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Evaluation of the Scottish Export Assistance Scheme: a final report


The Scottish Export Assistance Scheme (SEAS) aimed to offer assistance to Scottish firms seeking to develop new, non-EU, export markets. The evaluation aimed to: focus on support provided to firms during the period 1997 – 2000; provide a longer term analytical framework to assess the impact of the Scheme; provide an update on those firms interviewed in the initial study; and comment on the royalty payment made to SEAS.


The methodology consisted of: a workshop with the STI programme manager and the external scheme contractor; interviews with Local Export Partnerships (LEPs); an analysis of assisted firms; a survey of participants, including interviews with firms that had not pursued the programme; and internal workshops.


Highlights that most objectives have been met. Shows that supported firms have successfully achieved sales in new markets and timescale and effectiveness improvements are considerable. Calculates the average level of additionality at 58%. Notes that SEAS offered £4.79 m to firms (£2.65 m drawn down). Observes a low level of applications compared to the original objective. Considers that export support provided under the SEAS programme is successful and helps generate sales in overseas markets. Concludes that the levels of net sales achieved are notable and highlights the impressive sales ratio of 1:10.


Recommends undertaking further presentations to the LEC / LEP network to ensure continued understanding of the scheme. Advocates a greater involvement of staff in the application process. Believes that there should be improved screening of marketing plans and a more rigorous assessment of firms’ aims and objectives. Recommends that the opportunity cost associated with a high level of funds not drawn down should be reduced. Suggests allocating responsibility for follow-up with an account manager. Highlights a requirement that sales achieved as a result of SEAS are accurately monitored and annually reported.

Author DTZ Pieda Consulting
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Internationalisation
    Exporting, Internationalisation of Scottish businesses