International Trade

Scotland’s scaleups the focus as Amazon Academies get going in Glasgow

4 min read

18 April 2018

This year’s Amazon Academies programme kicked off in style this week, as the global tech firm gathered Scottish SME owners together in Glasgow to provide free, practical advice on ways to scale their ventures through ecommerce and exports.

Real Business was in attendance at Glasgow’s SEC Centre on 17 April, where we heard from entrepreneurs and industry experts alike about how Amazon’s widening range of business tools continue to help grow UK SMEs.

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones kickstarted the day with a welcome speech, in which she revealed to hundreds of delegates how much Amazon Academies had gathered pace since the programme launched two years ago.

From learning how to use Amazon Marketplace to sell products online for the first time, to teaching SMEs how to lower costs and grow B2B sales with Amazon Business, Jones explained the wide-ranging help that would be on offer to attendees throughout the day.

She hailed the arrival of a brand-new feature to Amazon Academies in 2018 – the “Advisor Zone” – where experts would be on-hand all day for one-on-one support sessions with entrepreneurs, offering tailored advice on everything from funding to exporting and intellectual property.

“Amazon wants to answer any questions you may have,” said Jones. “Most of us now know that businesses that embrace ecommerce fair better than those which don’t. Over the past two years, Amazon Academies have been giving small British businesses that digital boost.”

Amazon’s commitment to Scottish businesses was outlined by Doug Gurr, the company’s UK country manager. In a speech, Gurr claimed he’d been “blown away by the passion of Scotland’s entrepreneurs” following a successful Amazon Academy day in Edinburgh last year.

“We have 2,500 employees in Scotland, and we’ve based our UK R&D centre right here in Glasgow, so our commitment to Scottish businesses is unwavering,” he added.

Acknowledging that digital technology and increased connectivity had changed the nature of work and entrepreneurialism in the UK irreversibly, Gurr concluded the day’s welcoming comments by hailing the start of a “quiet revolution” for SMEs.

He said: “Digital technology is levelling the playing field for would-be business owners. Unlike ten or 15 years ago, today anyone can use tools like Amazon Business or Amazon Web Services to grow their business in the more remote parts of the UK – a revolution that will begin to reverse the trend of urbanisation.”

Amazon business tools

  • Marketplace: Amazon Marketplace does what it says on the tin – it’s an ecommerce marketplace, hosted on Amazon. It helps Amazon expand its product offering, while giving SMEs the chance to sell to a wider audience.
  • FBA: Fulfilment by Amazon is Amazon’s logistics service. For small businesses with vast quantities of stock, fulfilment can be a real bug-bear. FBA enables SMEs to sell their stock, and Amazon picks, packs and ships the orders. Simple.
  • Amazon Web Services: AWS is a secure cloud services platform, with a range of products and solutions to help businesses scale and grow. It provides services such as computing power, storage, networking and databases, delivered as a utility, with pay-as-you-go pricing.
  • Alexa: Alexa is a virtual assistant, hosted in the cloud. You can receive help with everyday tasks – such as getting directions, finding a meeting room, ordering supplies, etc. In addition, Alexa enables businesses to add voice to products and services to allow customers to interact with the brand in a whole new way.