consisted of ten excellent Scottish companies, specialising in areas from hydrogen technologies, sustainable agriculture to both on and offshore wind. Over the course of the mission we had two group sessions and fifteen individual business to business meetings between Scottish and Spanish businesses. Thanks to the flexibility of the virtual world, additional B2B meetings will continue to take place during the first two weeks of February as well.
The group sessions focussed firstly on the Spanish market, why the Catalan region is attractive for business and practical advice for businesses entering Spain, and secondly on the strengths and innovation of the renewables’ sector in both regions. Speakers included the Head of Climate Change Polices at Iberdrola Group, the COP26 Programme Manager at Scottish Power, as well as Scottish Renewables. Miguel Muñoz from Iberdrola shared that renewable energy capacity in Spain needs to triple by 2030 in order to be on target to reach the country’s climate goals and that hydrogen production will grow in the years to come. As a region, Catalonia must also increase its installations of photovoltaic panels, as well as wind farms to achieve its own regional energy goals.
“The trade mission really was a valuable use of my time. Through the efforts of the Glasgow Chamber and the Chambers in Spain I had four video meetings lined up, something I could not have done myself without extensive time consuming research. Glasgow businesses have much to offer the Spanish market, and vice versa, and having been given these introductions I now feel I’m in a strong position to win work in Catalonia. Its also worth noting that Scotland has set more ambitious net zero carbon targets than the rest of Europe, arguably making us leaders in this field. In the current climate this is a proud boast and for those of us who work in the world of sustainability and the climate emergency, it gives us an advantageous starting point.” Steve Taylor, Managing Director, Ideeas
“Thank you for putting together an excellent Virtual Trade Mission, especially during these pandemic times. I learned a huge amount about the Spanish business market and how to trade in Spain from Scotland.” Gordon Stove, CEO & Co-founder, Adrok Group