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Evaluation of Enterprise Europe Network Scotland
Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is Europe’s largest technology and business network which brings together 600 business support organisations from 50 countries. The Enterprise Europe Network Scotland (EES) project targets Scottish SMEs that wish to conduct business in Europe. The project offers a range of support services, including internationalisation, innovation, commercialisation of technologies, and knowledge/technology transfer, with the main aim of providing support and advice to Scottish businesses to help them make the most of the opportunities in the European Union and develop internationally competitive businesses. The evaluation aimed to assess: the rationale for intervention and policy fit; project objectives and targets achieved; management information and performance measures; project benefits and economic impact; the usage, quality and demand of EES services; programme management and delivery; and areas of project learning.
The methodology consisted of desk research, a business questionnaire for beneficiaries of the project, interviews with direct business beneficiaries and consultation with stakeholders.
The evaluation found that the nature and focus of the project’s activities and the organisation of the project team (around sectoral and specialist areas) indicates that it fits and contributes to Scottish Enterprise’s agenda as reflected within the agency’s business and sector plans. There is therefore a case for continued intervention in this area. It was suggested that a refreshed assessment of the rationale for the EES project in the light of market developments would identify more explicitly the justification for publicly funded intervention. The total cost of the project over the five year period January 2008 to December 2012 was £3.83 million (excluding VAT), which was found to have been well managed and spent on activities appropriate to the project’s objectives. In terms of satisfaction, interviewed businesses were generally satisfied with the quality of services they received from the project. A small proportion of interviewed businesses reported that the services offered had had (or would in the future have) a positive impact on the turnover of their business, while a greater number reported perceived benefits of a ‘softer’ nature and had not yet led to tangible impacts on their business. Despite not realising tangible benefits, however, most of these businesses were still broadly positive about their experience with engaging with the project. The most common benefits reported were increased overseas market exposure, improved overseas market information, and access to new networks. Overall, the evaluation found that the project’s achievements versus its intended outputs appear to be very positive, with the majority of its targeted measures being exceeded.
The report recommends that: an explicit logic model for the intervention is developed; EES is re-positioned as a service for accessing global opportunities; the way the SE, SDI and EES brands are presented to clients is reconsidered; the targets set for the service are rationalised; awareness of the service is increased; and deeper, more frequent, interactions with client businesses are built.
Report (1 MB, pdf)
|Theme/Sector||Support to existing/growth businesses, Commercialisation, Internationalisation of Scottish businesses, Internationalisation|