Fewer than one in 10 European small business trade beyond their national borders, according to the Observatory of European SMEs. This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge of foreign markets. So when Scottish company Scotmas set its sights on marketing its water treatment, hygiene and environmental care products in Turkey, it needed the right kind of support to bridge the business culture gap.
As the company has experience of working abroad, Scotmas is well aware of the importance of having a local contact as a first stepping stone when entering a new market. This is why the company’s director Alistair Cameron turned to the Enterprise Europe Network for help locating a Turkish partner.
Jane Watters, of Enterprise Europe Scotland, teamed up with Serdal Temel, at the Ege University Science and Technology Centre in Turkey. Together, they lined up a three-day programme of interviews in Turkey for Scotmas. Their work, and their client companies’ commitment, has blossomed into five commercial and technical agreements and the opening of a small production plan in Izmir.
Relations have been so close that Temel used his local expertise on one occasion to help smooth over a customs misunderstanding and release impounded Scottish goods! “For the first year we were in Turkey, I came to see Dr Serdal as almost an honourary employee of Scotmas”, laughed Alistair.