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Evaluation of the Electronic Design Automation Tools Support Scheme for start-ups


The Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Tools Support Scheme for start-up companies began in 2003 with the aim of providing high quality design software to small design companies not normally able to afford such tools in their early stages, to help them grow and attract business. The evaluation sought to assess the impact of the scheme on participating companies with a view to informing Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian’s (SEEL’s) decision about the need for future support in this area.


The evaluation undertook: a briefing by the scheme’s project manager; a review of contextual documents; and both face-to-face and telephone interviews with participants.


The scheme was found to be of considerable value to participating companies, as they achieved notable progress by using the software provided. The participants were all at different stages, however, so success was judged in terms of progress and potential. The highly focused nature of the scheme was thought to be a factor in its success. Additionality was found in four areas: technological progress; customer engagement; engagement with venture capitalists; and all these factors combining in the business strategy.


The evaluation recommended that: the scheme be developed to allow more companies to benefit; the current criteria for participants be retained; the scheme should focus on companies producing innovative products for high-growth markets; a multi-vendor programme be considered; a demand-led approach be adopted whereby EDA tools could be obtained according to business needs involving a ‘pay-per-use’ mechanism; the creation of a knowledge resource providing information on future prices of EDA tools; a bridging period between free or low cost access and paying full price; and more technical and training support.

Author SQW Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Enterprise
    Entrepreneurship/new firm formation
  • Innovation
    Business innovation