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Assessing the impact of the Business Development Strategy


Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian’s (SEE&L) Business Development Strategy aimed to provide: ‘account management’ of companies; a proactive targeting of companies; and a consistent process of support. The evaluation aimed to: assess the net impact of the business development process on the SEE&L economy; assess customer satisfaction and related issues; review the overall effectiveness of the Business Development Strategy within a wider context; and provide recommendations.


The evaluation consisted of two stages. Firstly, a programme of interviews (telephone and face-to-face) was conducted with 90 companies, selected to be representative of the years that businesses became SEE&L clients, and across industry sectors. Secondly, a series of consultation took place with: SEE&L; SE Lanarkshire; SE Renfrewshire; SE Tayside; and two Business Managers.


SEE&L are moving in the right direction in terms of the business development process, against the background of SE’s Business Transformation process. There was a marked correlation between satisfaction levels and the period of support and intervention by SEE&L. Suggests that an increased use of action plans has led to improvement in the effectiveness of business development support. The cost of support (based on sample) was £8,900 per job at the Scottish level, and £8,100 at the SEE&L level, representing good value for money. Notes that there is wide variation in how account management has been developed across the SE Network.


In terms of segmentation, recommends that: new account management prospects should be strengthened; training and consensus building should be used with Business Managers; the current portfolio of clients should be reviewed; and Business Managers should be allowed to turn inappropriate customers down. In terms of process, SEE&L should consider: the account management approach and its presentation; the mechanisms to cement relationships between teams; that the Business Managers lead ‘virtual’ SEE&L teams for each client; producing a Skills Matrix; ensuring the continuity of Business Manager; delivering support by dedicated Business Managers; tightening the review process; and highlighting the exit strategy throughout the process by both SEE&L and client. In terms of monitoring and evaluation, recommends that systems should be strengthened; processes should be introduced for the new database; and statement of services should be sent to clients at the end of each year.

Author SQW Limited; Alan Brazewell Economic Consultancy; T L Dempster
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies, Tourism
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses