More than 200 SMEs and entrepreneurs from across Scotland attended an export sales academy event hosted by Amazon this week.

The free event, aimed at helping SMEs to export their products and services by embracing digital technology, was held at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Dunfermline – the second largest in the UK – for the first time.

The SMEs attended keynote speeches, workshops and panel discussions with export, technology and marketing leaders including Abel & Imray, FCA-ICAEW and Scottish Development International. During the event, guests were also given an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the Amazon fulfilment centre in Dunfermline.

The Amazon Academy is run in collaboration with small business support network Enterprise Nation, Scottish Enterprise and Exporting is Great.

“The team at Amazon in Dunfermline really enjoyed hosting the 2019 Amazon Academy Scotland and it was great to welcome so many inspiring SMEs and entrepreneurs to our home for the event,” said Graham Allison, General Manager at Amazon’s Dunfermline fulfilment centre. “I hope that the event will inspire Scottish businesses on the next stage of their journeys as they look to embrace digital technology for growth.”

Since launching in 2016, the Amazon Academy has helped over 1,700 SMEs and entrepreneurs across the UK learn how to grow their businesses through greater digital adoption, and forms parts of the company’s ongoing efforts to help SMEs from across the UK grow their businesses, in particular by boosting their e-commerce and export sales.

Amazon offers a suite of support tools to help businesses export their products and services, including providing global delivery and distribution, managing customer services in the local language and translating hundreds of millions of product listings each year on behalf of smaller businesses. As a result, six in ten UK-based businesses selling on Amazon now export abroad, with half of all sales on Amazon’s global sites coming from smaller, independent businesses.

“This is the second Amazon Academy event I have attended and they just get better and better. It’s fantastic to see Amazon reaching out to Scottish SMEs and facilitating their business journey,” said Gillian Crawford, founder and director of Lily Blanche in Edinburgh.

“Technology is increasingly important to entrepreneurs and to have the opportunity to attend an event like this makes a big difference. We took our whole team – from IT developers and technical SEO experts to our operations and dispatch team. Everyone got something out of it. The event was slick and friendly, the hosting by Enterprise Nation was professional and perfectly pitched and all the Amazon experts spoke really well about their area. The tour of the Dunfermline fulfilment centre was amazing and was a real highlight of the day.”

Members of the public who didn’t attend the Academy can sign up for a free tour of Amazon here. The tours are open to anyone over the age of six years old. Each tour lasts about one hour, and the maximum number of participants is 25 people.

Businesses interested in selling on Amazon can find more information here.