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Glasgow-based industrial component manufacturer, John McGavigan Ltd, scoops top prize at the HSBC Scottish Export Awards, amid Scotland's other rising export stars celebrating international trade success.

Scottish Export Awards 2017 winners
Scottish Export Award Winners 2017

John McGavigan Ltd is a real success story for Scottish manufacturing. With operations in Scotland and China, it supplies automotive and industrial components to some of the world's largest brands. Some 80% of its products are shipped overseas and it’s working in some of the world’s fastest-growing markets, including China.

The Glasgow-based company scooped the top title and Large Exporter of the Year award at the HSBC Scottish Export Awards held at the Glasgow Hilton on Wednesday 22 March. The sell-out event attracted around 470 guests including the cream of Scotland’s business community.

“Receiving the 2017 Large Exporter of the Year and overall Scottish Exporter of the Year awards is excellent, and a tremendous recognition of the efforts and dedication from the entire team that has contributed to the company’s success over recent years,” explained Steve Mathers, director at John McGavigan.

“Our business continues to grow, helped by our continued international presence and, in particular, the developing markets in Asia. We look forward to the future and to celebrating the success with like-minded businesses that embrace the opportunities exporting can bring.”

Winners of the Scottish Export Awards 2017

Scottish Exporter of the Year

  • John McGavigan

Ecommerce Exporter of the Year

  • TRTL
  • Highly commended: Alex Begg & Co

Most Entrepreneurial Exporter of the Year

  • Scotmas Group
  • Highly commended: TRTL

Micro Exporter of the Year

  • Chocolate and Love
  • Highly commended: Schoolhill Engineering

Small Exporter of the Year

  • M Squared
  • Highly commended: Wester Ross Fisheries

Large Exporter of the Year

  • John McGavigan
  • Highly commended: Balmoral Offshore Engineering

Scottish Export Team of the Year

  • Paragon Links
  • Highly commended: Ecosse Subsea Systems

High Growth Markets Exporter of the Year

  • Churchill Drilling Tools

Congratulating all of the winners, Paul Lewis, managing director of our international operations said: 

"Scotland’s strong track record for exporting goods and services all over the world is testament to the strength of our innovative, ambitious and forward thinking companies. 

"Helping to grow exporting from Scotland remains a priority for us and we will continue to work with as many companies as possible to help them open up new opportunities and new markets, in order to achieve their growth ambitions”.

Where next for Scottish exports?

Collaboration is fast-becoming a major option for Scottish SMEs as a route to export success. And we’re committed to nurturing, educating and preparing the next generation of Scottish business to compete in the global marketplace. 

Working with Co-operative Development Scotland, the arm of Scottish Enterprise dedicated to supporting business growth through collaborative models, we’re helping companies forge new routes to international markets – and making it easier for ambitious businesses to work together. 

Whether you aim to tackle a fresh sector or target a new geography, setting up a co-operative consortium can help spring-board you to global markets. By pooling your resources, you'll be able to pitch shared ideas, raise your profile and scale-up – whilst helping to share the burden of risk and strained finances that prevents so many from making the leap into the international marketplace. 

And that’s where the Collaboration Prize comes in. 

Collaboration Prize winners

This year’s prize was awarded to two consortia that demonstrated plausible, promising plans to access new and international markets through effective collaboration. Each will receive a £10,000 prize, alongside specialist export advice, to bring their exporting plans to life.

  • Look Team 
  • Made in Scotland

Look Team, is focused on developing, managing and delivering ‘Look & Wayfinding’ programmes for major sporting and cultural events. Recent contracts include providing visual marketing and merchandising solutions for the Commonwealth Games in 2014, World Gymnastics Championship in 2015 and the UCI Track Cycling World Cup event last November. 

Combining the complementary strengths of EVM and Tangent Graphic, this consortium co-operative will provide a ‘one-stop’ project planning and management service to event organisers across the world, helping  to create memorable experiences for participants, stakeholders, spectators and broadcasters. 

Made in Scotland – Collaborative Export Solutions, delivers the Scottish produce it promises on the tin. A partnership between twelve well-established, high-end food and drink companies, it supplies a broad range of artisan products – from salmon to cheese, cakes to charcuterie, plus a range of craft gin, beer and whisky – that boast both admirable provenance and back-story. 

By sharing resources and expertise, they’ve been able to tackle the lucrative international markets they would be unable to enter as individual businesses. 

Getting the right support

Steve Mathers of John McGavigan shares a few tips for success when entering international markets:

"To sell effectively within any region, whether inside Europe or further afield, cultural sensitivity and an appreciation of local business protocol is essential. What may fit for one market may easily not work in another.

"Our formula has always been to establish local representation in each market to assist with any language issues, and to guide us through the cultural and professional expectations we need to respect.

"We work closely with Scottish Enterprise and especially Scottish Development International as we seek to extend our global presence, and the early phase advice and support has been invaluable especially in China and more recently Japan.

"We are currently exploring activities across NAFTA regions where this regional knowledge is often very valuable.

"Recently we've also been working with the GlobalScot network, allowing us to tap into an experienced network of international business contacts able to offer practical advice on matter which otherwise can be daunting to the newcomer.

Want to find out more about working together to grow your exports?

Ask our export advisers

The HSBC Scottish Export Awards 2017 are held in association with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Business Gateway.