Academies provide support

Amazon and SE offer help for rural exporters

Fergus Ewing

Fergus Ewing: vital expertise (pic by Terry Murden)


Public sector enterprise agencies have teamed up with US online retail giant Amazon to help small businesses across rural Scotland develop their export potential.

Over 10,000 rural businesses across the UK currently sell on Amazon to grow their business online. and the company is staging an Amazon Academy programme for rural SMEs in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International. 

Four events are planned for later this year in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Inverness and Selkirk – designed to equip Scottish SMEs with the skills they need to compete in a constantly growing digital economy. The first event is scheduled for Saturday 3 October in Dumfries as part of Dumfries & Galloway Business Week. 

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing said: “Interest from the private sector and the use of digital expertise will be vital to growing the rural economy going forward and these initial academies will aid that aim.”

The programme was announced following a report by Scotland’s Rural College and commissioned by Amazon, which found that unlocking the digital potential of rural areas in Scotland could add between £1.2 billion and £2.5bn annually in Gross Value Added to Scotland’s rural economy, and at least £1.44bn in rural business turnover. 

Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon, said: “Every day, we see digital tools and services levelling the playing field between businesses operating in urban and rural parts of the country, whether that’s exporting locally produced goods or using cloud computing to scale their business.

“We know that Scotland has huge potential to grow its rural economy through digital, and hope that this programme will inspire more businesses in rural areas to embrace e-commerce.”

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