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Review of the Companies of Scale pilot programme


Although Scotland has nine per cent of the UK's population, it only has four per cent of the UK's companies with a turnover in excess of £100 million. Research suggests that such large companies bring substantial economic benefits for their host country; the purpose of the Companies of Scale pilot project is to help companies in Scotland grow to this level of turnover. The project will run until 2009, and this review was undertaken at the midway point. The aims of the review were: to assess the difference Scottish Enterprise (SE) support has made to companies so far; to see what lessons could be learned for the remainder of the pilot; to gain pointers for a future full evaluation; and to identify performance indicators which might reflect the range of possible impacts.


All participating companies were interviewed face to face, bar one which was interviewed by telephone. In the case of the companies still on the programme (two left at an earlier stage), the consultant was accompanied by the Companies of Scale senior account manager.


There have been some excellent examples of top management engagement, and even when engagement has been less enthusiastic, the offer of support from SE has been welcomed. Changes in behaviour have taken place in seven out of the nine companies. It seems as though the benefits have already exceeded the financial input of the programme. Senior account managers from SE have built up good relationships with the participating companies. Overall, the pilot can be judged to be a success so far.


There has been a tendency for companies to leave Scotland once they reach a certain size; the programme should address this issue. Smaller companies should be encouraged to grow and given intensive support also. The programme should continue with the existing group of companies and no longer be seen as a pilot. The search for new companies to come on board should be renewed, but not limited by the £100 million benchmark. As well as scale, criteria for selection of new companies should be top management engagement and turning points. Efforts should continue to be targeted at initiatives which change behaviour and attitudes among senior management of companies, and companies should agree to record these changes. Agreed targets could be considered. Exit strategies should also be discussed.

Author Alan Brazewell Economics Ltd
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses