Fife firms tap into opportunities from visit to Euro HQ of global e-commerce leader

Six Fife businesses have returned from a visit to the European headquarters of Alibaba Group, one of the leading global e-commerce platforms.
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They headed to Amsterdam as part of the Alibaba Trade Programme which enabled business representatives to meet and connect with the company’s senior personnel and unlock international business opportunities. It was funded by Fife Council’s economic development.

Taking part were Rosa Lifestyle, Sephra Europe, The Wee Tea Company, Growers Gardens, and CluisTROM, which specialises in hearing protection products. They went to the Netherlands last month and linked up successful Dutch companies that are thriving in the global marketplace, thanks to Alibaba.

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They were given information on how to use Alibaba to expand their product market, participated in one to ones, and were provided with a tailored action plan to identify key opportunities. Most significantly, the visit was the first group of British companies to be invited to the Alibaba Group European HQ.

Fife businesses on their trip to Amsterdam (Pic: Submitted)Fife businesses on their trip to Amsterdam (Pic: Submitted)
Fife businesses on their trip to Amsterdam (Pic: Submitted)

Derek Walker, from the Wee Tea Company, said he was keen to expand his online sales and added: “This was an extremely worthwhile and unique project for us to be part of, offering a different opportunity for our business that we might otherwise not have had. “We wanted to find out more about the costs and processes involved in listing on Alibaba, and we were keen to get feedback on how other businesses had got involved and what it had brought to the table.”

“Being given the tailored action plan to work with was fantastic.”

Echoing Derek’s comments that the trip was of real benefit, Nicole Spittle from Growers Gardens has now decided to go ahead and list on

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Neil McIntosh of Dunfcernline-based CluisTROM also used the trip to access the suitability of Alibaba for his product, particularly for his newest product range which is still in development.

“The trip was excellent as a research tool and will continue to bear fruit for us in the next few months, once our new product is released for sale,” he said. “It was good to attend this with other businesses representing the Kingdom. The opportunity to access the world’s largest e-commerce platform does not come along every day!”

The benefits of the trip were also outlined by Pamela Stevenson, service manager for economic development at Fife Council.She said: “This is one of the most ambitious trade show learning development journeys we have been able to provide. We're very pleased to hear that our Fife businesses enjoyed the experience and now have tailored advice and a pathway for success to work through from the world’s experts in the field.”

An Information Session on the Alibaba Trade Programme had been offered back in November 2023 as part of Fife Business Week which paved the way for businesses with an ambition to grow their offering in the e-commerce sector to find out more, and get their names down for the trip to Holland. It was one of several informative events during Fife Business Week that aim to showcase the assistance available for trade show attendance.

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