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Evaluation of the Global Companies Development Programme


The Global Companies Development Programme (GCDP), launched as part of the Global Companies Strategy, aimed to encourage the development of more ‘global’ Scottish companies in order to create more sustainable and higher value employment in the Scottish economy. The GCDP aimed to: accelerate the globalisation process for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by enhancing learning processes; deliver a learning and knowledge-building process tailored to a company’s needs; project better prepared Scottish companies onto the global stage; and overcome the barriers to internationalisation. The evaluation aimed to review the performance of GCDP, including an economic impact assessment and assess: the strategic fit of the Programme; the rationale for intervention; GCDP performance with client companies; economic development benefits; contribution to Scottish Enterprise’s (SE) measures and targets; wider economic benefits; and GCDP performance from an internal perspective.


The methodology consisted of: a review of documentation, including an ongoing longitudinal research undertaken by Glasgow University PhD students; interviews with stakeholders from Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International (SDI), consultants responsible for delivering the Programme and the Global Scot Network; and surveys from 32 GCDP companies (out of a sample of 72 potential consultees) and two of the four Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) put forward for consultation.


The evaluation finds there was a clear rationale for this type of intervention. Shows the consultants' support and expertise was considered the most useful part of GCDP. Two thirds of companies have increased their level of international activity since being involved with the programme. Wider benefits have been generated through the peer group networking events and many companies have retained the services of GCDP consultants. Notes that internal stakeholders remain unconvinced about the value of the programme and believe there is some degree of duplication with other SE products. Suggests that this stems from a lack of knowledge and insufficient clarity in how the programme is promoted. Estimates the economic impact of GCDP to be around £14.2 million.


The report considers that SE support for international business management capacity building and strategy development and implementation should continue, subject to the following changes to the GCDP and an increase in programme referrals. Recommends that the Programme’s aims and objectives are reviewed. Clear performance indicators and measures should be established and up-to-date monitoring information should be obtained for all participants. The referral process should be reviewed to ensure the ‘right’ companies are selected for GCDP. Suggests that the programme improve its internal profile within SE and manage the relationship between the GCDP team, the Account Manager and consultant. The programme’s networking element should be strengthened and a more formal approach to aftercare should be considered. Future evaluations should be undertaken every three years.

Author SQW Consulting
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation