Mention Scotland to most people and they think of Whisky, Golf and possibly oil, though after that their understanding of the market is fairly limited. The country came into clearer focus in 2014 when a referendum was held over Scotlands place in the United Kingdom. Though close the result has meant that for the time being the UK remains united.
However this year will probably see another referendum in the UK that could well have an impact on where Scotland decides to sit on the international stage. If as seems possible at the moment, the UK votes for Brexit it is very likely that Scotland (where the EU is very popular) will again call for independence, and re engagement with the EU, and opinion polls predict that this next independence referendum will lead to an independent Scotland.
So apart from Whisky and Golf what does Scotland have to offer to international business? We have a population of just over 5 million people, with a similar GDP to the rest of the UK, so are a wealthy country and we are innovators, and always have been, amongst the products Scots have invented are Tarmac, the bicycle, the rubber tyre, canals, the steam engine, the telephone, radar, the ATM, penicillin, the first cloned animal and modern Economics.
This innovation comes from a high quality education system, the Scots have always been more focused on this area than other parts of the country, and boast some of Europes best research universities including Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews. The focus on innovation continues, not only in areas like biotechnology and engineering, but also in the development of some of Europes most exciting internet businesses,
Skyscanner and Fan Duel are two Edinburgh tech companies considered world beaters.
Oil is also a key export for Scotland, though the current problem with the sector have led to problems Aberdeen the home of the Scottish oil sector is still the most affluent City in the UK, and is fast becoming a major European centre for the development of renewable energy. The Scottish government has put significant investment into wave and tidal power, as the seas around Scotland have considerable power generation potential.
So Scotland has a lot to offer already, and is an excellent base for businesses looking to target the UK market as a whole, the cost of entry and competition is lower than the major English cities, and the support offered through Scottish government agencies tends to be more generous, and if Brexit happens Scotland could well become the key entry point to what will become the English market of 55 million people.