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Small Company Innovation Scheme


The Small Company Innovation Support (SCIS) project in Western Scotland (and the related Technology Development Programme (TDP) and Prototype Development Funding (PDF) programme) aimed to create growing businesses by improving the abilities of organisations to generate new ideas and products, and to use best practice in design and development. The evaluation aimed to analyse: the performance of each project relative to targets set out in the ERDF applications; the economic impact of each project; comparison of delivery method, company take up and results in each area; a comparison of the SCIS ‘single innovation project’ model with the more complex model in place in Glasgow; and possible modifications to the design or delivery mechanisms.


The methodology consisted of: a review of policy papers and documentation; discussions with project executives and stakeholders; a LEC by LEC review of management information; and surveys and focus group exercises with a sample of participating companies.


Presents a summary of SCIS, TDP and PDF programme performance. Notes that delivery mechanisms have varied and suggests the client management approach is the preferred option. In terms of product and process development, all three exceeded their original targets. Some companies were unaware of SCIS’s use for marketing and market research. Suggests that the projects have not had a profound impact on the innovative nature of SMEs. Advises that ERDF applications specifically selected companies with quantifiable outcomes rather than the less tangible feature of ‘innovation’. Suggests proof of ‘technical risk’ introduced delays but added little or no value to participants.


In terms of project management, there is a need for: a revision of project record keeping and analysis systems; better information on what is eligible for selection; a more integrated service; replication of the good features of sub-contracting service; revisiting the methodology for forecasting aspirations and outcomes; and clear realistic targets and strategies. Recommends incorporating 3 delivery mechanisms into a single project. Advises the promotion of innovative techniques in start-ups and small companies.

Author yellow book
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Innovation
    Business innovation, Innovation system