Innovation leading the way to Internationalisation

Earlier this month the Scottish Government launched their new economic strategy which sets out an overarching framework for how the Government aims to increase competitiveness across Scotland; including areas such as education and business; and to tackle inequality in Scotland, ensuring all elements of society are treated fairly and equally. To achieve these aims they have identified four key priorities, known as the 4 i’s, which are:

  • Investing in our people and our infrastructure in a sustainable way
  • Promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunity through a fair and inclusive jobs market and regional cohesion
  • Fostering a culture of innovation and research and development
  • Promoting Scotland on the international stage to boost our trade and investment, influence and networks

At Interface we are actively supporting these goals by helping organisations to become more ‘innovative’ which in turn will help them to become more ‘international’.

How do we do it?

We match businesses to universities and research institutes across Scotland who, in turn, will use their knowledge and skills to encourage product, service and process development.

There are 23 universities and research institutions in Scotland and often finding the most relevant institution is daunting for businesses; it can take time and cost money which detract from the actual day to day running of the operation.

Our service, however, is free and is designed to streamline this process - we identify funding to help offset the cost of the projects, we have contacts in each of the universities and staff members on the ground across Scotland all of which make it easy for businesses to find the ‘right’ expertise irrespective of location or industry sector.

And what’s more we know it works…

We’ve worked with almost 2,000 organisations who have told us that by working with academia they have increased their turnover, their productivity and their profits allowing them to expand their operations, increase their exports and reach international markets.

Loadfast Systems is one such example. Based in rural Perthshire Loadfast is an engineering and manufacturing company who approached Interface to develop a technology for the vertical transportation of materials. We matched them to Glasgow Caledonian University and they have now developed a unique spoon based system which slows materials, reducing dust and damage. This new, safer system has allowed them to reach new markets and they are now working with blue chip companies worldwide.

John Fuller, President and CEO said, “There are many ways that SME's can get help with their projects but the biggest issue is the time taken to do this when you only have a small team. Having a local, proactive source like Interface has made the process easy and quick, with a high quality outcome.”

Another example is Glasgow based Gaia Wind a renewable energy company who approached Interface to develop a self-raising wind turbine that could be used in extreme and remote conditions. We connected them to the University of Edinburgh and the new product has enabled them to enter new markets and increase exports.

As CEO Johnnie Andringa explains, “The new motorised tower has a range of applications: As we expanded our exports worldwide, we originally developed it to enable our Caribbean and Pacific Island based turbines to withstand extreme winds.”

David Watt, Executive Director of the IoD in Scotland commented

"As the above examples show; growth depends on innovation and it is only through our ability to generate, share and adopt new knowledge and ideas that we will be able to foster economic and social security in Scotland."

Dr. Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface concluded

“We know that more Scottish companies have firmly set their sights on exporting their products to new markets in Europe, the Far East and beyond. Working with academic teams can assist these companies in the product development for new markets – be it extending the shelf life of a food and drink product or accessing testing facilities to prove the viability of the idea.”

For more information on how Interface can help your organisation - contact us