The Highlands and islands and Cairngorms areas have been chosen to take part in a new Scottish Government-led pilot programme aimed at increasing the number of companies exporting their products and services.
Run in association with Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), the local export partnerships (LEPs) scheme is being launched in five parts of Scotland.
Working with Scottish Development International (SDI), local authorities and other support organisations the LEPs will offer expertise to companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with little or no exporting experience.
The Scottish Government is providing up to £400,000 to the SCC to develop the programme.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “With Brexit looming, international trade and export has never been so vital to the Scottish economy, but it can seem daunting to businesses who haven’t yet ventured into the field.
“It is crucial we maximise the help and support available to those firms – particularly the SMEs which are the lifeblood of our economy. These pilots will test new approaches to support businesses to export, opening a whole new world to companies and employers throughout Scotland.”
The pilot phase is expected to last two years.
Liz Cameron, director and chief executive of SCC, said: “These new LEPs will build on the strong partnerships we have recently forged with government in the field of international trade, which has already resulted in promising new routes to accessing important markets for Scottish goods and services, notably China.”