28 Oct 2020
By Seren Porteous, International Trade Development Executive
When I took on my role in the International team just under a year ago, 2020 lay ahead, promising a year of exciting travel, exploring new markets and cultures, and supporting Scottish businesses in their ambitions to expand internationally. It was a year in which I was going to learn new ways of working, new business norms and new cultural etiquettes.
When Covid19 hit early in the year however, these plans for physical interactions in foreign markets slowly seemed to shrink. Initially, plans were only postponed for weeks. But weeks became months. And now months have become ‘the second half of 2021’. International Trade Missions how they were once perceived – in market and in person – have now been transformed, as with most things, into a virtual world of online calls, meetings and networking.
Although the promises of 2020 may not have come to fruition in the way I imagined, the world of virtual international trade has not disappointed. So far Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has organised three Virtual Trade Missions since May, successfully ‘journeying’ to Bulgaria, Shanghai and Milan.
Yes, being on a screen may create different barriers and add to the cultural challenges when in market, however I have learnt that international opportunities and success are not confined to the ‘in person meeting’. Business is still business whether there is a screen in between or not. As I look ahead to the months to come, I look forward to the time when travel restrictions will be lifted, and international opportunities will feel ‘real’ once more.
For now, however, I am satisfied with our virtual platforms. I look forward to virtual meetings, to strengthening relationships with foreign partners and to be able to continue opening the international world to smaller Scottish businesses, who may not have considered these opportunities without the initial convenience of an online meeting.
If your business is interested in expanding into the Spanish market, our next Virtual Trade Mission is to Barcelona in January 2021. Please find more information here. We would be delighted to hear from you!