To support these entrepreneurs and help them grow their businesses, economic development agency Scottish Enterprise partnered with Mind Tools for Business to create a blended learning programme.
This programme had to fit in around the demands of each participant’s business, while offering practical advice, tailored consultancy sessions and opportunities to share best practice with peers.
Each participant starts by logging into our online platform, where they complete three 20-minute e-learning modules. Each module introduces a key exporting topic, gives participants an opportunity to practice making decisions, then prompts them to complete a draft export plan.
Participants then come together, as a group, to share their experiences and learn from each other during an online workshop.
And, finally, participants meet with consultants and the experts from Scottish Enterprise for tailored advice and support.
This blended learning cycle is repeated four times, with participants iteratively refining their export plan until they have a working document that they can use to develop their strategy, identify partners and unlock funding.
In a follow-up survey to the programme, 100% of participants said they found it engaging; 100% said they had a better understanding of exporting; and 88.9% said they were confident executing their export plan.
The Scottish Enterprise team also reported an annual financial saving, over previous face-to-face programmes, that meant the programme paid for itself in two years while freeing public sector money to be re-invested.
Looking to the future, Scottish Enterprise plan to grow the programme with potential to support 400 companies over the next two years.
We put the creation of an 'Export Plan' at the heart of this programme, because it gives participants a concrete output that they can use when speaking to potential business partners, when trying to access extra funding, or when working with their internal teams. And we know it's working! Within 10 weeks of attending the programme, four of our clients had already made more than £50,000 worth of combined sales.