Alan Whiteside, back row centre, with SHINE partners at the last meeting in Bruges, Belgium
Alan Whiteside, back row centre, with SHINE partners at the last meeting in Bruges, Belgium

Health board to help healthcare firms expand in Europe

NHS Highland aims to help Scottish healthcare firms spotlight international business development and trading opportunities with similar organisations in countries around the North Sea by holding a conference in Inverness next month.

As a partner in the EU-funded SHINE project,, the health board is inviting small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to Inverness to brief them about an upcoming trade visit to the Netherlands in the last week of September, with the potential of financial support from the Scottish development agencies.

The preparation meeting will be held on Thursday 8th June 2017 in the Centre for Health Science in Inverness from 9.30am to 1pm. Representatives from Enterprise Europe Network and the Netherlands Business Support Office will be present to talk about the needs and opportunities of doing business in the Netherlands. Lunch with be provided for attendees.

Alan Whiteside, innovation consultant at NHS Highland’s Research, Development & Innovation department, said: ”If you are a Scottish SME that has products related to health, welfare or social care, and are interested in expanding your sales into the North Sea Region, we’d like to invite you to apply to this preparation meeting. We want innovative dynamic SMEs to represent the Scottish healthcare system on this fantastic opportunity of a tailored international trade visit to Rotterdam and The Hague.

”NHS Highland is working with businesses, enterprise agencies, business support organisations and others in SHINE to arrange trade visits – which may be financially supported – initially to the Netherlands, and then to Belgium.”

The trade visits aim to push transnational and cross-sector co-operation in the healthcare economy, in order to disseminate the most innovative healthcare solutions and to develop new economic activities for SMEs across the North Sea Region.

The SHINE project – Shared value creation in the Healthcare economy through INtegrated business modEls – was started in January 2016.

The three-year project is co-funded by the EU’s Interreg North Sea Region Programme 2014 – 2020 with the aim to enhance co-operation across the North Sea Region, resulting in stronger and more sustainable economies and societies.

Altogether, eight different regional healthcare partners from Belgium, the Netherland and Scotland (represented by NHS Highland) are involved.

As well as informing local and Scottish SMEs about the possibilities and barriers of the healthcare economy in The Netherlands, NHS Highland wants to help prepare these companies on the themes for the planned business visits.

These will focus on:

  • Digital health
  • Imaging
  • Domotica – The control and automation of the home to support people with medical conditions
  • Lifestyle as a medicine – Healthy Food and Drink, Exercising, etc.
  • Medical devices
  • Big data for health

A similar trade visit to Belgium is planned for early next year.

Alan said participating in the SHINE project can offer Scottish firms a number of benefits; including:

•      A chance to take your products into the health sector in other European countries
•      The support of NHS Highland through this process
•      Improved access to NHS Highland for future collaboration
•      Potential for supported collaboration with business, enterprise agencies and healthcare providers in Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands
•      A short intensive trade meeting schedule organised by NHS Highland and its SHINE partners in Europe
•      Opportunity to be part of  a local sustainable healthcare innovation cluster  supported by NHS Highland

To book a place on the preparation event and/or to find out more, contact Donna Patience on 01463 255090 or email: The deadline for firms to express an interest in attending the Inverness conference is midday on Monday  5th June 2017.