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Know much about Iceland's opportunity? From renewable energy and construction to medical technology, food and drink, demand for Scottish products and services is out there - you could be too.

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon on visit to Össur factory in Iceland - October 2016
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, tours the Össur factory in Reykjavik

Often referred to as “a country of extremes”, Iceland is famous for its hot springs, geysers, volcanoes and dramatic scenery. Its reputation for extremity extends to the economy: once the emblem of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland has bounced back with a vengeance. It’s now one of the world’s wealthiest countries – and Scotland its closest neighbour.

Why Iceland?

Tips for success

  1. Knowledge of local culture and language are appreciated, despite the high quality of English spoken and Iceland's international outlook
  2. Iceland's working culture is usually more informal and people usually address each other accordingly
  3. Punctuality is important for meetings and appointments
  4. Iceland is a small country, so don't be surprised if your contacts know each other

Doing business in Iceland has many advantages for Scottish business, such as: 

  • The excellent quality of spoken English in Iceland
  • Scottish products are generally well received
  • A high level of education among the Icelandic population 
  • Compact market- based mostly in the capital, Reykjavik
  • Iceland depends heavily on imported goods

Significant export opportunities

Some of the most interesting opportunities currently for Scottish companies in Iceland are within renewable energy and construction sectors. For example:

  • Plans are being developed to build a 1500km interconnector cable to import Icelandic clean energy to Scotland
  • Iceland produces almost all energy from renewable sources, presenting opportunities for Scottish companies in areas such as consulting, supplies, management and design
  • Scottish food and drink is well received, and importing into Iceland is fairly simple
  • A high speed rail connector is being developed to link the airport with Reykjavik
  • There are plans to build and fit out a new university hospital 

Recent activity

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon with CEO of Össur, Jón Sigurðsson - October 2016
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon with CEO of Össur, Jón Sigurðsson

The First Minister recently visited the capital city, Reykjavik, to visit Icelandic company, Össur. The company bought Scottish prosthetic firm Touch Bionics earlier this year, a move which opens opportunities for Scotland’s economy. 

Scottish Enterprise is currently working with Össur to develop a plan to support new research and development initiatives in Scotland. 

In a post-Brexit environment, the meeting was also a chance for the First Minister to reinforce Scotland’s attractiveness as a business location, and convey our support in helping Össur to increase capacity and leadership in its new base in Livingston. 

How we can help you

Scottish Development International’s staff in the Nordic countries can assist you with market advice, detailed market research and support to visit potential clients and partners. 

We also hold market awareness events with our specialist advisers and GlobalScots. These are prime opportunities to network, hear expert advice and gain valuable insight to help your company export successfully. 

Get started on your export journey